How to Repair a Windows Profile in the Registry

By Chris Hoke

When logging in to your Windows operating system, you may be creating a new temporary profile instead of logging in with your regular user profile. If so, Windows has a profile list error, caused by an error in your profile settings. The system attempts to fix the problem by loading a temporary profile. Fortunately, Windows typically backs up your profile settings so you can restore them by using the Registry Editor program, also known as Regedit.

Step 1

Press the Windows and R simultaneously to open the Run dialog box. Type "Regedt32.exe" in the Run dialog box and press Enter. This launches the Registry Editor.

Step 2

Double-click to expand the "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" key in the left pane.

Step 3

Double click "SOFTWARE," "Microsoft," "Windows NT," "CurrentVersion" and then "ProfileList."

Step 4

Locate the two SID (Security Identification) keys that correspond to your user profile. Both keys are named "S-1-5-21-X" (where "X" is your security profile identification number), but one key has ".bak" at the end of the name. If you have more than one user on your computer, you can identify your SID keys by clicking on each key in the left pane and checking the user name data column located to the right of the "ProfileImagePath" field in the right pane.

Step 5

Right-click on your SID key name that does not end in ".bak" and click "Rename." Type "_corrupt" at the end of the key name and press "Enter."

Step 6

Right-click on your SID key name that ends with ".bak" and click "Rename." Remove the ".bak" from the key name and press the "Enter" key.

Step 7

Close the "Registry Editor" window.

Step 8

Log out of Windows or restart the computer to log back in again with your regular profile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Information in this article applies to Windows 8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.