What is NTUSER.DAT File? [Is it a Virus?]

Windows has a lot of files with really weird names and sometimes you come across one that really hits your curiosity. The NTUSER.DAT is one for me. Well, basically DAT files are created by any particular application. And that particular application can only access that file, which had me curious.

So, if you want to know anything about the NTUSER.DAT file then, Welcome to another post. In this article, I will tell about the NTUSER.DAT file, its applications, importance, and whether you should keep it or not.

What is NTUSER.DAT File?

Every time you make an account on Windows you set up a user profile. Every user profile has its own preference or settings. And just like any software, our OS also stores user preferences for better user experience. These can include, screen resolution, text size, color scheme, background, etc.

Since these user preferences are important for both user experience and updates, Windows save this data in NTUSER.DAT file. In simple words, the Windows create NTUSER.DAT file every time you make a new user profile.  These registry files keep a record of every minor or major change you make for a particular software or the whole OS.

How does it work and what is its location? 

The moment you make changes in the personalization menu or to a particular software, the Windows stores the data in the registry. The HKEY_CURRENT_USER to be precise. As you shut down your PC, that stored data is then transferred into the NTUSER.DAT file. And, then when you log in again, Windows goes back or directs back to your DAT file to access the changes.

Well, that tells us that it is important, but how important exactly.

How important is NTUSER.DAT?

While the OS is running, it constantly refers to your NTUSER.DAT file for various operations. And if somehow that file is deleted, Windows will have no records for the changes you made. Hence, you will get an error. It basically corrupts your user profile, as there are no records for the changes you made.

Thinks about painting your room and forgetting how you did it. That’s exactly how clueless Windows will be, despite being just a software. As a result, your user profile will crash.  But thanks to Windows automatic repairs, that won’t be a problem, as the moment you sign in again, Windows will repair the NTUSER.DAT file. Do keep in mind that if something like that does not happen, you might stick in a loop of signing in.

Is NTUSER.DAT virus?

The NTUSER.DAT is not a virus or no other type of virus posses like it aswell. The NTUSER.DAT file stored in a secure location, that you will have a hard time accessing. But it can be infected and then corrupted. And that won’t be good in any manner. If the file does suffer any damage you will notice that immediately after you sign in to your account.

Errors related to NTUSER.DAT

Other than being deleted, there are many ways the NTUSER.DAT can be corrupted. Some of those possible scenarios are-

  • The NTUSER.DAT file is infected by a virus.
  • The NTUSER.DAT file’s data conflicts with that of another program.
  • Windows cannot access the NTUSER.DAT file.
  • The registry for NTUSER’s key is somehow corrupted.

How to FIX it?

Well no matter what scenario plays out, if you are having an error with the NTUSER.DAT, start by logging out and logging in again. After that, perform a full system scan for any possible virus threats. And then, update your Windows and drivers. Always remember that if any windows file shows and error, then updating windows most probably fixes it.

If none of the above methods works, then perform a system restore. This will put your Windows back to a state where the file was not corrupted.

To restore your Windows,

  • First, press Windows+ R to open Run. Now type in rstrui.exe and press Enter.

  • Now in System Restore, click on Next to proceed.
  • Here choose the latest restore point and click on Next.

Choose a restore point to restore your PC

  • Finally, click on Finish to perform system restore. This should definitely solve the issue.


In case you ever want to access the NUTSER.DAT file, just go to C/User/Your_User_Name. The file will be hidden obviously as Microsoft doesn’t want you playing with it at all.  To unhide files, just go to the View tab and select Hidden items.

The Bottom Line

The NTUSER.DAT is an essential Windows file, without which your changes will have no existence. Deleting this file is also not recommended, but you can do so as long as you have multiple NTUSER.DAT files. As for threats, no virus so far posses as NTUSER file so you are safe from that perspective as well. Also, any changes made to NTUSER files might cost you your account.

If you ever got in trouble due to this file, use the above-mentioned methods to solve the issue.  You can always restore your Windows If nothing works out.

Well, that concludes my article. I hope that I was able to answer all your questions and clear all of your doubts. If you still happen to have any queries, then feel free to mention those in the comments.

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