The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

ByLine
How to Fix the Error "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded."
Synopsis
This will show you how to fix the error :
The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.
How to Fix the Error "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded."

information   Information
When you log on to Vista or Windows 7 using a temporary profile (user account), you receive this error message:

The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

For more information, see:
Error message when you log on to a Windows Vista-based or Windows 7-based computer by using a temporary profile: "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded"
Note   Note
CAUSE:

The jury is still out on the exact cause, but so far :
  • This issue may occur if the user profile was manually deleted by using the command prompt or Windows Explorer by a user or by some program. A profile that is manually deleted does not remove the security identifier (SID) from the user profile list in the registry. Since the SID is still present, Vista will still try to load the profile by using the ProfileImagePath that points to a nonexistent path. Therefore, the profile cannot be loaded.
  • This can also be a issue with the user profile entering into a backup state.
  • Manually renaming the C:\Users\(User Name) user profile folder.
warning   Warning
If you have this error message below instead, then see: How to Fix the Error "Your user profile was not loaded correctly! You have been logged on with a temporary profile." in Vista

Your user profile was not loaded correctly! You have been logged on with a temporary profile.

Changes you make to this profile will be lost when you log off. Please see the event log for details or contact your administrator.

Tip   Tip
If the steps in the tutorial below do not help or you wish to try this first, then:




STEP ONE
Log on to the Computer
warning   Warning
You must be logged on to an administrator account using either step 1 or 2 below before you can move on to do either the OPTION ONE or OPTION TWO sections.

1. To Log on to another Administrator account.
NOTE: If you do not have another Administrator account, then proceed to step 2.​
A) Go to OPTION ONE or OPTION TWO.​

OR
2. To Boot into Safe Mode and Use the built-in Administrator account
NOTE: You may not need to enable the built-in Administrator account. If this was the only normal administrator account you had, then Safe Mode should automatically boot into the built-in Administrator account.​
Tip   Tip
If you cannot boot into Windows and do not have a Windows installation DVD, then you can create and use the boot disc below to boot into Safe Mode with instead.
Tip   Tip

Windows 7: (Option Two at link)
Vista: (Option One at link)

A) Boot into Safe Mode (in Vista) or Safe Mode (in Windows 7).​
B) If Safe Mode did not boot into the built-in Administrator account, then enable the built-in Administrator account. If it did, then go to step 2D.​
C) Log off in Safe Mode, and then log on to the built-in Administrator account to logon with that account in Safe Mode.​
D) Go to OPTION ONE or OPTION TWO.​




OPTION ONE
To Fix the User Account Profile

1. Open the Start menu.​
2. In the white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.​
3. If prompted by UAC, either click on Continue (Vista) or Yes (Windows 7).​
4. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below step 5)​
Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
5. In the left pane, look for the S-1-5..... folder (SID key) with the long number that has .bak at the end of the numbers.​
(See screenshots below steps 6A and 7B)​
NOTE:
A) In the right pane, look at the ProfileImagePath to verify that this is the user account profile that has the error.​
B) You may have another S-1-5..... folder (SID key) above it with the exact same number without the .bak at the end of it.​
6. If you have Two S-1-5..... folders (SID key) with the same Number
NOTE: This is if you have two S-1-5..... folders (SID key) with the exact same numbers, but the second (below) one has the .bak at the end of the numbers.​
A) In the left pane, right click on the first (top) S-1-5..... folder (SID key) that does not have .bak at the end of the numbers and click Rename. (See screenshot below)​
Repair.jpg

B) Add .bk to the end of the numbers. (See screenshot below)​
Repair_bk.jpg

C) In the left pane, right click on the second S-1-5..... folder (SID key) with .bak at the end of the numbers and click Rename. (See screenshot above)​
D) Remove only .bak from the end of the numbers and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​
E) Now go back and Rename the first one with .bk to .bak now at the end of the numbers and press Enter.​
Repar_bak.jpg

F) Go to step 8.​

7. If you have Only One S-1-5..... Folder (SID key) with .bak
NOTE: This is if you only have one S-1-5..... folder (SID key) for your user account with .bak at the end of the numbers.​
A) In the left pane, right click on the S-1-5..... folder (SID key) with .bak at the end of the numbers and click Rename. (See screenshot below)​
B) Remove only .bak at the end of the numbers and press Enter. (See screenshot below and below step 10)​
Repair_Reg2.jpg


