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I am trying to successfully implement Windows 7 roaming profiles. I added the share on my server 2003 server in active directory, logged in on my Windows 7 computer which is joined to the domain and everything was fine. I saw in me c:\users folder that there was both a username and username.domain folder. I wanted to remove the .domain folder, so I removed both folders in the c:\users directory.

Now I log in and see that I have no profile, and I have a "temporary" profile located in c:\users\temp ! How do I get back to having a roaming profile again??

I see on my server that it created the username.V2 folder and has all of the Windows 7 folders intact, so I know my original connection worked. I also look in the profiles section and see that I have a roaming profile, but it says it is a "temp" profile and gets erased everytime I log in!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is a common issue. If you want to remove a profile on a Windows 7 machine, never just delete their user folder under C:\users. That will guarantee you this mess.

This problem has become so common that Microsoft has created a FixIt executable that you can run to resolve the problem, found in their KB article for the issue.

Most times running the FixIt by itself will fix the problem. In the odd case it doesn't, simply delete the associated user profile from the ProfileList in the registry:

  • Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
  • Click Change settings.
  • In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
  • Under User Profiles, click Settings.
  • In the User Profiles dialog box, select the profile that you want to delete, click Delete, and then click OK.
  • Click Start, type regedit in the Start search box, and then press ENTER.
  • Locate and then expand the following registry subkey:

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

  • Right-click the SID that you want to remove, and then click Delete.

To avoid this in the future, delete the user profile in the way it is described in steps 1-5 above.

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Be careful with deleting "Unknown User". I had done profile migration to a new user (keeping the directory but assigning it to a different user), and the old, non-existing user was still linked to the directory. Windows will happily delete the entire directory, except files in use (for example your Outlook file if you're lucky). – Stijn Oct 3 '11 at 14:07

This applies only to Active Directory and New Roaming Profiles:

I just ran into this exact same problem: after setting up the profile path in Active Directory, the user recieves an error that they are using a temporary profile. This ultimatly had to do with the “profile path” I had entered \\sbserver\usershares\%username%.

The server will try to append and extension indicating the profile/windows version to the path, in my case it was .V2 making the path \\sbserver\usershares\john.V2. Unfortunately, the user does not have permission to modify the “UserShares” folder so a temporary profile was used for that session. This can be resolved by adding a trailing backslash making the profile path a folder named \\sbserver\usershares\john\.V2\. To make thing more windows like, I ultimately made the profile path \\sbserver\usershares\%username%\PROFILE and windows translated this to \\sbserver\usershares\john\PROFILE.V2.

This applies to existing roaming profile that started acting up:

For roaming profiles that started acting up, you will be heading for more of an up hill battle: the profile can exist on multiple machines, and the server, and will replicate from machine to server to machine. You will want to rename the user profile folder on the server or current workstation as this is the current copy. From there, go to each and every workstation that has the profile in question log in, and rename it. Once the use logs in again, it will create a fresh new profile. Copy his documents, favorites, PSTs, and so on back into his new profile. Make sure to do this on all machines that have a copy of the profile, otherwise a login on the wrong machine could corrupt his profile again.

Workgroup/standalone computers:

This is usually due to a corrupt user profile, corrupt default profile, corrupt user account, file system, or windows problems. Start by renaming the profile and letting windows create a new profile. Copy back the users data. The second step is to rename the users profile directory, delete the user, create a new user, and copy the users data back.

A fatally corrupted file system can be causing user profile issues. Run a check disk and retry the proceeding steps. If that fails, windows could be to blame. But always give web searches a good try before blowing away Windows.

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  1. Use SFC / SCANNOW command to help you detect and fix any corrupted or missing system files.

    • Go to Start menu, expand “All Programs” – “Accessories” – “System Tools”, right-click “Command Prompt” in the pop-up menu, select “Run as administrator”, then input “SFC / SCANNOW” without quotation marks and press Enter.

    • When the “SFC / SCANNOW” command is running, this command will scan every corner of your system, and repair the missing or corrupted files.

  2. Shift to another administrator user, if you don’t have one, please create a new administrator account and log in.

  3. Navigate to C:\Documents and Settings folder, backup the data of your original corrupted profile, then delete the corrupted profile and all the temp profiles.

  4. Open Registry Editor (type “Regedit” without quotation mark in the start menu blank and open it), search for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList, under the profileList subkey, delete the key named SID.bak.

  5. Restart your computer; you will be able to log in the normal profile again.

Reference site (which I am affiliated with):

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