Recover an overwritten Windows profile…

We speak to hundreds of users who have overwritten their Windows 7 user profile, often with devastating results. We always recommend taking a full backup of all your data before running any profile changes or operating system upgrades, even if you think the data will be safe.

User profiles are unique settings which dictate how the system looks and works in a way you want it to. Personal preferences, desktop backgrounds, sound and screen savers are all examples of functions that are controlled by the user profile. Sometimes Windows might not read the user profile correctly and this often leads users to create a new profile. If your anti-virus software is scanning whilst you log on, this may corrupt the profile.

Before attempting any data recovery, check the C:\Users\username to see if the profile is still there. If it is, you can follow the Windows guide for a corrupt user profile Alternatively, you can try running the Windows System Restore in Safe Mode. Try a restore point before the account was deleted and reboot as normal.

Failing this, do not write anything more to the hard drive. Better still, replace the hard drive and use this new hard disk drive to recover to. Any further use of the hard drive risks overwriting the data. You are now going to have to attempt a data recovery yourself or engage specialist data recovery services.

Try a data recovery utility such as Recuva or Piriform, but make sure you install it on the new hard drive. Before attempting the recover or running a scan, it’s always best to take a complete image of the target hard drive. Copy this image to the new hard drive and then run a deep scan on the image, before attempting a recovery. The good news is that there is a high chance that your data is recoverable, provided you haven’t overwritten the required data. If you are trying to recover data after deleting a profile some time ago, that may be much more difficult. .