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  • My PC has forgotten my profile

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 7 Questions: Windows 7 My PC has forgotten my profile


    This topic contains 27 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
    • #336010 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I would thank a lot to someone who can make a suggestion I can use, for the following problem:

      Tonight I installed the February patches for Office 2010 and the MSRT offered with Windows Update set to “let me know but let me choose when to download and install”, hid the rollup, as I am Group-B and also a non checked update not mentioned in the Master Patch List: KB3021917 that, on inspection and according to the blurb on the corresponding MS site, it is mostly about reporting on how are things with my PC: not interested, so I hid it.

      Then I proceeded  to install. The system created a restore point automatically, as usual, and the install went ahead.

      Then I restarted the PC. And the trouble begun:

      (1st) There was no message: “preparing to install updates, do not restart your computer”, followed by the restart, etc. The restart happened right away and I found myself directly in the login window. Well… that has happened once before and, when the login finished, all was well, regardless.

      (2nd) When I logged in and went to my own account (I have one “User” with Admin privileges and one so-called “Administrator” account): First, it took quite a while in the “Welcome” screen with the revolving ring. Then…

      (3rd) Then I got the bad news: the message “Preparing your desktop” came up. Meaning: my user profile in that account was well and truly not available, corrupted, or who knows what.

      (4th) Once the logon was completed, to a basic desktop, not my usual one, I logged out and logged back in Safe Mode.

      (5th) I went to the so-called “Administrator” account and then did a system restore, to get rid of the just installed patches and go back to what things were just before that, when everything seemed to be working fine. Also went to “System/Services” and disabled a few non-MS services that, when checking what they were about, were left over from older printer drivers I don’t use any more and tings like that. Once upon a time I had the same “Preparing your Desktop” problem, someone advised me to disable some non-MS services and that took care of the problem. But, alas! not now.

      (6th) I did a restart, and was back to “Preparing your Desktop.”

      (7th) I then made another Safe Mode login and in the control panel “System” I went and set things up to get a “File Repair Mode” login.

      (8th) Logged off and logged in. The “Repair” logon followed and ended, without offering any choices, in the login window.

      (9th) Back to choosing to login in my own account.

      (10th) Back to “Preparing your Desktop.”

      (11th) I tried logging in again in Safe Mode, but it got me right to the “File Repair” login and the same problem as before.

      (12) Back to logging in my “Administrator” account and then tried to change the System Settings to a normal login, but the option to do so had mysteriously disappeared. Also, looking in “System” I found that in the “properties’ of my user profile, the path to the profile was a blank. Same for my Admin user setting.

      (13) Tried logging in again, and the same happened as in (11th).

      So now this is how things stand:

      (a) I cannot get my profile to kick in, but am treated by the OS as someone using Windows for the first time ever, without a user profile.

      (b) Now I cannot change things anymore, so I can have a different choice from “File Repair Mode” for logging in.

      And it looks like I can do only one of two things:

      (1) Try something else, if someone gives me a hand figuring out what to do.

      (2) Take the PC out and shoot it. Or put it to pasture for ever–  or until some idea as to what else to do somehow clicks in my mind.

      NOTE: I got Win 7 pre-installed, so I have no install disk. I have all my important files backed up, so I am not going to loose anything important if this is it for this  old PC.  Also I rather don’t spend weeks trying this and that to find something that works. Life must go on.

      Lucky for me, I also have a new-ish Mac that does all the things I need doing. But I still would like to have my old PC fully back to life (as just before I installed, or try to, the I would think entirely harmless patches, it looked it’s perky usual self) and not have it lingering in the half-existence it is at the moment — but without resorting to heroic measures.


      Group B, Windows 7 Pro SP1, x64 I-7 Quad “sandy bridge” CPU.

    • #336036 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      This is an update: I have solved the problem described in (11), (12), (13) above: I was trying to change the type of login in the wrong place. My mistake. That also takes care of (b), and leaves (a) and all points from (1) through (10) as stated above. That means that I still cannot have my old profile activated on login, and the OS does not recognize me anymore. So a small problem solved, the big one is still to be solved.

      As part of the above I manage to get, using HP tools available at start up, to run CHKDSK on the HD Windows (I think) and the Restore Partitions: everything was OK, according to the scan. I did a further restore, which got rid of January Security Only update. Before that, I removed Chrome and Firefox, simply because they got updated yesterday, before I installed the patches mentioned in the head posting. All this gives me the feeling that the patches of January or February may not be the problem.

