Get the fix for the error Corrupt user profile on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

About “Corrupt user profile”

The following information on this error has been compiled by NeoSmart Technologies, based on the information gathered and reported by our global network of engineers, developers, and technicians or partner organizations.

Description and Symptoms

The error messages, alerts, warnings, and symptoms below are tied to this error.

Symptom 1: “User profile cannot be loaded” error screen on startup

If you received the error message that your user profile is corrupted, the fix is to create a new user and copy the files from your current user to the new account.

User Profile Service error screen

User Profile Service error screen

The error message is:

The User Profile Service failed the logon.

User profile cannot be loaded.

Causes of this Error

This error has been known to occur as a result of one of the following causes:

Cause 1: The user profile is corrupt or missing

Failed Windows Updates or Automatic Updates to Windows that involve an upgrade of critical system files (especially service pack installations) that update the user profile may result in this error.

Cause 2: File system integrity compromised

The hard drive’s file system may become damaged because of disk write errors, power outages or virus attacks. If that’s the case, the operating system cannot load the user profile to boot properly and the loading process is halted.

Fix Corrupt User Profile in Windows XP

To fix a corrupted user profile on a Windows XP computer, follow these steps:

  1. Boot into your Windows XP computer as an Administrator or any other user (Another_Username.).If you’re not able to log in as an Administrator, go to Cannot log in / No other user account available.
  2. Go to Control Panel
  3. Click User Accounts
  4. Click Create A New Account
  5. Type a name for this new account (example: New_Username)
  6. Click Next
  7. Make sure the account is Administrator
  8. Click Create Account
  9. Restart the computer and logon with the new account you’ve just created (New_Username)
  10. Once logged in, restart the computer
  11. Login with the first account you used before you created the new account (Another_Username)
  12. Right-click on My Computer
  13. Select Properties
  14. Go to Advanced
  15. Click Settings at the User Profiles section
    User Profiles in Windows XP

    User Profiles in Windows XP

  16. Select the corrupted account
  17. Click Copy To
  18. Click Browse and browse the Documents and Settings folder of the new account you created just now.
    Copy User Profile in Windows XP

    Copy User Profile in Windows XP

  19. Click Yes to confirm that the files of this account will be deleted and that the new files will be copied
  20. Once this operation is done, restart the computer
  21. Login with the new username, New_Username

If the above method didn’t copied the files successfully, you can also copy the files manually:

  1. Boot into Windows XP as an Administrator or any other user except the corrupted user (CORRUPT_USERNAME).If you’re not able to do so, go to Cannot log in / No other user account available.
  2. Click Start
  3. Click Control Panel
  4. Click User Accounts
  5. At the Pick a task section, click Create a new account
  6. Type a name (example: NEW_USERNAME)
  7. Click Next
  8. Select an account type (make sure it would be part of Administrator group)
  9. Click Create Account
  10. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer
  11. Click Tools > Folder Options > View
  12. Click Show hidden files and folders
  13. Uncheck Hide protected operating system files
  14. Click OK
  15. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\CORRUPT_USERNAME, where CORRUPT_USERNAME is the corrupted username
  16. Select all files from this folder, except:
    • Ntuser.dat
    • Ntuser.dat.log
    • Ntuser.ini
  17. Right-click on these files (make sure the above files aren’t being copied), click Copy
  18. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\NEW_USERNAME, where NEW_USERNAME is the username you’ve recently created
  19. Find an empty space to right-click and click Paste
  20. Restart the computer and logon as the new username (NEW_USERNAME)

Fix Corrupt User Profile in Windows Vista

Fix #1: Create a new Windows Vista account

To fix a corrupted user profile on a Windows Vista system, follow these instructions:

  1. Boot into your system as an Administrator. If you’re not able to do so, go to Cannot log in / No other user account available.
  2. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts (or Control Panel > Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts)
  3. Click Manage another account
  4. Click Create a new account
  5. Type a name and choose a type for this account
  6. Click Create Account
    Choose Account Type for New User in Windows Vista/7

