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One of my users logged into his computer, Windows XP, last night only to be meet with an error message that it could not load his profile and he will be logged in using a temporary profile. Typically when this happens I shut the machine down and restart and the correct profile will load when they log in again. Not this time. In the user profile options under computer->properties->Advanced->user profiles it show that there are three profiles with his name. Two are the exact same size with the same modified date (5/5/10) and the other is what I would expect size wise for a new profile with a modified date of today. What are my options to restore his profile?

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ok so all I did was delete the profile that was the smallest around 18 Mb from the Computer Properties->Advanced->User Profiles I then rebooted the machine and had the user log in and it used the correct profile. I would say the reason it continued to use the Temp profile is because it has associated the temp profile location with his log in and once the temp profile was removed it reverted back to the correct profile.

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This occurs when the registry hive associated with the profile is corrupt or unreadable for any reason. I generally have people reboot and try logging in one more time just to see if it was that a process was holding the hive incorrectly.

If the issue persists, backup the pertinent profile folder (my docs, favs, desktop, etc) and delete the profile exactly as you did.

Upon reboot and login the profile should be deleted and the user profile folder is created fresh and new.

Use the User Profile Hive Cleanup Service (from MS) to minimize the chance of this occurring. Also, keep the startup entries as few as necessary (use CCleaner or Autoruns for this) and if the issue reoccurs, there may be problems with the default user profile registry hive, in which case you want to create a fresh account, clean it up rather aggressively and run the CCleaner registry cleaner, then, while logged in as a different admin account, move the NTUSER.DAT file from that fresh and cleaned profile into the default user directory (backup the existing NTUSER.DAT first), and login with a fresh account to make sure it works OK.

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Solution 1: 1. Restart Your Computer. Solution 2: 1. Log on With Administrator Account (other than effected user), backup profile, rename it and again login with original user. Works with corrupted user profile. Solution 3: 1. Check, your Active Directory User is not a member or Guest group on Domain Controller. Solution 4: 1. Restart your System, Run in Safe Mode. 2. Log on to your System by an Administrative User account (other than effected user) 3. Backup Up all in effected user’s profile (if available J because in some cases you even loss your data, read how to recover lost profile in Windows), user profile folder can be accessed from %SystemDrive%\Users\UserName (Windows Vista / 7) for Windows XP, you need to type bit extra. %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\UserName. 4. Delete all your effected Profiles (if one or more with incremental names, but take backup first). 5. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER, in Windows Vista / 7, it may be prompt you for Administrator access or password. 6. Locate the following registry Subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList 7. Under the ProfileList subkey, click on each individual subkey and find your effected username, in left pane in front of ProfileImagePath, for me it was as. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\ S-1-5-21-2697157797-3922012616-804475456-2266\ and in front of ProfileImagePath, there was my username with path C:\Users\rizwan.ahmad.
Microsoft Says: Under the ProfileList subkey, expand and delete the subkey that is SID.bak. but I recommend above procedure ;). 8. Exit Registry Editor. 9. Restart Your Computer Normally, and hope this issue is gone.

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Why do you include information on Windows 7 and Windows Vista when the user is only asking about Windows XP? – Ramhound Jan 23 '13 at 11:54

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