      • #336043 Reply

        The Surfing Pensioner
        AskWoody Plus

        Oh help, my commiserations! And many thanks for the warning. I too was debating last night whether to install the Office 2010 patches and the MSRT. Now I just won’t bother. But I do hope you get the problem sorted – it’s way out of my league.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #336058 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      If a system restore to an earlier point doesn’t solve it try this

      How to restore the correct user profile after Windows starts logging in with a temporary user profile.

      If none of that works, maybe create a new profile and copy your data over.

      • #336096 Reply

        AskWoody Plus


        Thanks. Unfortunately, the procedure explained in the Web Page did not work. First time I tried, as explained there renaming the two profiles in the Register (adding “_new” to the one without ending and removing “.back” from the other, then restarting. But that took me back to the same situation. I repeated the procedure, restarted, and the “Administrator” account was the only one, mine, with my name, had disappeared. I restarted in safe mode, did a recovery to a previous state, in January. That got me back to where I had an Admin and Myself accounts, once more, to choose and log in. I logged in to the Admin account. The situation was as before, profile still AWOL, so I went to Control\Panel\System and to where the user profiles were, but did not found the ION\Net “corrupt” profile the instructions told me to delete there. So clearly those instructions were not exactly right for my case, for whatever reason. Now I am back where I started, with two accounts to chose to login to, as usual, but, again, with the OS not knowing me and believing this is the first time the computer is being used by anyone.

        Somehow, I starting to get a bad feeling about this.

        • #336162 Reply


          My personal experience with kind of profile corruption was my that Windows 7 installation partially identified me, but still thought I was new user.

          Quickly realized the easiest solution was rebuild a new (factory OS restore) Windows 7 to working order after copying to an external drive all the current work, saved program installers, and other critical data.

          • #336192 Reply

            AskWoody Plus

            Thanks, anonymous, but the big trouble I am in is that I have lost my Desktop, where I could access everything, including what now I may need to save by copying it to an external drive, as you suggest. Instead, it looks like I am condemned to be always on a temporary Desktop where I am warned every time I log in that I cannot save anything I do in there. I am sure that there must be a way to do that, but have no idea of how, right now. Maybe I am making this out to be a much bigger problem than it actually is? I really hope so.

            Also a return to factory settings means wiping out all the application software I have installed and that has made worth keeping the machine as a Windows machine until now (expensive applications I use in my work), that I would need to buy all over again, assuming that there are still for sale versions that are compatible with Windows 7. So, if I am right in this, then wiping out Windows and replacing it with, let’s say Mint, would make more sense, because it would be the same loss, but at least I could do something else with the PC by being rid of the problem that prevents me right now from doing anything meaningful with it and that, as a result, has prompted me to start this thread..

            • #336583 Reply


              Maybe I am making this out to be a much bigger problem than it actually is?

              Heh, Windows 7 forgot you so no that is big deal! If all the suggestion for Windows profile repair programs and tips do not work, and adding new account to further attempt repair causes more angst it is a big deal.

    • #336100 Reply


      Sorry that didn’t help. I would highly suggest making sure you have a backup of important files ASAP. I have a suspicion you may have a failing HDD – hopefully not, but be prepared, and test the drive thoroughly with the mfr testing software. Every time I’ve had issues similar to what you are describing we have found a drive with bad sectors.

      If the HDD passes a thorough diagnostic I think you’ll have to bite the bullet and create a new profile and redo any settings/tweaks etc. Run a system file check and check disk also.

      Good luck!

      • #336106 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks. Yes, the scan with DSKCHK came out “OK”. Now, creating a new profile… that will be two new profiles, I think: the Administrator one and the one with my name. I am not sure that I can do that, but I’ll try, unless someone here suggests an alternative. As to backing up files, without a profile I am not sure that is even possible in any easy way. Because I’m not supposed to have any files as now, every time that I log in, that is my very first minute of my very first hour logged in the PC, as far as the OS knows. So: no time to have created, or downloaded files. So getting files out of the PC, I suspect, will be a kind of autopsy. Fortunately, they are mostly already backed up to external disks. But not everything, by now.

        • #336109 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          Create your new profile with a different name. Example: YouName2. Make it an admin or use the built-in Administrator account and turn on show hidden files and folders. Navigate to C:\Users and see if you see your old user account folder is there. If so, you should be able to look through it and copy your files. You may have to take ownership of the folder.

