Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Windows Temporary Profile

Amongst IT related problems one that can fill this most ardent optimist with dread is when logging into your pc you get the message that you have been logged in with a temporary profile.
Well that was what happened to me Friday evening. My heart sank. Have I lost all my documents, photos, passwords, configuration settings, what about my presentations and emails?
Well I knew that my documents and photos were backed up to the cloud but all those configuration settings could be lost and that’s a lot of work to set those up again.
A quick search on the Internet brought up various solutions most of which said you’ve lost it. Well I had no intention of losing all my hard work.
So I tried the first response to any problem with a Windows pc and that’s to restart it. Twice, but with no joy.
A Chkdsk didn’t report any errors so that was a relief.
So this is what I did. I am using a domain account, I can’t guarantee it will work for a local account.
I logged on using a different administrator account.
I renamed my profile folder (under c:\users).
I started Regedit and went to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.

I found my profile GUID. This is straightforward because one of the values is ProfileImagepath which will match the folder you just renamed. Some people have mentioned that there may be two entries with the same GUID but one having .BAK at the end. In my case there was only one entry, with .BAK.
I delete the profile. (Always be careful doing anything in the registry!!)
Ensuring that the domain controller was running I logged back in as me. This created a new entry in the registry and a new profile folder in c:\users.
I now logged back in as the administrator.
In Windows Explorer, under folder options ensure you can see hidden, system and protected files.
In my old profile folder I can now see a file called NTUSER.DAT, this is my user registry. I copied this and the other files in the root of the old profile folder into my new profile folder overwriting the files in there.
I logged back in as me and hey presto I had a Windows profile I recognised, though with bits missing.
I logged back in as administrator and then set about copying all the other folders from my old profile to my new profile, including the hidden folder AppData.
When that had finished I logged back in as me and everything was back to normal. Hallelujah.
So far everything looks to be correct.
There may be better and easier ways and this may only work for a domain account but it got me out of a hole. I hope it may help someone else.
It has got me thinking about the fragility of my laptop, how I rely on it so much and about all my life that is stored on it and what would have happened if it had been a hard disk failure.

I used to back up my home pc to DVD and then store those at work but you can’t fit everything on a DVD these days. I have started to back up my documents and code to Microsoft cloud but there’s a lot I don’t like all my family photos, music, videos, databases, virtual machines simply because it would cost a lot and uploading gigabytes of data on Broadband would take forever

I have decided to buy an external hard disk and will be backing up everything to there on a regular basis.

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