In September, a user was upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7. We are in a corporate setting, so, we are on a network. This user previously had NO issues logging onto her laptop or the network. EVER.

Upgrade happened on a Wednesday. Everything ran fine the rest of that week.

Monday morning after 3 day holiday weekend, user could not log in. Laptop was logged off but left on over the weekend. She entered her user id and pw as usual, and it took over ten minutes to finally display "user id and password incorrect." She checked for capslock, numlock, then carefully reentered. Almost immediately this time it displayed the same message. On the third attempt, same result.

At this point she called the helpdesk and the password was reset. This password did not work either-same result/message. Password was reset a second time-same result. Laptop was rebooted, same result at start up. Laptop was diconnected from the network-log on tried with old password (attempt to log on to the computer itself, minus the network, to see if it was a network issue) same result; second attempt made with reset passwords-both of them-no success.

Helpdesk technician created a temporary profile for her and she was forced to leave Laptop/network up all day. We took turns jiggling the mouse when she was at lunch so she wouldn't get logged out due to inactivity.

Eventually, the helpdesk tech got into her profile and temporarily removed the password requirement so she could access her profile and the network (so she could access applications that have profile based access requirements-- forgive me if I'm not using the correct terminology). In this scenario, she could not log off/idle the laptop, other wise, she would need to log in and the password issue was not resolved.

Her password was reset one more time and the settings on her idle/log out were adjusted so that her laptop would not go into sleep mode, which seems to cause the problem. She can lock it for a maximum of about an hour and then unlock it with her password, but if the laptop is left for the afternoon or if it sleeps or is turned off she can't log on.

For the last four months, it is hit or miss every Monday. She always has to leave her laptop on, and usually has to have the helpdesk tech log her in on Monday. Even then, sometimes he can't log her in, or, the laptop is in sleep mode despite it being set not to do so (its as if the network overrides or resets to the default settings).

Other people can log into the laptop without these issues. On the other hand, she can't log into other people's laptops either. She has tried moving her laptop to a different location (to rule out cable/port issues) in the building without success, and she has experienced the same problems at other buildings (in another state!).

She has been issued two different laptops and a desktop-all freshly rebuilt, and that does not solve the problem. The helpdesk tech gave her her old XP laptop back, thinking maybe since she never had issues with that OS/laptop that the problem is a Windows 7 logon issue only, but that didn't work either.

I know that "corrupt" profiles are supposedly mythical, or at least EXTREMELY rare, like a black unicorn, but is it possible this is the case? Since its "mythical" I can't find very many legitimate "symptoms" of what a user would experience if in fact their profile is truly corrupt.

The helpdesk says they can't create a new profile for her. Apparently, she would need to be "fired" and "rehired" with a new employee id (they can't link two profiles to the same employee id) which would affect her length of service, benfits, etc., and, she'd experience a downtime of at least a week (no email, access to applications, etc) which our supervisor says is unacceptable.

Her solution is to let my co-worker borrow my profile (which I am not comfortable with, and is against company policy, and for which I could be terminated). The "help"desk is also not very "help"ful. They just keep resetting her password, or fiddling with her settings so she doesn't get logged out. The poor thing just wants to get her work done and I want my profile back--so I am here seeking the help of professionals, enthusiasts, someone! Anyone!

Besides my question above regarding corrupt profiles, my other question is: what can my co-worker do to attempt to determine the REAL source of her problems? Are there settings she can adjust? What can she look at to see if something is not right/missing? We do not have administrative privileges, but we can usually at least view whatever we want...

  • 1
    Have they checked the date that her account expires in Active Directory? Is her laptop is a separate GPO that it is part of a password policy that it expires every week?
    – JukEboX
    Dec 14, 2015 at 16:37
  • How would one go about checking the exp date in Active Directory? Is that something only an admin can do? Also, please elaborate on "GPO" :-S remember...I'm just a regular person!
    – Jax
    Dec 14, 2015 at 16:41
  • Have the manager of you system go into Active Directory Users & Groups. Search for her name. Under the Account tab there should be 2 radio buttons. 1 for "Never Expires" 1 for "Date Account Expires". If the Account is reset and it is adding a few days after that might be your group policy restricting time. If it is set to "Never Expires" then that isn't the issue. GPO stand for Group Policy Object. That is the security policy that is enforced on all computers. Normally there is one for your whole network or admins can set others for different computer groups of users.
    – JukEboX
    Dec 14, 2015 at 16:44
  • These settings can determine everything about the computer including how early or late a password can expire or account get locked out. Also I would suggest plugging in an external keyboard to her laptop and try and login to see if the keyboard on the laptop is actually dead. Have you tried having her login on your machine and let her use it to see if it happens to her on a different machine?
    – JukEboX
    Dec 14, 2015 at 16:45
  • She has an external keyboard, which was replaced "just in case." She also ditched her docking station to see if that was it. No change. And, yes, she has tried using both my laptop and my desktop with her id/pw and it doesn't work.
    – Jax
    Dec 14, 2015 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


It turned out that during the upgrade, someone added a space after her 5 character user ID in the Active Directory. Our ID’s are LASTF (first 4 letters of last name + first initial) and hers was essentially 6 characters (plus, she never entered a space when putting her credentials in. Why would she. duh). I forgot I asked this question here, but I figured after all this time if anyone else is ever having this problem, an answer would be helpful. So here it is: be sure to look for even the most idiotic, basic keystroke mistakes. Like an extra space.

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