          I usually use a linux boot disk to recover data.

          • #336113 Reply

            AskWoody Plus

            CyberSAR: ” I usually use a linux boot disk to recover data.

            That looks like a very good idea if nothing else works in another couple of days. Better than taking out and shooting the old PC, anyways.

            I have two questions, probably very naive, about that: How does one use a Linux boot disk under the very limited state the PC is in? Would I have to, and be able to access the UEFI and set it to accept booting from a Linux boot disk?

            • #336117 Reply

              AskWoody Plus

              Create a linux live cd or usb drive. Restart computer tapping f-12, f-2, esc key or whatever your computer uses to access the boot menu, and choose to boot from CD or USB.

              If there isn’t a key to get to boot menu go into the bios and set it to boot to cd or whatever first.

              Make sure you have another external HDD or thumbdrive large enough to copy your files to and use the linux OS to browse your Windows drive and copy/paste files to the external drive.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #336145 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      CyberSAR: I created a new “administrator” account. Unfortunately, when I restarted the machine and then logged in to this new account, I got the same “preparing to set up your desktop” message, and when the login was complete, I ended up with the same basic desktop , the same warning that this was a provisional desktop and that nothing I created or installed would be kept and, therefore, with the same limitations as before to what can be done from this account. Then, looking in the hard disk with Windows Explorer after choosing “show hidden files”, I can see the usual folders but nowhere those in Users that have the profiles so I can copy them to the new account. So, apparently, creating a new account has not gotten me very far.

      I do have another question: how does one “go in the bios” to set it to boot from a CD?

    • #336159 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Lets start back at the beginning. Are you trying to create an account actually named “Administrator”? That’s a reserved Windows account. Can you share what your old account name was? Can you post a screenshot of your C:\Users folder?

      This is Windows 7 correct? What is your computer brand and model?

    • #336379 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      Hello Oscar,

      I’m a bit late on this… but have you looked into trying Account Profile Fixer? It was in Deanna’s Freeware Spotlight, part of the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter of January 28th. It is the fourth article as you scroll down.

      I’ve had a similar problem before with my Windows 7… but this looks like a much easier way to fix things than what I went through.

      Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

      • #336618 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        Elly  ( #336379 ),

        Thanks for that tip! Given that I am now quite ready for a “here goes nothing” attempt, I am going to try that. This seems worth attempting, considering that the author of the article you have steered me to is someone that might know enough to be trusted. When I’m done, I’ll come back, via PC if successful, via Mac, if not, to report on the outcome.

        So: this is much easier than what you yourself once did? Now I must repeat, with even greater conviction: Elly, deny it as much as you like, you are a techie! (Well, at least comparing your tech savvy to my own, which is not really such a high bar to jump over.)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #339236 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      …Then… (3rd) Then I got the bad news: the message “Preparing your desktop” came up. Meaning: my user profile in that account was well and truly not available, corrupted, or who knows what….

      Hi OscarCP,

      The “Preparing your desktop” message was not a “bad news” message, and did not mean that your user account was either unavailable or corrupted. It might be corrupted now, given the other steps which you took. I see this message often when installing updates, and whenever I build up a new computer. I see this message especially more often when performing factory re-installations of Windows from the computer manufacturer’s recovery partition on the hard drive, during the OEM’s scripted re-installation sequence which not only re-installs Windows, but also installs all custom drivers and additionally installs their default programs (sometimes referred to as bloatware). The upshot is that the “Preparing your desktop” message is merely informative, and that you should always wait for this stage to complete.

      The experts here need to tell you how to create a new profile with administrator privileges, now to check your old profile to make sure that it is not corrupt, and then how to copy (migrate) your old profile to this new profile.

      Best regards,



      • #339239 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks, GTP. I have always waited for the “Preparing” stage to complete, and always ended in a “temporary” desktop where whatever I do will be lost when I log off, except for letting me copy all my data to an external disk, in a big final backup, which was a real blessing. So I rather would just let this go and move on to Linux. It will have to happen sooner or later, at the latest after next January, so this saves me the mental royal pain of having to make a decision then, accepting now that Fate has already made it for me… In the process I’ll probably replace the  7 1/2 year-old SATA HD for a new SST. I have explained the whys and wherefores of this at some length here: #338990

        A little fatalism is good for one’s mental health.

