User Profile Error - Logged on with a Temporary Profile

When you log on to Vista using a temporary profile (user account), and you receive this error message:
Your user profile was not loaded correctly! You have been logged on with a temporary profile.
How to Fix the Error "Your user profile was not loaded correctly! You have been logged on with a temporary profile." in Vista and Windows 7

information   Information
A user profile is a collection of settings that make the computer look and work the way you want it to for a user account. It contains the account's settings for desktop backgrounds, screen savers, pointer preferences, sound settings, and other features. User profiles ensure that your personal preferences are used whenever you sign in to Windows.

A user profile is different from a user account, which you use to sign in to Windows. Each user account has at least one user profile associated with it.

When you log on to Vista using a temporary profile (user account), and you receive this error message:

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.

For more information, see:
A temporary profile is loaded after you log on to a Windows Vista-based system

Tip   Tip
This problem usually occurs if the current user's profile was accidentally deleted from the system or got corrupted.
warning   Warning
If you have this error message below instead, then see: How to Fix the Error "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded."

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

EXAMPLE: Error Message in Windows 7

Log On to the Computer as an Administrator
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 the STEP TWO section below.

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 the STEP TWO section below.​

2. To Boot into Safe Mode for 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 2C.​
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 the STEP TWO section below.​

3. To Enable the Built-in Administrator account at Boot
B) When enabled, log in to the built-in Administrator account, and go to the STEP TWO section below for what you would like to do​

Delete the User Account Profile's SID Key

1. Backup anything that you do not want to lose in this user account's C:\Users\(user-name) profile folder, if the profile folder still exists, to another location, then delete the (user-name) profile folder.​
2. Open the Start menu.​
3. In the Start Menu search box, type regedit and press Enter.​
4. If prompted by UAC, then click on Continue (Vista) or Yes (Windows 7).​
5. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below step 7)​
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. (See screenshot below step 7)​
NOTE: It should 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.​

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 from step 6, 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.​

8. Right click on the SID key, from step 6 with bak at the end, and click on Delete. (see screenshot above)​
9. Click on Yes to confirm deletion. (See screenshot below)​

10. If there is another SID key with the exact same long number from step 6 for this user account without bak at the end, repeat step 7 first, then right click on this same SID key, and click on Delete. (see screenshot below step 7)​
11. Click on Yes to confirm deletion. (See screenshot below step 9)​
12. Close regedit.​
13. Log off and log on.​
Note   Note
After you log on to the computer, the profile folder you are having problems with is re-created. If not, then try a System Restore using a restore point dated before you got this error. If this still does not help, then you will need to create a new account and restore the user folder files from the backup created at step 1.

That's it,



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New Member
Hello, I was going to enquire about the Temporary Account thing. The story~

Me and my friend were at home and I was playing loud music. The laptop froze and the music froze with it, stuck on that loud grating noise. So I did what I normally do; held down the power off button until it turned off.

When my computer freezes and does this I always turn it off that way, and that's fine. I turn it back on next time I want it, Start Windows Normally and it's fine! This time though I got home later and I turned it on, only it did everything it wasn't supposed to. Took an abnormal time loading, went onto "loading personalized settings" and then when the desktop finally loaded, none of my personal icons were on it. Then the info box came up saying about the Temporary Account.

I know it was a long time that you made that solution page, but I was wondering, if I do everything that it tells me to, will it recover all of my files? (Photos, Music, Word Documents - I'm an avid writer) Or will it lose them forever? I'm really eager to get all of my files back; I had stories on there 20 pages long. Even if they just come back long enough for me to put them on a memory stick.

Many thanks, Jodie.


Staff member
Hello Jodie, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Try doing a system restore (at boot if needed) using a restore point dated before this happened first to see if it may be able to fix this for you.

If not, then you shouldn't lose anything as long as you make backups where stated in the tutorial to just be extra safe. :)


Hi. This is my first post. I am using Vista Home Premium 32bit.

Earlier today I was playing a game and my computer abruptly shut down. I did not know what caused this and turned it back on. When I tried to log into my account (my only account), I was presented with this "The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded." So, I went to this topic I tried system restore, but, curiously, my computer did not have any previous points. I distinctly remember using system restore before.

