Windows Corrupt Profiles – even after creating a new profile? why?

May 9, 2011


In many cases to resolve a corrupt profile problem one simply creates a new profile in either c:\documents and settings (xp) or c:\users (vista/7).  Then copying the old user data from their old profile file to their new one thus fixing the problem, this article will show how to edit the registry in order to fix a corrupt profile even when this process is not successful.

What are the symptoms of a corrupt profile?

In many cases users will be loaded into a temporary profile and will not see their document files neither their files on their desktops. If it is a network environment then they will not have their emails configured either, in a nutshell any changes that are profile related will be removed and a generic profile in place. This can also be verified in the event logs where windows will have a ‘user profile service’ error stating that it could not log into the profile and thus has logged into a temporary profile.

Renaming the exiting profile folder method

As mentioned earlier this would be the default method of creating a new profile by renaming the existing profile folder and then logging again, this sets up a new profile folder and recreates all the profile related files and folders. However in some cases this does not resolve the problem and windows still loads the user in a temporary profile this is where editing the registry is required.

Removing profile related registry keys

In order to ensure that all traces of the corrupt profile are removed from the system one will need to remove the registry keys that are associated with the profile in question, the steps below wil convey how this is achieved.

1) The user profile folder

Profile folders in c:\users

2) Open regedit by typing ‘regedit in the search bar

3) Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Microsoft>Windows NT>CurrentVersion>ProfileList
In here you will see a number of keys of which each refer to the specified profile, I have highlighted the key that refers to the profile highlighted in step 1
4) Right click the key and click delete
This will simply delete all registry entries for the profile in question, the next time the user logs in a set of new regestries is created and thus any corruption issues are resolved.
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About mohamedridha

Network Systems Engineer with focus on Wireless LAN Infrastructure and Security. Interests in Middle East

View all posts by mohamedridha


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