    Choose Account Type for New User in Windows Vista/7

  7. Open the File Explorer (any folder or My Computer)
  8. Click Organize
  9. Click Folder Options (or Folder and search options)
  10. Go to View
  11. Check Show hidden files and folders
  12. Uncheck Hide protected operating system files
  13. Click Apply and then click OK
  14. Go to C:\Users\OLD_USERNAME, where C:\ the letter of the drive where your Windows Vista is installed and OLD_USERNAME is the username of the corrupted profile
  15. While you are this folder – OLD_USERNAME – copy all files, but except these ones: Ntuser.data, Ntuser.data.log, Ntuser.ini
  16. To copy the files, select the files and the right-click > Copy
  17. Go to C:\User\NEW_USERNAME, where NEW_USERNAME is the new username
  18. Paste all files in this folder, NEW_USERNAME.To paste the files, right-click on a empty zone and click Paste.
  19. Restart the computer
  20. Login with the username you recently created

Fix #2: Registry Editor

The steps to fix a corrupt user profile via the Registry Editor are the same as those for Windows 7.

Fix #3: Download Fix it 50446

Microsoft released the Fix it #50446 tool that can automatically fix this type of error without going through the all the steps listed here.

Fix it #50446 is only available for Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Go to http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9734641 to download this tool.

Fix Corrupt User Profile in Windows 7

Fix #1: Create a new Windows 7 account

To fix a corrupted user profile on a Windows 7 computer, follow these steps:

  1. Boot into your Windows 7 system with another use or with the Administrator account. If you’re not able to do so, go to Cannot log in / No other user account available.
  2. Go to Control Panel
  3. Go to User Accounts (or Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts)
  4. Click Manage another account
    Manage another account in Windows Vista/7

    Manage another account in Windows Vista/7

  5. Click Create a new account to create a new account on your computer
    Create a new account in Windows Vista/7

    Create a new account in Windows Vista/7

  6. Type a name and choose an account type
  7. Click Create Account
    Choose Account Type for New User in Windows Vista/7

    Choose Account Type for New User in Windows Vista/7

  8. Open File Explorer or My Computer
  9. Click Tools. If you don’t see the Tools item at the top of the window, press the Alt key.
  10. Click Folder Options
  11. Go to the View tab
  12. Check the Show hidden files and folders option
  13. Uncheck the Hide protected operating system files option
  14. Click Apply
  15. Click OK
  16. Go to C:\Users\OLD_USERNAME, where C:\ is where your Windows 7 is installed and OLD_USERNAME is the username that has the corrupted profile error
  17. From this folder – OLD_USERNAME – select all files, but except: Ntuser.data, Ntuser.data.log, Ntuser.ini
  18. Right-click on these files (except the files mentioned above) and click Copy
  19. Go to C:\User\NEW_USERNAME, where NEW_USERNAME is the username you created as new
  20. Paste all files in this folder, NEW_USERNAME
  21. Restart the computer and login with the new username you’ve created

Fix #2: Registry Editor

  1. Login as an Administrator. If you’re not able to do so, go to Cannot log in / No other user account available.
  2. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to this key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  3. Find the S-1 folder with .bak extension under the ProfileList folder, on the left pane
  4. At the ProfileImagePath value, on the right pane, find if the path is correct: C:\Users\MY_USERNAME
  5. Go to the C:\Users folder and check that the folder name of the corrupted username is the same as the one in the ProfileImagePath: MY_USERNAME. If it’s not, rename it.
  6. Go back to the Registry Editor and check if the folder name with the .bak extension has a duplicate folder, with the same name but without the .bak extension.Example:
    S-1-5-23232
    S-1-5-23232.bak

    If you have 2 folders with the same name (1 without .bak, 1 with .bak), follow these instructions:

    Rename the folder with .bak extension to be without .bak and vice versa: the without .bak folder to have .bak afterwards.

