Sean Feeney
Architect of the digital age

Recovering a Corrupt Windows 7 Profile

4 March 2011

This morning when I logged into Windows 7 all of my icons were blank. So I rebooted. This time when I logged in it was like I was a completely new user, and some things were broken (for example, Folder View Options list was completely blank). Corrupt profile, I figure. So here’s how I recovered:

  1. Since I was logged in as some TEMP profile (check: Go to My Documents. It’s blank. Now go to C:\Users\username\My Documents. It’s not blank. You’re not logged in as username even though you should be), and was a member of the local Administrators group, I went ahead and copied C:\Users\username to C:\username.
  2. Run regedit. Go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsNTCurrentVersionProfileList" and expand it. You’ll see several S-1-5-# keys under it. Go through each one, checking the value of “ProfileImagePath” to find username’s profile. When you find it, delete the entire S-1-5-# key.
  3. Reboot. Log in as username again. A new default profile will be created. When it’s done loading, log out.
  4. Log in as a local Administrator other than username. Copy C:\username back to C:\Users\username. Choose Yes to all merge and overwrite prompts. Choose Skip to any permission problem prompts (as long as you’re a local administrator it doesn’t matter).
  5. Next time the user logs in everything should be back to normal. Some shortcuts may have to be re-established (for me: Taskbar Toolbars), but the bulk of the profile is as it originally was before corruption.

via interworks

Posted in Microsoft, Windows 7

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