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Thread: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    On my new Dell Computer which has Vista Home Premium I am getting a constant error that User Profiles cannot be loaded. This appears when I try to login in a account. I use this computer at my home and was out for some work. After returning this error appeared. I thought it would be due to some issue in the system, so I checked the connections and restarted my computer. But still the error appeared. I cannot login to my system. My neigbour told me that this can be fixed by Safe Mode. How to get into Safe Mode. I am bit non-techie guy. I need appropriate steps to fix the issue.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Restart your computer and Press F8 a number of times. Then you will find a menu from where you have to choose Safe Mode. In Safe Mode try to login in to your account. If that does not work then press Ctrl + Alt + Del. This will give you classic login Window. In the user name type Administrator and hit enter. This is a default Vista Admin account. If this account still exist you will be able to login. Delete your old and create a new one. If you had kept something on desktop then you will need to manually copy paste that from Document and Settings folder. There will be a folder with your username. Go inside that and click on Desktop. You will find your files.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    I had fixed this problem just a day ago. It look some kind of bug in Vista. It appears automatically without doing anything. I am not sure about the exact cause, but it looks due to some bug the user account is renamed. I had searched on web to find the reason for this. But hopefully I got some solutions to fix it. To fix that you have to get in Safe Mode. As mentioned above hit F8 a number of time to get the Safe Mode menu. Choose it and press enter. Click on the user account and enter your password. Ignore any error if receive. Vista will be able to show you the desktop. Now click on Start and in the search box below type regedit. This will launch registry editor. You can click on File > Export to take a backup so that if there is any other error you can restore the original state back.

    Now in registry editor go o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProfileList/. Here you can find the profiles listed which are normally in the form of S-1-5. Check properly the full name of folders listed there. You have to locate one which has .bak at the end. This is the backup of your old profile. Now on the right side look for ProfileImagePath. There must be the same thing listed with .bak extension. Here we will have to rename the same to restore your old profile. There will be two things listed there. One will with .bak and one will be without that. The rename the folder which has .bak with bk. You can do that by right clicking on th same. Now the other one that does not has .bak at the end right click and add it. Now getting back to .bk folder. Just remove .bk and hit enter. Restart your computer and check back.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Here is a link that can help you to deal with this issue. I will not recommend you to make changes to Windows Registry directly as it can create more errors. You receive "The User Profile Service failed the logon” error message. Click on this link and check the solutions. This is somehow a temporary problem. Once you are able to restore the user profile you will be able to login back again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    The registry thing is quiet very tricky according to me. But the solution really works out. You had missed out something. As you said to rename the first folder with bak to bk. That fine I did that. Now adding .bak to the folder which doesn't has that extension, that too I did. At last you said to remove bk also. This is just like swapping the names of folders with each other so that Windows Vista can take the .bak folder as your default old profile. It is better you keep a number of different account activated in your system. It helps at time of such profile failure. By the way I had never faced this issue in Windows XP.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    The .bak part is as follows... you basically want to delete the .bak from the one that has it and put it on the otherone. then take the first .bak off. In order to do that you need to rename the file that has the .bak to .bk (this is done as described in the previous instructions... right mouse click, choose rename, click on the end of the file name and delete the 'a' from .bak to become .bk, then hit the screen anywhere to lock in the name change).

    Next go to the file without the .bak and rename that to include a .bak (follow most of the rename instructions above to add the new .bak. Click on the screen to lock in the change.)

    Finally go to the first file you were working on and rename it again to remove the .bk so there is no extension. This becomes the correct profile to start up.

    Once that is done, you can restart your computer and see if it works. Good luck. His instructions worked beautifully for me with this minor .bak difference.

    Great job with your post. I too found a lot of other suggestions that did not work. Yours worked like a charm. Who knew it would still be usefull well after a year from when you originally posted. Thanks again.

    Huge respect to Marek for the excellent solution. I had a similar experience today which looked unsolvable until I read this post.

    The instructions were fine and it worked first time. This post should be preserved at all costs.

    P.S. Does anyone know what causes Vista to do this in the first place?

    That board won't help you on the laptop. I do gather you could hook two
    individual USB tuners to the laptop though. Haven't tried that personally,
    and there are the caveats others have mentioned if you are using XP, and the MCE interface.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Help! I've followed Mareks geat instructions but the system won't allow me to change the files. I'm assuming that it's because the User that's faulty is ADMIN! Can anyone offer any help please?

    Marek's solution worked like a charm, fingers and all. Just make sure you are in Safe Mode. Thanks for the easiest solution around. My guess is that it was caused by a monthly windows update that it just completed.

    Awesome! That worked. My son came to me with his laptop and showed me that it would not let him log on to windows and it gave the error "user profile cannot be loaded" I had no clue how to fix it. I typed the error message into google and found your thread first. I did it exactly how you described step by step and it worked the very first time we rebooted... So I thank you because I thought I was in for another hour of computer tech headache! THX!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    Thanks so much to Marek and all the others who helped with the solution to this problem. I thought I would have to take my laptop in somewhere to get it fixed but because of this I've been able to save time and do it myself... and I'm really really rubbish with computers!

