How to Fix Temporary Profile in Windows 7/ 8.1 (Windows 10 too)

Sometimes Windows 7 or Win 8 OS will not read the user profile properly, therefore, it will load with a temporary profile which will look like a brand new user profile. If you are not aware that it is a temporary profile on your Windows laptop or desktop computer, then you will be surprised to see the brand new desktop without your files, folders, program shortcut icons, and personalized settings. This step by step guide shows you how to fix the temporary profile issue on Windows 7/8.1/10 and Windows Vista too.

“You have been logged on with Temporary profile”– that’s the famous message from Windows 7 you will see when you have this issue. This guide has been updated with several methods, more information, inputs, related links and the experience I had on this same issue in a domain and workgroup environment.

Temp Profile

Why Does Windows 7/8.1 (& Vista) Load with a 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 delayed in reading, Windows will load with a temp profile to give temporary access on the computer.

Temporary Profile Issue on Windows 10 and 8.1

It is rare that Windows 10 or 8.1 computers load with the tempory profile. These Operating Systems handle this issue better than older Windows 7. With the all latest Windows updates and good computer hardware, I doubt you will be facing this issue on the latest Operating Systems. In case, if you face the same temp profile issue on Windows 10 or 8.1, you can follow the same below steps. The registry modification should fix the problem easily.

How to Fix Windows 7 Temp Issue on Workgroup and Domain Environment

The below screenshots taken from mixed of Operating Systems, still valid for all desktop Windows OS.

1) Before doing 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.

Registry Modification

2) Rename the temp profile registry and revert back the old registry settings for the correct profile. Most probably this method will fix the problem.

a)      Log in to the computer with temp profile.
b)      Start the registry editor by typing regedit in find box of Windows 7/8.1 or Windows 10.
c)      Navigate the following location.

Fix Temporary Profile in Windows 7

d)      You will see similar keys under the profile list, but one with .bak, as shown below.

Fix Temporary Profile in Windows 7

e)      The key with .bak is your correct old user profile. Currently, your Windows 7/8.1 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.

Registry Key Windows 8 Temp Profile Thumb
Fix Temporary Profile in Windows 7

f)      That’s it. Log off and login (or restart) with your user name and password. You must get your correct profile with icons and profile settings back in Windows 7 if you are lucky enough.

Still if Windows 7 laptop loads with the temporary profile and creates a registry key with .bak, that means the 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.

Windows 7 check disk

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 a piece of good news here. If it finds and repairs files especially Ntuser files, you may get your old Windows 7 profile back.

Repair Disk on Windows 8.1/10

Even though Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 does the disk error checking automatically as part of ‘Automatic Maintenance’, still you can run it manually when you face this temp profile issue. If any system files corruption found, that will be fixed during the scan.

a) Right-click on C drive, Tools and Error checking.

Temporary Profile Windows 8 - error checking

b) The recommended way to find and replace corrupted files in Windows 8 and 8.1 is running ‘SFC’ scan.

Start the command prompt as administrator like shown below (search for cmd, right-click and select ‘Run as administrator’)

run as admin command prompt

Type sfc /scannow and press enter to start the process. You may need to have Windows installation DVD with you for this process, it is required to replace corrupted files from the original installation medium.

sfc scan in windows 8 to fix Temporary Profile Windows 8

Restart the PC after repairing/replacing corrupted files (if found), possibly this could fix the issue.

Try System Restore

System restore is another solution you can try before going to the next step. As system restore does not affect the user files, it will put back the system state (with the changes in the system) to a certain date when it worked perfectly.

Few users reported this method as a solution for temporary profile loading issue on Windows 8.1/10 and Win 7 computers.

Also, you can try a system restore or re-installation (repair) of whole Windows 8 Operating System if none of the steps work for you.

