By Ivy / Last update April 23, 2021

Learn what cuases a corrupted user profile and then fix it with given solutions:

What causes a corrupt user profile in Windows?

When you type your password and press Enter at the Windows log-on screen, you may receive an error message like ‚ÄúThe user profile service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.‚ÄĚ If you receive this error message, that's to say, the user profile is corrupted or damaged. And this error may happen in all the Windows system, such as, Windows 7 or¬† Windows 10.

User Profile Cannot Be Loaded

Then, what causes a corrupt user profiles in Windows 7/8/10? Here are common causes listed below. 

  • Failed Windows Update or Automatic Updates.¬† Usually, the process includes critical system files upgrade, especially service pack installation, which will update the user profiles. If it fails, the user profiles cannot be loaded properly.

  • ¬†Damaged hard drive file system due to¬†write errors, power outages or virus attacks.

  • Other causes, such as,¬†hardware problem like bad memory or hard drive failure,¬†force shutdown, malware infection, etc.

How do I fix a corrupted user profiles? Restart your computer

Windows 7 user profile cannot be loaded for a number of reasons, the simplest one is that you shut down the computer forcefully or your computer is infected with malware.

Thus, when you receive the error ‚ÄúThe user profile service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded‚ÄĚ, the first is to restart your computer and then check if your computer has malware.

If this is not the reason why you receive this error message, you can try to create a new user account for Windows 7 or fix corrupt default user profile in Windows 7 via Registry in safe mode.

How do I fix a corrupted user profiles? Restore user profile using System Restore

System Restore can help you roll back Windows installation and essential system files or undo changes after installing Windows Update, device drivers, application, or modifing system settings incorrectly using Registry or other tools etc. Thus, if the Windows update or Automatic Updates is the cause of corrupt user profile, you can try to restore system from a restore point. The steps are below.

Step 1. Go to safe mode with command prompt. Then, type rstrui  to open system restore window. 

Tips on how to access safe mode with command prompt: 

For Windows 7, restart your computer and press F8 repeatedly untill you see the Advanced Boot Options window, then you can choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt option.

For Windows 10, press Restart while hold the Shift key until you see the Choose an option window. Then, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart and choose Enable Safe Mode with Comman Prompt. 

Step 2. Then, you will see restore system files and settings window below and click Next.

Restore System Files and Settings

Step 3. Choose the lastest System Restore Point  and click Next.

Choose Restore Point

Step 4. Preview and confirm the restore point you are currently chosen, click Finish to recover user profile in Windows 7. 

Confirm Restore Point

How do I fix a corrupted user profiles in Windows 7/8? Recreate user profile

Before recreating user profiles, you still need to check if the profile service is working properly.  If it is, you can use the following method to fix this error . 

To check the profiles service status, you can use the following steps:

Step 1. Start your computer in "safe mode with command prompt".

Step 2. Create a new user Ivy by typing: net user Ivy 0 /add. 

The syntax of this command line:

Ivy refers to the new user name you want to create while 0 is the password of the new user account. 

Step 3. Restart your computer and log in as Ivy. If you successfully log in with new user, the profile service is ok. 

Except for checking the status of profile service, you still need to make a system backup or disk to ensure data safety. Because there is chance you may cause further problems when you repair your computer.  

To help you backup system easily, you could consider using a trust and reliable backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. You can backup system and then restore system image to new hard drive. Also, you can directly clone disk to larger disk or smaller SSD for quick recovery.

Here I'll take system backup as an example to show you the steps:

Step 1. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard and open it. Then, click Backup and System Backup in order.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

System Backup

Step 2. Select a destination path to save the backup image. You can backup computer to USB drive, external hard drive, network location, etc. Then, Click Start Backup to execute the backup task. 

Select Destination

Create a new account when user profile corrupt

Step 1. Boot your computer with administrator account.

Tip:
If you don’t have another user account with admin priority, you can choose to enable the hidden Administrator account in "safe mode with command prompt" first. The command line is:  net user administrator /active:yes.

Step 2. Navigate to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Manage another account, then click Create a new account at the left bottom.

Create New Account

Step 3. In this window, type a name for your new account and select an account type. Then, click Create Account.