    Just to clarify point 4:

    1. I changed file with .bak to end with: .bk
    2. Then I added .bak to the file that didn't have it
    3. Then I took the .bk away from the first one (that I had just changed in 1.)

    Hope that helps anyone who may be a little confused
    Last edited by Rack1988; 20-03-2010 at 10:33 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    I have tried the above, but my problem is slightly different. What happened was that my laptop went belly-up so a new profile had to be created for me - all my stuff was copied to the new profile. It happened again, so I copied to a new profile again - and then deleted the 2 old profiles.

    From what I can see, this seems to be the problem - but in the registry editor, I have this:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-21-1160784510-2645527434-756930415-1001

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-21-1160784510-2645527434-756930415-1002.bak

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-21-1160784510-2645527434-756930415-1004.bak

    there are 2 other profiles on the laptop - 1000 & 1003, which are fine. 1001 appears to be my original profile, but no .bak????

    I also tried System Restore, but there are no restore points created?? (we've had the laptop since May 2009).

    I know I've done something by deleting my original profile, but can anyone help please?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    once you're in Safe Mode you can change those registry entries easily without any permanent damage. I'd suggest changing the 1004.bak -> 1004. If that doesn't work and you're worried about fiddling with the registry just change it back and try another solution.

    I'm appalled at how idiotic the Microsoft solution (create new profile, copy folders, delete old profile) compared to the awesome solution presented by Marek. Thanks a lot, worked a charm, and didn't have to scour the net for more than ten minutes. This is a pretty big bug...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    just like to say thanks for the solution, worked a treat and you made it really simple to understand , once again thanks to all involved

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    Just wanted to say thank you very much to Marek for your useful post. It has solved my logon problem which i have been trying to resolve for about a year now.
    Many thanks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    This is Marek's fabulous help that I revised so that it is all in one thread that can be printed and read. Thanks again, Marek. You helped me out tonight!

    I've just had this problem on my computer, and I just fixed it.
    It seems to be caused by a horrendous bug in Vista that renames your User
    Account Profile as a backup, and then creates a new user account with the
    same name but with nothing in it.
    I googled it and followed several bits of advice but none of them worked,
    but I managed to fix it with a combination of ideas.
    This is how I did it:

    1. Boot up in Safe Mode. To do this, hit the F8 key while the computer is
    booting, and then scroll down to the "Safe Mode" option and press enter. On
    my computer the user account icon appeared, but bigger than normal, and I
    clicked it and it loaded my desktop in safe mode. It came up with an error
    bubble saying that my user account hadn't loaded properly, but i just ignored

    2. Click the Start Button and in the white "Start Search" space at the
    bottom type "regedit" (without the quotation marks). This will open the
    registry editor.

    3. In the left-hand pane, navigate by clicking the little triangles next to
    the following folders:
    Windows NT

    You should now have a list of folders all starting with S-1-5- and then a
    (You might need to drag the divider between the 2 panes of the window across
    so you can read the whole folder name)
    Look at the end of each name and you should see one with .bak at the end of
    it, and there will be another one above it with exactly the same name but
    without .bak at the end.
    The one that's got .bak at the end is your old User Profile that Vista has
    now made into a backup, and the one without .bak after it is the new empty
    User Profile that Vista has created.
    Just to check that this is the case, have a look in the right-hand pane for
    each of the 2 folders and look at what's written after "ProfileImagePath".
    For the folder with .bak at the end it should say C:\Users\ and then your
    usual User Account name, and for the one that doesn't have .bak at the end it
    should say C:\Users\TEMP.

    4. What you need to do now is to rename the folders in the left-hand pane so
    that the one with .bak at the end changes back to being the one containing
    your proper User Profile and the new one without .bak at the end becomes the
    backup. To do this, follow these steps:
    - Right click on the folder with .bak at the end and then click "rename",
    and just change the ".bak" part to ".bk" - i.e. just remove the "a" from the
    middle. (This is just to allow you to change the other one to have .bak at
    the end). Press enter or click on some blank part of the screen for the change to take effect.

    - Then on the other file, right click, select "rename," and add .bak to the file that didn't have an extension. Press enter or click on some blank part of the screen for the change to take effect.

    - Then click on the file you first changed, right click, select "rename," and remove the .bk from the end of that file name so that it has no extension. Press enter or click on blank park of screen to accept the change.

    - Close the regedit window.

    5. Click the Start Button and then "Restart". It should work now. Fingers

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    re: User Profile Cannot be Loaded error in Windows Vista

    Thank you so much Marek, 4 years later and your solution is still solving the problem.My computer has been setting dormant for close to a year, now I am back up and running.Tammy

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