Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm having a problem where after power faliure during a reboot Windows says there's a problem with the user profile and logs me in to a temporary one. This happens both with my personal account and the Administrator one.

I found this guide which explains how to fix the issue, but the problem is that I'd rather not backup my user folder, because it's pretty heavy - not sure of the exact amount, but it could be tens or hundreds of GBs. I thought that maybe I could copy the system files from that folder to another one and rename them, but that doesn't seem to work, because everything I do while in the temporary profile is undone at logout.

I could delete the user account and let Windows keep the files, but then I'd run into the same problem: it's a really big folder, and restoring it would take a very long time. Plus, I'm not sure if I would lose stuff that Windows doesn't back up, like saved games in AppData.

EDIT: Something I just realized may have something to do with this. My Users folder is actually on a separate partition, and C:\Users is a symlink pointing to it.

My goal is to find out how to restore my profile; everything I mentioned until now is what I tried and couldn't do for whatever reason. Does anyone know of a better method, or of a way to backup my user folder without waiting hours and hours for it to copy?

share|improve this question
    
Have you tried System Restore? Works for user account settings, too. –  Tobias Plutat May 5 '11 at 20:36
    
@Tobias: No, that didn't work. –  Javier Badia May 5 '11 at 20:53
    
Sorry I can't see links due to my browser settings.You could try elevating a guest account to admin using a linux live cd and chntpw, then merging the accounts? –  Blomkvist May 5 '11 at 20:58
    
Did you run a disk check to try and find/fix the corruption? –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 May 5 '11 at 21:02
    
@techie007: That didn't work. –  Javier Badia May 5 '11 at 22:20
show 1 more comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try running a chkdsk /f on the hard drive, see if this fixes the corrupt account(s)

Other than a chkdsk there is no easy fix.

If no joy move to a new user profile, scroll down to "Copying your user profile"

This article is for XP but is very similar for W7

.

In this user profile recovery technique, you’ll attempt to revive the user profile by creating a new account and, subsequently, a new user profile. You’ll then copy your old user profile in its entirety to the new account. While this may sound like an operation that will simply replicate the problem over to the new account, it does indeed revive the user profile on occasion. Again, keep in mind that the success of this attempt depends on the severity of the damage to the user profile. However, since it’s a relatively painless operation, it’s worth a shot.

To begin, access the Control Panel and launch the User Accounts tool. Next, select the Create A New Account link. Then, give the account a name and click Next. When prompted to pick an account type, make sure the Computer Administrator option button is selected, and then click the Create Account button.

Once you create the new account, close the User Accounts tool. Then, click Start | Log Off. When you see the Log Off Windows dialog box, click the Log Off button. When you see either the Welcome Screen or the Log On To Windows dialog box, select or type the name you used for the new account. As soon as you do, Windows XP will create a user profile for the new account.

When the user profile creation procedure is complete and the system starts up, immediately click Log Off. Then, log back on to the working account.

Now, open the Start menu, right-click My Computer, and select Properties. When you see the System Properties dialog box, select the Advanced System Settings on the left. Then, locate and click the Settings button in the User Profiles section.

.

.enter image description here

You’ll now see a User Profiles dialog box that looks like the one shown below.

enter image description here

You’ll use the User Profiles tool to copy your old user profile to the new account. Select your old user account then click the Copy To button. When the Copy To dialog box appears, click the Browse button and then use the resulting Browse For Folder dialog box to locate the Documents and Settings folder and select the new account you created. At this point, the Copy To dialog box will look like the one shown in Figure C. To continue, just click OK. You’ll then see a confirmation dialog box that informs you that the original files will be deleted and prompts you to confirm the copy operation. Just click Yes.

.enter image description here

At this point, you’ll see the path to your new account in the Copy To dialog box. Once the copy operation finishes, close the User Profiles dialog box and the System Properties dialog box, then log off. At this point, you can attempt to log on to the new account. If this technique was able to successfully recover the user profile, everything should be the way it was.

  • EDIT

If this fails to work, then move the data manually to the new user account.