    • #343753 Reply

      Da Boss

      @Oscar, did you have any joy in recovering your Windows 7 profile?
      Have a read at this article (1/2 way down for Win7)

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

      • #343765 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        Microfix, ” … any joy in recovering your Windows 7 profile?

        Not really. At the moment, I have the PC setup for dual boot with Linux Mint. I am going to try booting up in Win 7 and running “sfc /scannow”, although I suspect that some of the checking for corrupted files that I did with CHKDSK and, or various repair utilities in Windows accessible through the Control Panel might already have used scannow.

        I fact, all those runs I’ve made with CHKDSK ( with options /F /R) and with those other utilities, invariably have returned that everything is perfectly right with both software and hardware. So my PC, when running Windows, is in perfect health, only three-quarters-dead.

        For now, I am no longer Win 7 Group B, but ex- Win7 Group B and Group (L&M) (Linux and macOS.) The Windows I can log in now in dual boot is still in its already described vegetative state, but alive enough to run “scannow” from the command line, as Administrator. Soon I’ll run “scannow”, and then we’ll see.

      • #343786 Reply

        Da Boss

        Can you boot into safe mode in win 7? have you tried to?
        F8 at start of PC choose ‘safemode’
        once in, type msconfig into the search box and click on msconfig then ‘disable all startup items’ from within the startup tab then [Apply] and restart PC.
        Don’t worry this is reversible as it’s in safe mode.
        This is just to see if a startup item is causing the issue.

        ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #344750 Reply

          AskWoody Plus


          I tried your advice to uncheck all items that launch at start up, but it did not make any difference. However, it was not completely wasted, because I then tried disabling services not originating from MS, HP (the PC’s OEM) or Intel. And that did the trick! Windows 7 is back to being completely alive after several weeks in suspended animation, with the message “Preparing your desktop” showing up every time I tried to login, and then landing the PC in a “provisional” and very basic desktop with very limited capabilities as to what I could do from there. For some reason, although stopping all those services was something that I had already tried when the problem first showed up weeks ago, it did not do any good then.

          This happens after, having gave up Windows as a fully functional system, I had installed Linux Mint in double boot with Win 7 in the PC…

          Now I would have to reinstall the Win 7 patches of January and February I deleted by, when attempting to solve the problem, I restored the system to its previous state as it was when I was mid-way installing the January patches.

          So I have a question: if I install, by mistake, something that is already installed, what happens?

          Group B Win 7 pro, SP1, x64, I-7 “sandy bridge” + L&M (Linux+Mac)

          • #344751 Reply

            Da Boss

            If you are asking about Windows patches, you won’t be able to install something that is already installed.

            • #344756 Reply

              AskWoody Plus

              PKCano, Does that mean that if I try to install  a Windows 7 patch already installed, a message comes up telling me the attempt has failed, and the patched already there will still be there as if nothing had happened? Thanks.

            • #344757 Reply

              Da Boss

              That is correct. Trying to install a patch that is already will result in a message of some kind, like “not needed” or “already installed.” It won’t hurt anything.

              But you can look in the list of installed patches (NOT update history) and see if it’s there or not so you don’t waste the time.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #344800 Reply

            Da Boss

            @oscarcp aha, you jumped the gun..that’s where I was going next 😉 startup services.
            Glad it’s sorted.

            ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

            • #344857 Reply


              And so the logical next step would seem to be to figure out which one of the now-stopped services is the culprit and then unregister or, if possible, uninstall that service, right? Is there a way besides a command line entry to unregister a service, and would doing so also “uninstall” it?

              Having followed this thread for a while, I would think the culprit is a service belonging to a program that @oscarcp uninstalled, but the uninstaller loused up and didn’t remove or unregister that service related to the program, but said service was needed upon starting Windows for the program to run. With no program tied to the service, Windows probably labeled the profile as corrupt and then gave Oscar the maddening temporary logins.

              But, if the above paragraph is probably the cause, then why didn’t it rear its ugly head until he installed the February Office 2010 updates (which mostly don’t require a reboot) along with February’s edition of MSRT?

              From what Oscar said in his initial post, he was offered KB3021917, which is definitely telemetry-related, but hid it, so that can’t be the culprit.

              Do you think it could be that he uninstalled a program or two before installing the Office patches and MSRT, but didn’t reboot between uninstalling the program(s) and using Windows Update, potentially causing the snafu?

              I would think it would be common for folks not to reboot after uninstalling a program unless they were told to reboot by the uninstaller in order for it to finish the uninstallation.



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