Since I could not try system restore I proceded to boot up safe mode. When I ran safe mode with my account, I was presented with this "Your user profile was not loaded correctly! You have been logged on with a temporary profile." So, I was directed to this topic. I have been able to enable the built in administrator, so it now appears alongside my account on the login screen.

The problem is that I need to get into safe mode on the built in administrator account but when I run safe mode with Administrator I also get "Your user profile was not loaded correctly! You have been logged on with a temporary profile." Because of this, I am unable to continue past step one.

I'm not sure if I am following the guide incorrectly or just being technology illiterate, but I want to try to fix this problem without losing everything. Any help would appreciated.



I've tried OPTION ONE despite the temporary account. I only had one S-1-5 so I renamed it to remove the .bak. I modified Refcount and State to 0. Despite this, I still could not log on. I haven't tried OPTION TWO yet.


Staff member
Are you able to create a new administrator account that you could log on to use instead without getting the user profile error?

If so, you could just use the instructions at the tutorial below to copy the contents of your account to the new account to have it like it was before in the new account.

Fix a corrupted user profile


I'm trying to create a new account. I went to control panel and opened user accounts. When I click "Manage another account", nothing happens. I'm not prompted for anything either.


Staff member

If you have a retail copy of Vista, you could do a custom install of Vista. This will give you a clean install of Vista with a complete copy of your current installation placed in the C:\Windows.old folder during the custom install. After the installation is finished, you can copy anything from within the C:\Windows.old folder back into the new installation.

You will have to reinstall all drivers and programs, but you should not lose anything else.


I did a custom install. I checked the window.old folder but the things in there only reflected what I could access when I was using a temp account. The things that were in my C drive were there but I did not see my files from my original account.

I did the custom install from the built in administrator temp account. Are my files still there? Is there anyway to access them if they are?


Staff member
Check to see if you have a C:\$INPLACE.~TR and/or C:\WINDOWS.~Q folders that may also contain files from your previous installation.


Staff member
That's not sounding good. Check to make sure that you have Show hidden files and folders selected and Hide protected operating system files unchecked in Folder Options to see if they may be hidden.

I'm afraid that the files may be gone if not. :(


Yeah. I tried seeing if they were hidden but to no avail. Well, if this the end of the line, I thank you for all your help Brink. I appreciate you bearing with me for these past few days. My problems must have jumped all over the place. The funny thing is that I was planning on backing up everything on my computer this past weekend.

On an unrelated note, my HD was close to full before the custom install. The majority was everything I lost. The windows.old doesn't come anywhere close to the max space on my HD. Do you have any idea why my computer still shows my C drive as being close to full?


New Member

I had that problem yesterday in my Win7 Home Premium 64bit.
Than i logged out and try to log in with Administrator User but it wasn't possible.

So i search where my mains folders were and i just move them to that Temp user. The problem was that i cut them instead of copy.

Next time i log on it goes without problems and my folders weren't there.

I found the "TEMP" user but those folders were not there. I catched only one of those but was empty.

I've doing the step 1 and restart the computer but nothing changes. I don't have the .bak extension file that shows in that tutorial... But i don't have win7 backup ON so it will be impossible to have back those folders from TEMP user.

Can you comment please?


Staff member
Hello Braga, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You might see if doing a repair install may be able to help. Be sure to backup what you do not want to lose first to be safe.


New Member
ok here is my problem and i hope someone can help me out. I got the same message "user profile not loaded properly" i went into the C drive and checked users, it is not there. i tried safe mode, still not there. I tried the steps with the registry files, it would not let me delete the file and I couldn't find a file that had a ".bak" extension. My D drive ( where all my files are) is fine. my documents (music, picture, and docs are gone) if i search for itunes it located it on the C drive under users ( in my profile) but then when i click on it, it tells me i dont have access. My main concern is trying to get my music, anything else i can manage without. Any advice is much appreciated! thanks.


Staff member
Hello Nshabib, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Did you try step 2 in the STEP ONE section to try and enable the built-in Administrator account while in Safe Mode?

If you are able to do this, you may be able to backup anything that you do not want to lose.

Hope this helps,