How to fix: USER PROFILE CANNOT BE LOADED

For some reason, you can’t seem to login into your newly created Windows account. After hours and hours of searching on the internet you’ve tried many solutions but none of them seems to work. If this sounds like your problem, read on and see whether this fix will help you.

Introduction to the problem

After creating your new user account (using the normal way) you are unable to log into your newly created (local) accounts. The newly created user accounts still show up on the user lists but when you log in you get an error message:

“The User Profile Service failed the logon. User Profile cannot be loaded”.

This problem can persist even after you installed the latest Windows updates, upgraded to Windows 10 (happened to me) or after deleting and recreating user accounts. Whether the user account has a password or not does not seem to affect the problem.

This issue seems to affect Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10. I experienced this issue on a Windows 8 machine that was later upgraded to Windows 10.

A word of caution

  • Be cautious when applying the fixes mentioned in this article. Back up all data before changing or deleting any user account.
  • While these fixes should not do any harm to your system they are not recommended for absolute beginners. If you are a beginner and would like to try this then be sure to have the number handy of someone who can fix computers (should anything go wrong).  This is not to insult you as I am sure you are a very smart and intelligent person, but the type of changes can be risky.

Troubleshooting

Before jumping straight to the fix let’s have a look at the Windows error logs to see where exactly our problem lies:

  1. Create a new user account and Attempt to log in (knowing that the login will fail). This will generate an event which we can now easily find in the event viewer.
  2. Go to the Windows Event Viewer. You can access the event viewer by right-clicking on the start menu and then clicking Event Viewer.You can also find the event viewer by typing “event viewer” in windows search for via the control panel: Control Panel > System and Security >Administrative Tools > Event Viewer
  3. Find the error relating to the failed login. In the left panel of Event viewer, click to expand the Windows Logs Folder then go to Application logs. In the middle pane scroll down until you find an error with its source from the user profile service. This error will most likely have several warnings below it.
  4. Read the error and warning details. Clicking on the error will reveal information about the error. The error will probably look something like this: Windows cannot log you on because your profile cannot be loaded. Check that you are connected to the network, and that your network is functioning correctly. “

The error informed us what was wrong, but doesn’t tell exactly why. To find out, we need to have a look at the warnings which should be located underneath the error. The first warning you see will probably say this: “There are too many profile copy errors. Refer to the previous events for details. Windows will not log any additional copy errors for this copy process. “. This warning now tells us why the login failed. Look at the errors that are below this one to find out what files or folders couldn’t copy.

These copy errors will vary but should look similar to this (error can affect any kind of folder and not necessarily the Macromedia folder):

Windows cannot copy file <\\?\C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\www.macromedia.com\bin\airappinstaller\airappinstaller.exe> to location <\\?\C:\Users\TEMP\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\www.macromedia.com\bin\airappinstaller\airappinstaller.exe>. This error may be caused by network problems or insufficient security rights.   DETAIL – Access is denied

There may be quite a few warnings similar to the one above. That is okay. Based on the errors and warnings we saw here we see that for some reason or another Windows cannot seem to copy certain files and folders that are necessary for the new user account.

Since it is a local account we can rule out this being a network problem which leaves us to conclude that this error must be caused by the insufficient security rights (as stated by the warning).

Basically the folder “ C:/Users/Default” as well as some as well as some subfolders  are denying the computer the permissions to access and copy these in order to create a new account. This is rather strange but nevertheless we can now aim to fix that by changing the permissions of the problematic folder.

The Fix

  1. Enable hidden files and folders. The folder’s permissions that we are about to change is hidden by default. For instructions on how to enable hidden files and folders click here.
  2. Go to your Users folder. By default, the User’s folder is located on the hard drive Windows is installed on (usually C:\Users). However, this can change depending on your computer was set up. If you are a bit confused as to where this is, go to your File Explorer (or My Computer) double click on your main your main hard drive (usually C: ) and then find and go to the “Users” folder.
  3. Open up Advanced Security settings for default folder. To do this right click on the folder called “default” and then click on properties. Remember this folder is hidden by default and you will not find it if you did not enable hidden files and folders. From the properties windows, click on the ‘Security’ tab. From there click on the ‘Advanced’ button’. A new Window will appear..
  4. Change the folder owner.  Remember this is risky, so if you haven’t made a full backup yet, now would be a great time. In the Advanced Security settings window, you will find details of the name of the folder as well as who is assigned as the owner (see screenshot).
    If the owner is not set to ‘system’, then change the owner to “system”. However, it already is set to ‘system’ then change the owner to ‘Administrators’.
    To change the owner click on ‘change; which will be located next to the owner name. A small window appears titled ‘Select Window or group’. Type in ‘Administrators’ (without quotation marks) then click on the “check names” button. The text you typed in should have changed to look like this “Computer Name/Administrators”.  Once you changed the folder owner click on the ‘APPLY’ button and then the “OK” button. Some messages may pop up and a few file operations may happen.
    If you get an error message: press “advanced..” which will open another new window, then click on the “Find Now” button located on the right. A list of users and user groups will appear below. Double click on “Administrators”. And then click on “okay”. You should now be back to the “Advanced Security settings “window.
  5. Logon to your account.  Go back to the account which gave you the error “The user profile cannot be loaded”. You should now be able to log in without any trouble

Images

That’s all for this post. Feel free to adapt this to make your own solution.

Did you find this guide useful? I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions in the comments below.  For more fixes and articles please subscribe.

 

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2 Comments for “How to fix: USER PROFILE CANNOT BE LOADED”

Hisham

says:

Found your post via twitter, I had the same issue with my Windows.
Your way of fixing is the easier than what is recommended elsewhere. but I find it has one big weakness (as well as everyone elses). It does not resolve the issue if you get the error on all user accounts.

Do you know how to fix this error when all user accounts gives the error?

The AppTrekker

says:

Thanks for the feedback!

I will have a look for a possible solution for you and update this post when I find one.

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