A temporary profile is loaded after you log on to a Windows Vista-based system

After you log on to a Windows Vista-based system, you may notice that a temporary profile has been loaded instead of the profile that corresponds to the current user. Therefore, any changes that you make to the current desktop are lost after you log off the system. Additionally, the notification area may display the following 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.

Finally, the following event is logged in the Application log:Log Name: Application
Source: Microsoft-Windows-User Profiles Service
Date: Date
Event ID: 1511
Task Category: None
Level: Warning
Keywords: Classic
User: User
Computer: Computer
Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile. Changes you make to this profile will be lost when you log off.

To resolve this problem, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to the system by using an administrative user account other than the user account that is experiencing the problem.
  2. Back up all data in the current user’s profile folder if the profile folder still exists, and then delete the profile folder. By default, the profile resides in the following location:
  3. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

    User Account Control permission If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.

  4. Locate the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  5. Under the ProfileList subkey, delete the subkey that is named SID.bak.Note SID is a placeholder for the security identifier (SID) of the user account that is experiencing the problem. The SID.bak subkey should contain a ProfileImagePath registry entry that points to the original profile folder of the user account that is experiencing the problem.
  6. Exit Registry Editor.
  7. Log off the system.
  8. Log on to the system again.

After you log on to the system, the profile folder is re-created.

Microsoft link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947242

2 thoughts on “A temporary profile is loaded after you log on to a Windows Vista-based system

  1. This applies only to Active Directory and New Roaming Profiles:

    I just ran into this exact same problem: after setting up the profile path in Active Directory, the user recieves an error that they are using a temporary profile. This ultimatly had to do with the “profile path” I had entered “\\sbserver\usershares\%username%”.

    The server will try to append and extension indicating the profile/windows version to the path, in my case it was “.V2” making the path “\\sbserver\usershares\john.V2”. Unfortunately, the user does not have permission to modify the “UserShares” folder so a temporary profile was used for that session. This can be resolved by adding a trailing backslash making the profile path a folder named “\\sbserver\usershares\john\.V2\”. To make thing more windows like, I ultimately made the profile path “\\sbserver\usershares\%username%\PROFILE” and windows translated this to “\\sbserver\usershares\john\PROFILE.V2”.

    This applies to existing roaming profile that started acting up:

    For roaming profiles that started acting up, you will be heading for more of an up hill battle: the profile can exist on multiple machines, and the server, and will replicate from machine to server to machine. You will want to rename the user profile folder on the server or current workstation as this is the current copy. From there, go to each and every workstation that has the profile in question log in, and rename it. Once the use logs in again, it will create a fresh new profile. Copy his documents, favorites, PSTs, and so on back into his new profile. Make sure to do this on all machines that have a copy of the profile, otherwise a login on the wrong machine could corrupt his profile again.

    Workgroup/standalone computers:

    This is usually due to a corrupt user profile, corrupt default profile, corrupt user account, file system, or windows problems. Start by renaming the profile and letting windows create a new profile. Copy back the users data. The second step is to rename the users profile directory, delete the user, create a new user, and copy the users data back.

    A fatally corrupted file system can be causing user profile issues. Run a check disk and retry the proceeding steps. If that fails, windows could be to blame. But always give web searches a good try before blowing away Windows.

    Shawn Zernik
    Internetwork Consulting

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