How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows


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?

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

The User Profile Service service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

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.

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

You have been logged on with a temporary profile.

Windows will automatically load a temporary profile when you attempt to load a corrupt user profile

Disclaimer

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.

Step 1

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

 

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.

Step 2

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

 

 

In the registry editor, find and open the ProfileList key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

Step 3

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

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.

Step 4

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

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.

Step 5

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in WindowsDelete (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.

Step 6

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

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.

Step 7

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

Double-click the RefCount key and set the Data Value to 0 (zero). Click OK.

Step 8

How to Fix a Corrupt User Profile in Windows

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.


About Hex

Hex is a self-employed electronics repair technician and PC tech support provider. He loves helping others with their technology related problems and introducing people to new products and services that can be useful. In addition to being the founder of this site, he is also a freelance Java developer with a focus on Android application development.

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