Moving to a new user profile In this user profile recovery technique, you’ll move to a new user profile by creating a new account and, subsequently, a new user profile. You’ll then copy your data files and other portions of the user profile from your original to the new one. Keep in mind that when you move to a new user profile in this manner, you will loose all of your personalized settings, such as color scheme, wallpaper, and icons.

You’ll follow the instructions I presented earlier for creating a new account and a new user profile. In short, you’ll access the User Accounts tool to create a new account. Then, log on to the new account to create a default new user profile. Finally, log off and then log back on to the working account.

To begin this operation, launch Windows Explorer and navigate to the C:\Documents and Settings folder. Then, locate and open your original account folder. At this point, you should see all the files and folders in your original user profile, as shown earlier in Figure A.

Copy the contents of the folders containing the data that you want to move to your new user profile. In the case of my example system, I’d begin by copying the contents of the C:\Documents and Settings\Greg Shultz\Greg Shultz’s Documents folder to the C:\Documents and Settings\Greg Shultz2\Greg Shultz2’s folder.

In addition, you’ll want to copy the contents of the Favorites, Outlook Express, and Address Book folders if you’re using that e-mail program, or the Outlook folder. You may also want to copy the contents of Cookies, Templates, and any other folders that contain critical data files.

Be careful not to copy any files that are specifically related to the operating system, as any one of those files could be the culprit in the case of the corrupted user profile. For example, you definitely won’t want to copy Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.pol, or Ntuser.ini from your old user profile to your new one.

When you’re finished copying files, log out of the working profile, then log on to your new user profile. When you do, you should be able to access all of your data files and most of your applications, just as you did with your old profile. However, keep in mind that you may have to reinstall or at least reconfigure some of your applications. And, of course, you’ll need to recreate all your personalized settings.

share|improve this answer
    
The "Copy To" option in the User Profiles is grey for every profile except Default. –  Javier Badia May 5 '11 at 22:39
    
Then you will have to use the manual method, scroll down to "Moving to a new user profile" in the link I posted, check my edit above –  Moab May 5 '11 at 23:58
    
I did what you suggested, and my desktop settings are back and I'm no longer a temporary user, but for some reason I can't open Explorer. Whenever I try to open a folder, I get an error message saying that Windows can't open the specified device and that I may not have the permissions. –  Javier Badia May 6 '11 at 1:18
2  
If it were me, I would back up my data and do a clean install of W7. –  Moab May 6 '11 at 3:41
    
I think that's what I'll do. Thanks for your help. –  Javier Badia May 6 '11 at 17:50
add comment

I had also the same problem.

When you do a System Restore on a system where Users folder is a junction or a Symlink to another drive - System Restore deletes the current copy of D:\Users\(UserName)\ntuser.dat but fails to restore its previous version.

After restarting the system, Windows cannot load the user profile because the registry hive ntuser.dat is missing, and it keeps loading a temporary profile.


The solution:

  1. Log in as another administrator (See note below).
  2. Go to D:\Users (the physical copy), right click the (UserName) folder, click Properties, open the Previous Versions tab.
  3. Select the last known good version of the (UserName) folder, click Open.
  4. Browse within the historical version of the folder and locate the files ntuser.dat, ntuser.dat.log*, etc.
  5. Copy the files into C:\Users\(UserName) (in the system volume).
  6. Restart, and that's all.

Note: In windows 7 there is a default hidden Administrator account which is enabled only in Safe Mode. It may also be enabled using Net user administrator /active:yes in elevated Cmd window.

share|improve this answer
add comment
  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 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 into the Start menu search box 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): http://blog.teesupport.com/how-to-guide-fix-user-profile-error-logged-with-a-temporary-profile-problem-on-windows-7/

share|improve this answer
add comment

I found a great tool you could use in the future, just in case one of your profiles get corrupted.

D7 found in How To geek

D7 is a very useful, free tool for maintaining, repairing, and tweaking Windows, assisting in the removal of malware, and backing up all the user profiles on your computer. It can aid PC technicians in performing many tasks.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.