8. In the right pane of the one without .bak now, right click on RefCount and click on Modify. (See screenshot below step 10)​
NOTE: If you do not have RefCount, then right click on a empty space in the right pane and click New and DWORD (32 bit) Value, then type RefCount and press Enter. This value for this entry will reset and return back to the original value after you have restarted the computer and logged on to the account.​
A) Type 0 (number) and click on OK. (See screenshot below)​
Modify_RefCount.jpg


9. In the right pane of the one without .bak now, right click on State and click on Modify. (See screenshot below step 10)​
NOTE: This value for this entry will reset and return back to the original value after you have restarted the computer and logged on to the account.​
A) Type 0 (number) and click on OK. (See screenshot below)​
Modify_State.jpg


10. The registry will now look like this for the one without .bak now. (See screenshot below)​
Repair_Reg2.jpg

11. Close regedit.​
12. Restart the computer.​
13. See if you can logon now.​
NOTE: If this still does not help, then either try OPTION TWO below or see the yellow TIP box at the top of the tutorial.​



OPTION TWO
To Delete the User Account and Create Another One

warning   Warning
You can do this option if you do not care about losing the user account and the contents in the user folders. Your programs will still be installed, but you will need to create new shortcuts for them afterwards.

1. Delete the User account profile that this error is for.​
2. Open the Start menu.​
3. In the white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.​
4. If prompted by UAC, click on Continue (Vista) or Yes (Windows 7).​
5. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below step 7)​
Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
6. In the left pane, click on one of the S-1-5..... folders (SID key) with the long number in it.​
NOTE: It may have .bak at the end of it.​
A) In the right pane, look at the ProfileImagePath to see if this is the same user account that you deleted in step 1 above.​
B) Repeat step 6 until you find the one that you deleted in step 1 above.​
NOTE: If the user account is not here, then it has already been removed when deleted in step 1. Go to step 9.​

7. To Backup the Registry SID Key
WARNING: You should backup this SID key to be safe in case you delete the wrong one in step 8 below.​
A) Right click on the SID key, and click on Export.​
B) Type in a name and save the REG file to a safe location.​
NOTE: This is your backup. To Restore the Backup, right click on the REG backup file and click on Merge.​
C) Continue on to step 8.​
SID_Reg.jpg


8. To Delete the Registry SID Key
A) Right click on the SID key, and click on Delete. (See screenshot above)​
B) Click on Yes to confirm deletion. (See screenshot below)​
Confirm.jpg


9. Close regedit.​
10. Now, just create a new normal Administrator account.​
11. Restart the computer, and log on to your new account.​
NOTE: If this still does not help, then either try OPTION ONE above or see the yellow TIP box at the top of the tutorial.​
That's it,
Shawn




 
Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink

Comments

Brink, your awesome. Today was the first time since I have had vista that I got that message. Yes, there was panic in my voice, but I logged on to my wifes admin account, followed the instructions, and whamo, I am all set. Thanks for making my day!
 
Hi, I am really hoping someone can help. I followed all instructions in the post, including deleting the BAK. When I re-started though, another even though it said I was logging in as the user profile I have been trying to gain access to, it looked identical to the other user profile on the machine, meaning I still don't have access to all of my files in the user profile I most commonly used. I went back and read steps and realized I did not delete the period before BAK. When I tried to go back and do that now, it says there is already something named that. Can anyone help? I also tried System Restore to a point before the problem and that didn't work. :cry:
 
what do you mean factory reset?
Hello other one, and welcome to Vista Forums.

A factory recovery would be reinstalling Vista back to factory conditions.

I would recommend trying to fix it using a method in the tutorial instead if able. Be sure to read all of the tutorial for all available options.
 
Hi, I am really hoping someone can help. I followed all instructions in the post, including deleting the BAK. When I re-started though, another even though it said I was logging in as the user profile I have been trying to gain access to, it looked identical to the other user profile on the machine, meaning I still don't have access to all of my files in the user profile I most commonly used. I went back and read steps and realized I did not delete the period before BAK. When I tried to go back and do that now, it says there is already something named that. Can anyone help? I also tried System Restore to a point before the problem and that didn't work. :cry:
Hello mindileah, and welcome to Vista Forums.

That's ok. You're getting this error since you are trying to rename the missed period one to a name that already exists. You'll need to rename the other one that already exists named that first before it will let you rename the one with the missed period.

