Article ID: 947215 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

When you log on to a Windows 7-based or a Windows Vista-based computer by using a temporary profile, you receive the following error message:
The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

Resolution

Occasionally, Windows might not read your user profile correctly, such as if your antivirus software is scanning your computer while you try to log on. Before you follow the methods here, try restarting your computer and logging on with your user account again to resolve the issue. If you restart your computer and it does not resolve this issue, use the following methods to resolve this issue.

Note You must be able to log on to an administrator account to fix your user profile or copy your data to a new account. Before you resolve the issue, log on to Windows by using another account that has administrative permissions, or restart in safe mode to log on with the built-in administrator account. For more information about how to start in safe mode, visit the following Microsoft website:
Start your computer in safe mode

Method 1: Fix the user account profile

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To fix the user account profile, follow these steps:

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Search box, and then press ENTER.
  2. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  3. In the navigation pane, locate the folder that begins with S-1-5 (SID key) followed by a long number.
  4. Click each S-1-5 folder, locate the ProfileImagePath entry in the details pane, and then double-click to make sure that this is the user account profile that has the error.
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    • If you have two folders starting with S-1-5 followed by some long numbers and one of them ended with .bak, you have to rename the .bak folder. To do this, follow these steps:
      1. Right-click the folder without .bak, and then click Rename. Type .ba, and then press ENTER.
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      2. Right-click the folder that is named .bak, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
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      3. Right-click the folder that is named .ba, and then click Rename. Change the .ba to .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
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    • If you have only one folder starting with S-1-5 that is followed by long numbers and ends with .bak. Right-click the folder, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
    • If you have two folders starting with S-1-5 followed by some long numbers and one of them ended with .bak, you have to rename the .bak folder. To do this, follow these steps:
      1. Right-click the folder without .bak, and then click Rename. Type .ba, and then press ENTER.
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      2. Right-click the folder that is named .bak, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
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      3. Right-click the folder that is named .ba, and then click Rename. Change the .ba to .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
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    • If you have only one folder starting with S-1-5 that is followed by long numbers and ends with .bak. Right-click the folder, and then click Rename. Remove .bak at the end of the folder name, and then press ENTER.
  5. Double-click the folder without .bak in the details pane, double-click RefCount, type 0, and then click OK.
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  6. Click the folder without .bak, in the details pane, double-click State, type 0, and then click OK.
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  7. Close Registry Editor.
  8. Restart the computer.
  9. Log on again with your account.
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Method 2: Log on to Windows and copy your data to a new account

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Create a new account and copy the data from the old account to the new account. For information about how to do this, visit one of the following Microsoft websites:

Windows 7
Fix a corrupted user profile (Windows 7)
Windows Vista
Fix a corrupted user profile (Windows Vista)
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Method 3: Delete the error SID and create a new profile

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To delete the error SID and create a new profile, follow these steps:
  1. Delete the error SID.
    To have us fix this problem for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you would rather fix it yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

    Fix it for me

    To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix this problem link. Then click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in this wizard.
    Fix this problem
    Microsoft Fix it 50446

    Notes
    • This wizard may be in English only, but the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
    • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, you can save the automatic fix to a flash drive or to a CD, and then you can run it on the computer that has the problem.

    Let me fix it myself

    Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
    To resolve this problem yourself, follow these steps:
    1. Delete the profile by using the Computer Properties dialog box. To do this, follow these steps:
      1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
      2. Click Change settings.

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      3. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

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      4. In the User Profiles area, click Settings.
      5. In the User Profiles dialog box, select the profile that you want to delete, click Delete, and then click OK.
    2. Click Start, type regedit in the Search box, and then press ENTER.
    3. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
    4. Right-click the SID that you want to remove, and then click Delete.
  2. Log on to the computer and create a new profile.
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Advanced information

This error may occur if the "Do not logon users with temporary profiles" Group Policy setting is configured.

This error may also occur if the user profile folder was deleted manually. A profile folder that is manually deleted does not remove the Security Identifier (SID) from the profile list in the registry.

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WARNING:
We strongly recommend AGAINST making this the standard way to remove user profiles from computers. The documented and supported approach is by using the Advanced System Settings in the system properties, "User Profiles" settings. For programs, this is available by using the "DeleteProfile" API.

If the SID is present, Windows will try to load the profile by using the ProfileImagePath that points to a nonexistent path. Therefore, the profile cannot be loaded.
Event log information
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The following events are logged in the Application log:

  • Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-User Profiles Service
    Date: Date
    Event ID: 1515
    Task Category: None
    Level: Warning
    Keywords: Classic
    User: User
    Computer: Computer
    Description: Windows has backed up this user profile. Windows will automatically try to use the backup profile the next time this user logs on.

  • Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-User Profiles Service
    Date: Date
    Event ID: 1511
    Task Category: None
    Level: Warning
    Keywords: Classic
    User: User
    Computer: Computer
    Description: Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile. Changes you make to this profile will be lost when you log off.

  • Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-User Profiles Service
    Date: Date
    Event ID: 1500
    Task Category: None
    Level: Error
    Keywords: Classic
    User: User
    Computer: Computer
    Description: Windows cannot log you on because your profile cannot be loaded. Check that you are connected to the network, and that your network is functioning correctly.
    DETAIL - Unknown

  • Log Name: Application
    Source: Microsoft-Windows-Winlogon
    Date: Date
    Event ID: 6004
    Task Category: None
    Level: Warning
    Keywords: Classic
    User: N/A
    Computer: Computer
    Description: The Winlogon notification subscriber Profiles failed a critical notification event.

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Properties

Article ID: 947215 - Last Review: October 23, 2012 - Revision: 14.0
Applies to
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
Keywords: 
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