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 a workgroup (home and individual PCs) 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.

added to admin

Login with the new user name and start copying your old data from the old profile. I normally copy below data,

a) My Documents (Music, videos and downloads)
b) Desktop
c) Favorites
d) Any outlook PST files (find more information about the location of PST files here)

But Microsoft suggests copying 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 recreate again.

Copy the important user data (a to d in above step 4) or entire folders from corrupted profile to new location (like D drive or different folder in C drive), double-check that you have copied all required folders and files from old profile because we are going to delete the original folder 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. The delete button will be enabled only if you login with the different user account.

select the profile and remove

This will remove the entire user profile and related user SID from the computer including the registry keys we talked about earlier. You can cross-check the proper removal of a user account (SID) by checking the C:\Users folder. Once it is removed properly, restart the computer and log in 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 the new profile and set email outlook clients etc..if required.

I’m sure one of the above steps will fix the temporary profile issue on the Windows computer. Do let us know which one worked for you.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

85 thoughts on “How to Fix Temporary Profile in Windows 7/ 8.1 (Windows 10 too)”

  1. Did exactly this, however the system simply created a third profile at logon and renamed the correct one to .bak again, now I have a *.new, a *.bak, and the new temporary one. I have tried everything, still cant get out of this temporary logon. Strange thing is, here is no apparent reason for it, computer has been fine till I switched it on this Morning, and Ive been in a temporary profile ever since…aaaaarggghh!!!!

      • Johnathan, I eventually bit the bullet, and accessed all the information from the original profile through the temp one, backed it all up to an external drive, then formatted and did a full clean install. At least I didnt lose anything, but it was a royal pain in the ass.

        • I was able to fix this problem recently with a domain joined computer. I simply deleted that registry entry (had his documents backed up to an external drive). Logged off from the admin account, logged in as his user, voila no temp profile message. For verification I saved a few files, ran some stuff and shutdown the machine. Logged back in and everything was fine.

          Reformatting should be a last resort to these issues, sorry you had to go through it 🙁

          • My problem is a little differnet, now when you logon as some users we get a temp profile issue, but when we get to the registry there is no .bak profile, has someone there encountered this issue? Do you have a solution?
            Tks for your help!

          • in my first profile i dont have any pw and now it is necesary a user name and pw …what i have to write …i dont know it i dont had any pw pls help me ty

        • I’m having d same problem but I don’t know to get my informations at d original profile through the temp. One can u help plz ?

    • Instead of renaming the *.bak, simply delete it. Then logoff & login again. It should be fine. I have done it on two diff occasions. Worked fine for me.

      • this worked for me, thank you for posting this! and thanks to the original uploader also.

        thanks all 😛

  2. This does not permanently solve the problem. My system continues to log into temporary profile. This occurs regularly when switching users.

    • The user name should be the same with your user folder. In “non .bak” one, you should correct the “ProfileImagePath”.

      For example if your username is “Jack”, “ProfileImagePath” Should be “C:\Users\Jack”.

  3. I belive I figured this out. I wish Microsoft would add this info the their KB about this issue. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947215

    The fix is:
    1. Login using another local administrator account. (Make one if there isnt another).
    2. Remove the corrupted user from Users in control panel.
    3. Move the corresponding folder from the Documents and Settings (XP) or Users folder (Vista and Windows7) to the desktop of the newly created admin user’s desktop.
    4. Open regedit and navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList Find the key on the left that corresponds to the corrupted profile. Note the value of the string on the right called GUID. Delete all keys that list the corrupt user profile (.bak versions and regular).
    5. THIS IS THE STEP THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDED TO KB:
    Go up a few lines in regedit to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileGuid.
    6. Delete the key (keys?) within this ProfileGuid folder that match the value of the GUID string that you noted above.
    7. Restart PC
    8. Login as the temporarily created admin profile. Go to control panel and recreate the corrupted profile. (Make it an administrator at least temporarily so you’ll be able to access the files we moved to the other admin’s desktop if needed).
    9. Logout and login as fixed user.
    10. Copy any files from the temp admin’s desktop where we copied the corrupted profiles data, into the appropriate places in the fixed profile. This includes My Documents,Favorites, Outlook data, and any other user data you need.
    11. Once everything is working properly, you can remove the temp admin from control panel> Users and delete its folder.

    MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL OF THE DATA YOU NEED BEFORE REMOVING THE TEMP ADMIN.

    GL!
    9. Logout and login as recreated user.
    10.

    • @Michael Belsky,
      Thanks for the good information.
      ProfileGuid is new to me and I think it will fix the issue permanently since several users reported this method did not work for them. I will check your steps and update this post accordingly. Thanks again for your valuable information. I don’t think Microsoft will change their KB, but I will.

      • Thank you for this tutorial.

        I just would like to know why my regedit doesnt have this HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileGuid folder… and same way GUID string in …..\CurrentVersion\ProfileList folder is missing.. so I cant complete all the procedure in this guide.

        I attach a image where you can see it: http://i55.tinypic.com/8zifr8.jpg

        Thank you so much in advance.

        Joe

    • Thanks Michael,

      Your tutorial helps fixing the issue. This is much simplier under the client/domain user since i do not have to save my client doc. All I have to do is to delete the client’s profile and then go to the registry keys and follow your tutorial.

      Regards,

    • I removed all the ProfileList Users and logged back in. I can recreate a local user profile but not one for my domain. So now I can at least log into the workstation without the error message but I still have the same problem when logging into the network. I am running SBS2008R2 on the backend with ADDS. HELP!!!!

    • Yes, this is what did it for me as well, but since my client is in a domain, removing from Control Panel wasn’t necessary, just deleting the keys with the problem user’s SID under ProfileList key.

  4. I have this issue but i cannot delete the registry keys. It just says cannot delete them, unable to do this is safe mode either.

    Any ideas? I think i may just reinstall from scratch….

  5. When logged in with the temporary profile it will not let you create another profile. So while MBs fix may work I can’t get there from here.

  6. My PC created a Locked Temp folder in the Users Folder. I went to the registry to try some of your suggestions. What solve the problem for me is…. Navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and change the profileimagepath in your profile key to the desired folder.

  7. This only worked for me when I removed all references to the GUID from the registry, but thanks for this information as it pointed me in the right direction.

  8. ,-) Lovely Thank you for the information beautifully made! Just do not reveal ones own hassles to your collegues…20% tend not to care at all plus the additional 80% are generally glad you suffer from them.

  9. Thank you Michael Belsky!
    You saved my machine… I was just about to re-image the machine, because I was getting frustrated with the temporary profile thingy.

  10. How do I create a new .bak key. I deleted .bak from the key name and deleted the corrupt key. However, now there is no .bak key. I would be in serious trouble if this happens again.

  11. Thank you for this tutorial.

    I just would like to know why my regedit doesnt have this HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileGuid folder… and same way GUID string in …..\CurrentVersion\ProfileList folder is missing.. so I cant complete all the procedure in this guide.

    I attach a image where you can see it: http://i55.tinypic.com/8zifr8.jpg

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Joe

  12. This does’nt work at all.

    As u dont have the permission to change ur own profile, and gives some error.

  13. It is better to take the backup of the profile and then login through admin and delete the profile form the path given and then login.

    this will create a new profile.

    (BUT DATA BACKUP IS COMPALSORY.)

  14. Thank you!! When I first turned on and found all my icons and most of my programs were gone, I almost went insane. But it’s fixed now and I don’t have to reload all my iTunes music.

    Thanks again

  15. This won’t work for me. An error message pops up that says “Error renaming key.” How can I fix that?

  16. Fantastic fix, thank you. I had the temp account problem for a domain account for our company’s MD who couldnt get into his laptop. I logged in as domain admin account, ignored step 2 with it being a domain and not a local account. The regedit bits worked a treat,really saved the day for me, much appreciated.

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