recently whenever I login to my 10-month old account on Windows Vista the desktop launches brand new. As if the account was created 10 seconds before. The user account picture and desktop picture is the only piece of information that carries over. Settings such as Documents, Pictures, Start menu contents, are all wipe clean.
However, if I logout from the start menu, and log back in again to the same user account with same password. The profile is restored to its glorious self.
I remember hearing about this issue from Paul Thurrott on an episode of Windows Weekly, but I'm pretty sure it's a really old episode. From memory it had something to do with a Service that had not completed its startup routines. I know I'm not crazy, just can't remember what the solution was.
As the terms for the problem are really vague,
Google-ing Bing-ing has been rather fruitless.
ENVIRONMENT: Windows Vista SP2, all updates applied.