Hope this helps, :)
Shawn
 
Hi,
I followed Option One - Fix User Account Profile - of this tutorial and it solved my problem!!
I encountered the "User Profile Service Failed" error after the July 2013 Windows update.
I tried using a restore point first. That did not work.
There were about 20 updates . I don't know which one caused the problem
Thanks to Brink for the expert help in this tutorial.
Frank C
 
Hi,

I encountered the "User Profile Service Failed" error after the July 2013 Windows update.
I tried using a restore point first. That did not work.
There were about 20 updates . I don't know which one caused the problem

Frank C
Hi Frank, I think this unfortunately got glossed over due to it being VISTA. I know the problem existed prior to this going by the 2008 thread and 100+ pages. A relative of mine began experiencing this problem this summer as well.

System restores after creating a dummy second administrator account had worked up to TODAY.... but I wish I had seen your post earlier. It would have been far better for me to have deleted all her updates from that time and tried them 1 @ a time.
 
DA1745,
I am not sure that I understand what your resolution was. Was it removing updates or following Brink's steps to a fix - "Option One - Fix User Account Profile".
If you find a resolution to a computer problem written by Brink you will not find any better solution.
Frank C
 
Question about the fix for the "User Profile Service failed the logon" error.
Does the computer need to be in safe mode when going into regedit?

What is the next step when I can not rename the .bak folder and I cannot rename the other folder without the .bak and an error is given? This was attempted while under another user profile.
 
Hello flashnitro, and welcome to Vista Forums.

No. You would need to be logged in to an administrator account in either normal or safe mode to be able to do the tutorial.

Was that an access error by chance? If so, then it's because you are not logged in as an administrator.

Hope this helps for now, :)
Shawn
 
Seeing this issue on a Windows Server 2008 R2 box. The user who is getting this has never logged onto the server. There are no S-1-5 SID entries in the registry for this user and no .bak entries or duplicates.
Any other solutions apart from running a system repair? This is a live production box so avoiding any downtime would be ideal.
 
Hello pupajoN, and welcome to Vista Forums.

If you haven't already tried, you might see if creating the user a new account to see if it may work instead. If so, you could just delete the old one.

Hope this helps, :)
Shawn
 
Hello there, i have the same problem (profile user could not be loaded) but i cannot find a solution.
This is my father's vista-32bit laptop. There are 3 profiles. 1 administrator, 1 standar and the guest one. I returned to my family for Christmas and i tried to use my father's pc. I noticed that the 2 profiles were able to log on but the guest's one. I tried many things, googled everything but nothing helped me enough to fix the issue. It seems that when i create new profiles, i cannot log on to them. The only profiles that work are the administrator's and the standar one. Every new profile wont load. I cannot use a system restore cause i dont know when the issue started. I have tried deleting programs that occur this problem such us Spybot. I have tried repairing the regisrty, i have tried cmd: sfc /scannnow and repair. The main answer on the internet is this post and the microsoft's one. Well i have a problem with this solution (follow the path to regedit and find the profile user in the profileList and fix it) because i cant find the file of the new user i create. The file of the user will be created there when i log on for the first time. I cannot log on, on every new user profile i create so i cannot find these ".bak" files in the registry.
How can i solve my issue?
 
First-off, the regedit option worked just fine here, thank you! This is the second time I've had the issue in as many months & this has been the cure.

One side-effect happened this time though that's worth asking about. The first time the .bak one had both the Static and other item available already (all I did was set value to 0), but this time around the .bak had neither, so I added both. The side-effect is: the first time no settings were affected (desktop, themes, etc.), however, this time all personal settings were essentially wiped clean (almost no icons on desktop, task bar, or start menu; and my user's documents folder on the start menu now references an empty folder, instead of C:\Users\[Username]). I noticed that the one that's Not .bak now was referenced to a Temp folder somewhere whereas the new .bak isn't, would that be the issue? If so, where should I change it to?
EDIT: I just noticed that the settings wipe involved ALL programs using my admin profile, not just system settings. Also, note to self, change the "ProfileImagePath" to "C:\Users\[DesiredUsername]" to avoid misplaced settings.

Also, my laptop seems to be starting this as a recurring problem, any thoughts on how to find what is causing it? I use IObit's Advanced System Care & Malware Fighter. Both seem to work fine because they've been used for a good long while before this issue, but I don't use anything else that works with the registry and I avoid tampering with it unless I'm using step-by-step instructions.

Patrick.
P.S. The settings wipe wouldn't be a big deal except the fact that this is becoming a quarterly or monthly issue. :-/
 
Last edited:
Hello Patrick, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Since this is happening more and more often, I would recommend to back up anything that you do not want to lose, and reinstall Vista to clear the corruption and have a fresh start. :(
 
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