How to View Ntuser.dat

The NTUSER.DAT file on a Microsoft Windows computer is a registry file that stores the software and operating system settings for each user profile. When a new user profile is created on the system, an NTUSER.DAT file is created. You can use the Registry Editor program built into Windows to view the NTUSER.DAT file for the active profile and the program can also be used to load other NTUSER.DAT files.

Young businesswoman eating lunch at desk
credit: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Step

Click the "Start" menu located in the bottom left corner of the screen. Click "Run".

Step

In the "Run" dialog box text area, type "regedit" and press the ENTER key.

Step

Double-click the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" folder on the left side of the program window to open and view the contents of the current profile's NTUSER.DAT file.

Step

Click the "HKEY_USERS" folder to load another profile's NTUSER.DAT file. Click the "File" menu at the top of the program window and choose "Load Hive". Browse to a non-active NTUSER.DAT file (one not associated with the user profile that is currently logged in) and click to select it.

Step

Click the "Open" button. Type in a "Key Name", which can be any name you want to assign to the hive while viewing it, then click the "OK" button to load the NTUSER.DAT file.