Sometimes in Windows when you log in, you will get this message: “Windows cannot load the user’s profile but has logged you on with the default profile for the system”. The cause of this message is one of the user specific files has become corrupted. Chances are good that user’s registry hive is corrupted. There are several hidden files in the folder c:\users\[username]\ folder (Windows Vista and later) or c:\documents and settings\[username]\ folder (Windows XP and earlier). Hereafter in this blog post we will call these directories [old user].

Chances are good you won’t be able to fix this problem.

  • Try System Restore first, but be sure to choose a restore point several days before the problem occurred.
  • If that does not work, try your backup next, if you have one.
  • If that does not work, then you will need to create a new user. Below are the steps you need to take to migrate to a new user.
  1. Create a new user and log in to that new user. Do not open any programs just yet. And do not delete your old profile until you are absolutely sure everything has been copied.
  2. Browse to the new user’s folders, c:\users\[new user]\ or c:\documents and settings\[new user]\, hereafter called just [new user].
  3. Copy all the non-hidden files and folders from [old user] to [new user].
  4. After that finishes, browse to [old user]\appdata\local\ (Windows Vista or later) or [old user]\local settings (Windows XP or earlier). If you want, you can copy everything from this folder to the corresponding folder in your new user profile. It probably is a good idea only to copy folders from Microsoft or programs you currently have installed.
  5. Next browse to [old user]\appdata\roaming\ or [old user]\local settings\application data\ and copy those folders to the corresponding folder in your new profile.
  6. Log off and then log back in.
  7. See if your settings transferred. You might have to set up your email again. And that means you will might need to Google the location of the old email files and how to import them.
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