Have you ever booted into Windows and had a window pop up displaying an error message that says Windows cannot load your corrupt user profile?
Imagine coming home after a long day at the office and immediately seeing this message after you turn on your computer. All your settings, documents, and precious pictures are not in the folders where you left them.
Occasionally, Windows can’t properly load your user profile, particularly if you have antivirus software that is scanning your computer. When this happens, it is extremely frustrating and cause a lot of worry. Following the steps below will get you back up and running after only a few minutes.
Windows will automatically load a temporary profile when you attempt to load a corrupt user profile
The following guide requires you to change the Windows registry. Failure to follow these steps carefully can cause serious problems so you should backup your registry before you make any changes.
Click Start, then Run, and type regedit into the Open: box. On Windows 7 or Vista, type regedit into the search box and press Enter.
In the registry editor, find and open the ProfileList key:
In the navigation pane, look for a folder that starts with S-1-5 and followed by a long string of numbers. You might have to adjust the window so you can see it better.
If you only have one user account, you can skip this step. Otherwise, to find the correct user profile, click on the S-1-5 folders and find the ProfileImagePath key. The value should be the path to the corrupt user account profile. If it is not the right profile, go to the next S-1-5 folder until you find the one that belongs to the right user profile.
Delete (or rename) the folder without .bak at the end by right clicking on the folder and selecting Delete.
If you only have single folder that ends with .bak, this step is already done.
Right-click the .bak folder and click Rename. Remove .bak from the end of the folder name and press Enter. Click the folder you just renamed to list its subkeys in the details pane.
Double-click the RefCount key and set the Data Value to 0 (zero). Click OK.
Double-click the State key and set the Data Value to 0 (zero). Click OK.
After you’ve completed the steps above, reboot your computer. After your computer restarts, you should be able to successfully log on with your account again.
Were you able to recover your user profile by following this guide? Share you experiences and tips in the comments below.