Sometimes Windows 7 OS may not read your correct user profile properly, instead, it will load with a temporary profile which will look like a new user profile. If you are not aware that it is a temporary profile on your Windows 7 laptop or desktop computer, then you will be surprised to see the brand new desktop without your files, folders, program shortcut icons, and any personalized settings. This step by step guide shows you how to fix the temporary profile issue on Windows 7 and Windows Vista too.
“You have been logged on with Temporary profile”– that’s the famous message from Windows 7 you would see when you have this issue. This guide has been updated with several other methods, more information, inputs, related links and the experience I had on this same issue in active directory domain and workgroup environment.
Why Windows 7 (& Vista) Loads with Temporary Profile?
Obviously, your profile (the files and folders located under C:\Users\user_name) is corrupted. There is another chance which is a delay in reading your profile files due to Antivirus scan or something else during boot up. Usually, after typing your username and password Windows tries to read and load your profile, if it gets corrupted or delays in reading, Windows will load with temp profile to give temporary access on the computer.
How to Fix Windows 7 Temp Issue on Workgroup and Domain Environment
Though the below steps mainly talk about Windows 7, it is applicable for Windows Vista also. If you face temp profile issues with your older Vista computer, follow the below steps.
1) Before do anything, restart the computer 2 or 3 times to see whether it’s going back to your old correct profile. Go to the next step if this doesn’t work.
2) Rename the temp profile registry and revert back the old registry settings for the correct profile. This method worked most of the time for me in Workgroup and domain environment.
a) Log in with temp profile.
b) Start registry editor by typing regedit in find box of Windows 7.
c) Navigate the following location.
d) You will see similar keys under the profile list, but one with .bak, as shown below.
e) The key with .bak is for the correct old profile. Currently, your Windows 7 computer logged in with fresh (temporary) profile with the same key. So, rename the new profile key (which is not having.bak) and remove .bak from correct profile key. See below.
f) That’s it. Log off and log in (or restart) with your user name and password. You must get your correct profile with icons and profile settings back in Windows 7/Vista if you are lucky enough.
Still if Windows 7 laptop loads with the temporary profile and creates a registry key with .bak, that means user profile is corrupted badly and the Operating System is not reading it properly.
3) Few times this method worked for me, repair the corrupted files. Usually, the corrupted ‘Ntuser’ files cause this issue. So, run the check disk for partition which is having the user profile.
After restarting the computer to run check disk, if you see corrupted entries and repairing process inside your user profile folder, then you can hope for good news here. If it finds and repairs any files especially Ntuser files, you may get your old Windows 7 profile back.
If the above steps do not help you out, then we need to create a new profile with the new username.
Create a New User Account
Basically, we need to create a new user account, login with it and transfer the data from the old user profile to the new user profile. It is easy in workgroup environment as you can create a new username locally, but it is tricky in the domain environment. Because, the existing user account is already there on the domain server and nothing wrong with it. Also, creating a new different domain user account will cause issues on corporate emails, domain groups membership and shared permissions.
So, we need to treat both cases separately.
4) Create a new username in the non-domain (workgroup environment) from the control panel or computer management. Make sure to add the new user to the administrators group.
Login with new user name and start copying your old data from old profile. I normally copy below data,
a) My Documents (Music, videos and downloads)
d) Any outlook PST files (find more information about the location of PST files here)
But Microsoft suggests to copy the entire old user profile (except 3 files) as shown in this official site link.
5) New user profile in the domain environment.
Since we can’t delete and create the new domain user account for this purpose, we will play around with client computer only. Let’s completely remove the user profile and re create again.
Copy the important user data (a to d in above step 4) or entire folders from corrupted profile to new location. Double-check that you have copied all required folders and files from old profile, because we are going to delete it now.
Go to Advanced settings of System as shown below, click on Settings (user profiles), select the corrupted user profile which is not loading properly in Windows 7, then press the Delete button. Delete button will be enabled only if you login with the different user account.
This will remove the entire user profile and related user SID from the computer including the registry keys we talked earlier. You can cross check the proper removal of user account (SID) by checking the C:\Users folder. Once it is remove properly, restart the computer and login with the same username (which was not loading earlier). The computer should create a new user profile like the first time the user is logging on. You need to copy back your old important data to new profile and set email outlook clients etc..if required.
I hope these tips help to fix a temporary profile issue on Windows 7 and Vista.