Windows cannot load the locally stored profile

This can be a tricky one.  You get this error message on startup:

Windows cannot load the locally stored profile: Insufficient security rights or a corrupted local file. Windows has logged you in with a temporary profile any setting you make will not be saved.

Basically, Windows has corrupted the profile for a particular user.  This could be down to a registry fault or a problem with the hard disk drive where that registry entry or files are located. It can also be caused by a user moving or deleting the user folder (the one with the user’s name) from the Documents and Settings folder.

My method would be to boot the computer from UBCD4Win.  This allows you to view and manipulate the contents of the corrupt Windows identity.  If you allow the error message to stay on the screen, Windows creates a new profile and does not give you any options to import your data, it is effectively invisible.  If you have gone into Windows already and seen that there is nothing there, don’t worry.  It should be visible through the boot disk method.

Very strange behaviour!

Anyway, once in UBCD4Win, the first thing I do is to run a disk check, this is very important as it is a common cause of failure by corruption.  Bad sectors on a disk do bad things to the registry.  Start, Programs, Disk Tools, Diagnostic, Check Disk.  Tell it your local disk (usually “c:”) and select option 3 where it checks with chkdsk /r which recovers data on the bad sector before repairing it.  A 5-stage scan will follow, allow from 10 minutes to a few hours depending on the size of the disk and data stored on it.

More than likely, the results will show a corrupt registry file such as this:


If not, still proceed as follows.  Once the drive scan is finished you can look at your data via a file manager such as MS Explorer or A43.  I recommend copying the complete user profile to an external drive or if this is not available onto the root of the local disk.  Do this by dragging the folder from documents and settings onto the C:\ and holding down CTRL so that you are copying, not moving.

Now you are ready to reboot.  Try a reboot and if you get the same issue, shutdown, load UBCD4Win again and roll back the registry to a point where all was working well before the corrupt user profile.  Do this from Start, Programs, Registry Tools, Registry Restore Wizard.

If the reboot allows you to login to your old user profile then it’s job done.  Check you have all your documents, pics etc and you can now delete the ‘backup’ copy we made on the root of the local disk.

One thought on “Windows cannot load the locally stored profile

  1. I had the Windows cannot load error happen last night. Tried Shutting Down three times and nothing. Fixed by turning off computer again AND unplugging the power cable, waiting 10 minutes, plugging back in and starting back up. Everything came up like before.

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