When you log on to your Windows profile, all of your profile’s information and settings are retrieved from some registry entries and configuration files saved on your hard disk. Corruption of a single file can prevent Windows from accessing it, causing you to be logged on to a temporary profile. This profile can be used, but a slight delay in reading your account profile can also lead to the same outcome. Any changes you make to this temporary profile will not be saved, resulting in a fresh profile being loaded each time you log in.
Cause of corruption can be a recently installed update or a software or incorrectly shutting your computer down for that matter. If you have already tried restarting your computer 3 to 4 times (Yes, that has worked for some users) then start following the solutions below.
For some troubleshooting steps, you will need to enable the built-in administrator account to use admin rights.
Press Windows Key + X. Click on Command Prompt (Admin).
In the black window, type the following command and press Enter.
net user Administrator /active:yes
Please restart your computer. Upon reaching the login screen, you will notice a new account named ‘Administrator’. Log in using that account. After you’ve finished troubleshooting, open the command prompt (admin) by pressing the Win + X keys and type the following command exactly as it appears.
net user Administrator /active:no
Solution 1: Utilize the Check Disk Tool.
If the corruption is not too deep, it can be repaired by linking the files to their correct destination using the check disk tool. Log in through the built-in Administrator account using the method provided above.
- Hold the Windows key and press E to open Windows Explorer. Right-click on your C: drive. If you don’t see the C: drive, then click ‘This PC’ from the left pane, then choose the C: Drive, which is where your Windows is installed.
- Click on Properties.
- Click on the Tools tab. Under ‘Error Checking’, click ‘Check Now’. Then, click ‘Start’ to begin scanning. If a message appears stating that it cannot scan while the drive is in use, click on ‘Schedule Disk Check’ and then restart your system. The scan will commence and rectify any errors after the restart. To ensure a successful disk check, make sure not to press any key that may cancel the disk checking process.
Run the scan, and it will automatically restart when finished. Now, try logging in with your original account. If the issue persists, then move on to the next solution.
Solution 2: Correct the registry entry.
Log in through the built-in Administrator account. Activate it if needed, as stated in the steps above. An incorrect registry entry can mislead Windows regarding your profile location.
- Press Windows key + R. In the run window, type regedit and press Enter. Click Yes if the UAC warning appears.
- In the left pane, double-click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE to expand it. Then, click on ‘Software’ located underneath it. Afterwards, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.
- Under ‘ProfileList’ in the left pane, locate the SID keys, which resemble something like ‘S-1-5-21..some long number’. You will see two or more of these SID keys, likely one with ‘.bak’ at the end and another without it. The one with ‘.bak’ is the link to your inaccessible profile, and there will be another that links to the temporary profile you are currently using.
- To confirm, click on any SID key to highlight it. In the right pane, next to ProfileImagePath in the Data row, you will see “C:\Users\’Your Inaccessible Profile Name’”. Click on all SID keys like “S-1-5-21….some long number” and delete the keys that have your profile name next to ProfileImagePath, EXCEPT the one with .bak at the end. Confirm the message and click OK.
- Right click on the “S-1-5-21….some long number” key with .bak at the end, and click Rename.
- Delete “.bak” from the end of the key. Close the window. Restart your computer.
- Now try logging into your original profile. If you’re still facing the same issue, then we can delete the remaining key as well, so that a new registry key can be created.
- Log in through the built-in Administrator account.
- First, back up all folders from C:\Users\’Your Inaccessible Profile Name’ by copying them to any other drive. You can paste them back later to the same location to retrieve your desktop icons and ‘My Documents’ content exactly as they were before. After copying all the data, delete the “Your Inaccessible Profile Name” folder from C:\Users.
- Navigate to the “S-1-5-21…some long number” key once again. The .bak key will be found there as well. Delete both the SID keys whose values next to “ProfileImagePath” resemble “C:\Users\’Your Inaccessible Profile Name’.”
Solution 3: Run System File Checker
SFC can fix the most corrupt system files and replace them with fresh copies. We have a separate guide on how to run it here.
Solution 4: Run Windows Update
Press the Windows Key + R. Type ‘ms-settings:windowsupdate’ and then press Enter.
Now check for updates for your Windows and make sure you install all of them. It has worked for some users.