1. Enable hidden administrator account
If you haven’t got another admin account, you need to enable the hidden Administrator account.
Boot into safe mode as above.
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On the “Troubleshoot” screen, click the “Advanced Options” button.
On the “Advanced Options” page, click the Startup Settings” option. In Windows 8, this option is labelled “Windows Startup Settings” instead.
And finally, now that you see what we meant by “hidden,” hit the “Restart” button.
You’ll see a version of the familiar Advanced Boot Options menu. Press the number corresponding to the startup option you want to use (i.e., press the 4 key for regular Safe Mode).
Click Start, type ‘cmd’, then right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator. In the command prompt type:
Net user administrator /active:yes
Hit Enter and you should see a message that says, “The command completed successfully”.
2. Log in to the Administrator account
Start your computer as normal, but when you get to the login screen, don’t log in with your normal user account. Instead, select either the hidden Administrator account.
3. Create a new account
Open Control Panel from the Start Menu
and select User Account and Family Safety, then click User Accounts.
Click Manage another account, then click Create another account. Enter a name for your new user (it must be different to the old one, although you can rename later). Make your new account an Administrator, and click Create Account.
4. Copy old data
You now need to copy all of your old data to your new account. First, click Start and choose Switch account.
On the Login screen, click your new account to log in to it for the first time (if you don’t do this, the user folder won’t be created). When you’re at the Desktop, log off and log into the Administrator account you used in Step 2.
Use Windows Explorer to go to your old user’s folder, which is most likely: C:Users
Press Alt, click Tools and select Folder Options. Click View and make sure you’ve selected ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives’. Deselect ‘Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). Click OK.
Select all files in this folder, except the ones that start Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.dat.log, Ntuser.ini. Press Control-C or select Copy from the Edit menu (if you don’t see the menu press Alt first).
Browse to your new user’s folder (most likely c:Users). Press Control-V, select Paste, or select Paste from the Edit menu (press Alt if you don’t see this menu).
Log off and then back on as your new user.
All of your files and application settings should have transferred, although some email applications may have to have messages re-downloaded or their data exported separately (see the manufacturer’s help).
When you’re sure that you’ve got everything, you can delete your old user and their files, and rename your new user account.
Don’t forget to go back into Safe mode and disable the Administrator account, using the following command:
Net user administrator /active:no
How to fix a Windows corrupt user profile on Windows 8 or 7: Registry edit
This method has the potential to cause more harm, so it’s best followed only by more advanced users. Remember to backup your Registry following the instructions at the start of this article.
1. Launch RegEdit
Restart your computer and boot into Safe Mode, following the instructions at the start of the article. Click on the Start menu, type Regedit and hit Enter to start the Registry Editor.
Using the left-hand panel, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProfileList.
You’ll see some folders with the name starting S-1-5 followed by a long number.
Click on each one in turn, then in the Main Window look at the ProfileImagePath and make sure it’s the account with the problem.
This is the name of the user folder and contains the name of the username it relates to.
If you have two folders for your username, and one ends in .bak, you need to right-click the folder that doesn’t have .bak in it, select rename and add ‘.ba’ to the end of the name. Rename the folder with .bak in it, deleting the .bak part of the name. If you have one folder with a .bak at the end, rename to remove the .bak part.
2. Change RefCount
Select the folder with the .bak in the name, then in the main Window double-click RefCount. Change the Value data to 0, then click OK.
Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer, and you can now login to your existing account. If you have further problems, you can restore your original Registry settings following the instructions at the start of this article, then follow Method 1 to repair your corrupted user profile.
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