    To do that, follow these steps:

    • Rename the .bak folder to .backup
    • Rename the folder without .bak to .bak
    • Rename the .backup folder name to have no extension

    If you have only 1 folder name with a .bak extension, follow these steps:

    • Remove .bak to only leave the folder name: S-1-5-23232
  7. Now go to the folder without .bak and find a RefCount item. The RefCount value should be 0.To edit it, double click on RefCount and edit the Value data field to be 0.If you don’t have a RefCount item, create it:
    • Right-click on an empty zone on the right and click New
    • Click DWORD (32 bit) Value
    • Type RefCount
    • Press Enter
  8. Click OK
  9. Go the same folder without .bak and find a State item
  10. The State value should be 0. If it’s not, edit it:
    • Double-click on State
    • Enter 0 at the Value data field
    • Click OK

    If you don’t have a State item, create it:

    • Right-click on an empty zone in the right pane and click New
    • Click DWORD (32 bit) Value
    • Type State
    • Press Enter
  11. Close the Registry Editor
  12. Restart the computer
  13. Login to your computer with the corrupt user account

Fix #3: Download Fix it 50446

Microsoft released the Fix it # 50446 tool that can automatically fix this type of error without going through the all the steps listed here.

Fix it #50446 is only available for Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Go to http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9734641 to download this file.

Fix Corrupt User Profile in Windows 8, 8.1 or Windows 10

Fix #1: Registry Editor

Another method is to attempt a repair of the user profile through the Registry Editor by replacing the profile with a good backup.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Login as an Administrator on your Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 system. If you’re not able to do so, go to Cannot log in / No other user account available.
  2. Press the Windows and R keys to open the Registry Editor
  3. Click OK
  4. Navigate to this key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  5. At the ProfileList folders, you’ll see folder names that start with S-1
  6. Go to the folder that has a .bak extension
  7. Check the ProfileImagePath value from the right side at the Data column.It should be something like this:
    C:\Users\MY_USERNAME

    Where MY_USERNAME is the username of your account.

  8. Go to C:\Users and check that the folder name of the corrupted username is the same as the one in the ProfileImagePath: MY_USERNAME.If it’s not and the folder name is MYUSERNAME2 rather than the value shown in ProfileImagePath, rename it to MY_USERNAME.
  9. At the ProfileList folders, check if the folder name with the .bak extension has another folder above it with the same name, but without the .bak extension.Example:
    S-1-5-23232
    S-1-5-23232.bak

    If you have 2 folders with the same name (1 without .bak, 1 with .bak), follow these instructions:

    • Go to the folder without .bak, right-click and click Rename
    • Add .backup at the end of its name: S-1-5-23232.backup
    • Go to the folder with .bak, right-click and click Rename
    • Remove the .bak and press Enter
    • Go to the folder with .backup, right-click and click Rename
    • Rename .backup to .bak

    The purpose of these instructions is to move the .bak extension to the folder without .bak and vice versa. You won’t be able to do that without a .backup extension so you don’t overwrite the folders.

    If you only have 1 folder name with .bak extension, follow these instructions:

    • Right-click on the folder name, S-1-5-23232.bak, click Rename
    • Remove .bak to only leave its name: S-1-5-23232
    • Press Enter
  10. Go to folder without .bak, find a RefCount item.If you don’t have a RefCount item, create it by following these steps:
    • Right-click on an empty zone on the right
    • Click New
    • Click DWORD (32 bit) Value
    • Type RefCount
    • Press Enter
  11. The RefCount value should be 0. To edit it, double click on RefCount and edit the Value data field to be 0
  12. Click OK
  13. On the same folder without .bak, find a State item
  14. The State value should be 0. If it’s not, edit it:
    • Double-click on State
    • Enter 0 at the Value data field
    • Click OK

    If you don’t have a State item, create it:

    • Right-click on an empty zone in the right pane
    • Click Next
    • Click DWORD (32 bit) Value
    • Type State
    • Press Enter
  15. Close the Registry Editor
  16. Restart the computer
  17. Login with the corrupt account

Troubleshooting

Cannot log in / No other user account available

If you can’t log into your computer because the only user available is the corrupt user profile, you can log in as an Administrator.

If the Administrator user isn’t available at the Welcome screen, you can enable it via Command Prompt:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Press F8 before the Windows logo appears
  3. Select Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Command Prompt.If you selected Safe Mode and can log into the computer, go to Start and open Command Prompt from there.
  4. When Command Prompt loads, type this command:
    net user administrator /active:yes
  5. Press Enter
  6. Restart the computer

More Information

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Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows 10 (all editions)

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