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User Profile Login Disappeared After Recreation


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#1
tony awards

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Well, this is a strange one, at least to me.

About a month ago you helped me fix an IE6 problem, which you correctly diagnosed as a corrupted user profile. After creating a new profile everything has been running fine in the new environment. So after I made sure that I did get all my data out, I finally decided to delete the old profile to free up some space.

Which I did from inside the Administrator profile. After 15 min. or so of waiting, it finally deleted and everything looked fine. I then renamed the new profile to give it back its old name, as the old, corrupted one was gone.

Or so I thought.

But then, when I logged in to the new profile (now renamed with the original name) Windows took me to a brand new, empty profile.

Looking in Documents and Settings, I saw the old profile still there but set up as a fresh user profile. The newly named one had all my data in it. But I couldn’t get a login to recognize it.

So (are you still with me?), I renamed (again) the most recent profile with a brand new, unused name, but there was still no luck in getting my profile to load on login, even though the correct name is showing up every time on the login list. So now I have three related user profiles in Docs and Settings. The first is virtually empty, except for Application Data and Local Settings folders. The second has a full default folder setup hierarchy, and the newest has all my data.

I have:

Tried from the admin login to delete the older profiles. It will let me, but then as soon as I logout and back in, or reboot, Windows has magically recreated the profiles again in Docs & Settings. They don’t show up in the login, but they are there in the D&S folder inside the C\ drive.

And when I try to manually delete the second profile, Windows say that it is a folder necessary to run Windows, and won’t let me.

Whew. Kudos to anyone who has read this far, and to whom this makes any sense.

Sorry the explanation is so convoluted, but…

Can anyone help with this? I have no idea how to get all the original profile setting, docs, folders, etc. into a profile that will open and see all the data.


Thank you!

Tony
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#2
1101doc

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First I just want to be sure of the facts of the case. Correct me where I'm wrong.

You have 3 user profiles:
a) The old profile which you tried to delete
b) The new profile you created to solve the IE problem.
c) Another new profile that is empty.

Profile a) is claimed by Windows to contain system files.
Profile b) contains all your data, but does not allow log in.
Profile c) is normal, but empty of data (unconfigured).

All profiles are Admin accounts.

All Documents and Settings folders are visible and manageable
form an Admin account.

Basic problem: access to personal data.

Secondary problem: too many accounts/disfunctional accounts/undeleteable accounts.

Good so far?
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#3
tony awards

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Hi 1101doc -

Basically, yes. Let me recap in a simplified way as you did:

a) original profile that became corrupted (Tony)
b) new profile to replace (a) (Tony2)
c) very recent profile with entirely different name (Anthony)

Tony was the original, corrupted profile I let sit for a month after creating Tony2, and then tried to delete, and that action caused Tony2 to act as if it was a brand new profile and lose access to my data.
Anthony was created to try to get something new to read as an accessible profile.

At this point, viewed through Docs and Settings:

Tony - has only an Application Folder in it (about 12MB)
Tony2 - has all the folders a brand new default profile would have, but none of my actual data (about 400+MB)
Anthony - now has all of my real data (about 8+GB)

Anthony is the name currently set up on the login window to click on, but when I open up the profile it appears to be actually showing the Tony2 profile.

I just found that when I look at the profiles available in the computer properties, "Tony2" shows as a profile with the Name of "Anthony"...?! And "Tony" doesn't show up at all. But every time I delete "Tony", it comes back anyway. As does "Tony2". I CAN delete Tony2 from Administrator, but not from within "Anthony".

Other questions you have:

Profile a) is claimed by Windows to contain system files.
No, that is b) [Tony2]

Profile b) contains all your data, but does not allow log in.
That one is c) [Anthony]

Profile c) is normal, but empty of data (unconfigured)
That's a) [Tony]

"All profiles are Admin accounts."
Correct. And none have passwords.

"All Documents and Settings folders are visible and manageable from an Admin account."
Correct.

"Basic problem: access to personal data."
Yes, through the designated login. I see the data in Docs and Settings (in Anthony), but it won't show up upon Anthony's login - THAT gives me Tony2's profile.


"Secondary problem: too many accounts/disfunctional accounts/undeleteable accounts."
Yes, I'd say that is correct.

1101doc, you will likely have better suggestions than these, but I have a couple of questions:

Could I manually transfer all my data from Anthony to Tony2. If I brought over the folders with my data to replace Tony2's default data, would I also be able to bring software preferences and settings, appearance, Quick Launch, etc?

Could I use System Restore to go back to before I deleted the original, corrupted profile, or is that kind of restoration beyond its scope? And if that were possible (though the data IS gone, as I did regain 8+GB drive space after the "Tony" deletion), then what next... as far as getting to where I wanted to go in the first place (having only one, good profile with the original name)?

As I said, these are probably both less than ideal fixes, just "what-ifs" on my part...


I hope this has made the situation clearer, and I haven't muddied the waters further (I fear I have...). Thanks for your patience with my explanations.


Tony
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#4
1101doc

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Yes, you can transfer all the stuff you like from the profile that has your data to the new fully functional profile. Microsoft explains: http://support.micro...om/?kbid=811151

Works like this:

1. Log into an Admin account that is not either of the accounts being managed.
I use the ADMINISTRATOR account from Safe Mode.
2. Manually copy everything from Documents and Settings\oldusername over to Documents and Settings\newusername EXCEPT Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.dat.log, and Ntuser.ini.
3. Reboot and log into the newusername account.

This should give you a fully functional user account for regular use. Almost all settings transfer, but you may discover that some few have defaulted.

Only God knows what would be the result of a System Restore. Might work, but it's likely a toss of the dice.

Since Windows is not allowing full deletion of the original account, I suspect that something was installed using that account that Windows considers vital. Have never had the problem myself, so it doubt that it involves updates. "Office" perhaps? IE7?
Un-installation of such a program might allow the deletion of the offending accounts.

As a work around, Tweak UI can be of assistance:http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Under "logon" in the left panel, the right panel will offer the accounts present on the machine and allow them to be shown or not on the Welcome Screen."
"Auto-logon" allows you to select an account that Windows will use to boot through to the Desktop without stopping at the Welcome Screen. To supress "Auto-logon" hold down the Shift key while booting.

Give some of this a try and let us know how you are progressing.
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#5
tony awards

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Hello again 1101doc,

I did as you suggested - the manual copy of all data from Anthony back to Tony2 (the one the computer seems to recognize the best) in Admin/Safe Mode.

Now when I logon, it's all there - I just had to tweak a few things, but the logon now goes to the user that contains data.

Thank you!!

So, then... can I safely delete the most recently created account (Anthony) now that the data is back in Tony2? If I can, and do, will this create a redux of the account "disappearing" as it did before?

BTW, there are still 3 accounts in Docs and Settings. The original "Tony", with only a few MB of data, and the 2 now identical accounts: Tony2 and Anthony.

Ideally, I'd like to have only one, named Tony, as in the beginning.

Can I do this safely, or am I pushing this too far at this point? I can live with any old name, actually, but only one account for disk space and simplicity's sake is the ideal...

Any suggestions before I go further and mess something else up?


Thanks again for getting my data back!


Tony
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#6
1101doc

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Good to hear that you've got a fully functioning profile. I would take a good look at what remains in the original "Tony" account. Windows is very attached to something in there. If you can discover what that is, you may be able to move it to the root of the local drive and then delete the account. Since you've copied it to the other accounts, Windows may decide to treat them the same way. I would try to find out what it is before making more changes.
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