The Default User profile contains settings that are copied over to each new profile during initial login. Here’s how to customize it.

In “Notes on UEFI SCCM Imaging for Windows 10” I pointed to the article “How to Customize Default User Profile for New Accounts in Windows 10“, which basically outlines how to do default user profile customization in Windows 10 using the Sysprep utility. As it turns out, you can use the same tool to do default user profile customization in Windows 7 as well, according to “Windows 7: User Profile – Customize During Installation“.

Basically, the idea in both cases is to use Sysprep’s audit feature to keep track of changes and then use Sysprep again to copy the changes to the Default User profile in Windows using an unattend.xml file.

Both scenarios apparently also have the same limitations. You cannot set compatibility settings in IE, for example, and have them survive. The really silly limitation is that pinning items to the taskbar will not copy over either. However, things like IE home page, wallpaper settings and other desktop items will.

Having said that, you can save off compatibility settings into a REG file and use it once per user profile to set it initially. It took me a long time to find this, but you put in the desired settings and then export from the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\BrowserEmulation\ClearableListData

Having generic images for Windows deployments makes life easier, and the more settings that can be saved off, the better. Customization is where the process tends to bog down and mistakes are more likely. This process makes it just a little bit easier.