Copy user profile in Windows 7/8 to new user account

Step 1. Access Computer and click Tools > Folder Options > View tab, then check the Show hidden files and folders option > uncheck the Hide protected operating system files option. At last, click Apply and OK to run the pending operation.

Step 2. Go to C: \User\OLD_USERNAME, then right-click all files except for Ntuser.data, Ntuser.data.log, Ntuser.ini and select Copy.

Note: 
C: refers to the system drive while OLD_USERNAME refers to the username that has corrupted user profile.

Step 3. Go to C: \User\New_USERNAME and paste all files in this folder.

Note: New_USERNAME refers to the username you created just now.

Step 4. Restart your computer with the new username.

How do I fix a corrupted user profiles in Windows 10? Restore registry settings in safe mode

Similar to recreate user profile, you need to check the status of profile service and backup your system or disk first. Then, try steps below to fix a corrupted a user profile. Note this methods works still works for Windows 7 and Windows 8. 

Find the corrupted user profile in Registry

First, you should find the corrupted Profile Subkey in Windows registry. Then, you can fix a corrupted user profile in Windows 7 via Registry. Follow the step-by-step guide below.

Step 1. Start your computer in safe mode.

Step 2. Enter into the Registry window. You can press Win + R to summon the Run window, then type regedit.exe and click OK.

Step 3. Navigate to the following key from the left panel.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

Step 4. Check the subkeys named S-1-5 followed by a long number and see if there are subkeys with the same name. The only difference is that one of them has the .bak extension at the end.

Access Profilelist

If that's your case, you can fix it using .bak subkey. If that's not your case, you can delete the corrupted user profile from the registry.

Fix the corrupted profiles using .bak subkey

Step 1. Check the ProfileImagePath value of subkey S-1-5¬†with¬†.bak extension, it should be¬†¬†‚ÄúC: \Users\username‚ÄĚ.

Step 2. Go the "C:\Users" folder in Windows Explorer and be sure the corrupted username is the same as you see in the ProfileImagePath value. 

Step 3. Rename the subkey with .bak to .ba extention. Right-click the subkey with .bak extension and select Rename, then chang it to .ba at the end.

Step 4. Rename the subkey without .bak to .bak extention. 

Step 5. Remove the subkey with .ba extention to have no extention. 

Note:

If you have only one subkey with .bak extention, just directly remove .bak extention. 

Step 6. Go to the subkey without .bak extention and change the value data of RefCount and State key to "0".  

Change Refcount Value Data

Step 7. Close the registry and restart your computer to log in with the corrupt user account.

Delete the corrupted user profile from registry

Step 1. Click each subkey named S-1-5 followed by a long number and check ProfleImagePath to find the profile subkey that has corrupted user profile.

Step 2. At the left panel, right-click the subkey with corrupt user profile and select the Delete option.

Step 3. Close registry editor.

Step 4. Restart your computer and login to the account with corrupted user profile. (now, the profile should be clean)

Step 5. Log off and log on with Admin account.

Step 6. Navigate to the subkey below again and see the ProfileImagePath key. It should be named as ‚ÄúCorruptedProfileName. YourComputerName‚ÄĚ.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

Step 7. Double-click the ProfileImagePath key and remove ‚Äú.ComputerName‚ÄĚ in the Value data.

Step 8. Close registry editor. 

Step 9. Go to Computer > C: \Users folder. Then, enable hidden files and folders using Folder Options.

Step 10. Copy the following files from the folder with ‚ÄúCorruptedProfileName.YourComputerName‚ÄĚ to a folder with corrupted user profile. After that,¬†restart your computer and log on to the user account with corrupted files.

  • Ntuser.data

  • Ntuser.data.log

  • Ntuser.ini

Conclusion

To fix a corrupted user profile (windows 7) or other operating system, you have 4 methods. Among them, the simplest way is to restart your computer. If that does not work, you still can try to perform System Restore in Safe Mode, create a new user profile or restore Registry settings.

But you have to know some of recovery method may cuase further problem. To avoid this problem, please backup system or disk with AOMEI Backupper in advance.

Also, it's wise choice to set a schedule automatic backup after you fix this corrupted user profile, which can make an exact copy of all your files, including the operating system, program, user profile, personal data, etc. 

In addition, this software has different version, you can choose the one per your needs. Which one should you have? Please check the details in the edition comparison page.