A bad user profile could happen to any one of your users. It could happen in Windows desktop or on a server. The user will log in and instead of their profile getting loaded, the OS decides it wants to load a temporary profile the the user. The user will a pop up message stating “You have been logged on with a Temporary Profile” and that any changes won’t get saved.
It can be frustrating for the user, for sure. However, once you know where to go to fix it, it’s not too big of a deal.
Why does it happen? Well there are a variety of reasons. It could be corrupt. It could be delayed, likely from an antivirus program, or some service not responding, or many other operations. Once Windows has loaded a temporary profile for a user, it will continue to do so. That user will always load their temporary profile until you fix it.
How to fix it? You can try to reboot the computer. Depending on whether this is a desktop or server, that may or may not be an easy task to try. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, follow my steps below to fix it. It should work in almost all cases.
1. Login as an ‘Administrator’ to the machine.
2. Click the start button
3. Type “reedit” and then right-click on program to ‘Run as Administrator’. Click ‘Yes’ to any UAC pop up.
4. Expand the regedit field to:
5. You will see a list of all of the profile names. Two will be named the same, with one of them ending with “.bak”.
The temporary profile does not have the ‘.bak’ at the end of it.
The original or “old” profile has the ‘.bak’ at the end of it.
6. Now that we know which profile is which, we need to rename them.
We need to rename the temporary profile by adding a ‘tmp’ to the end of it.
Next we will rename the original profile by removing the ‘.bak’ from the end of it.
7. Reboot the computer to complete the process.
8. Log back in as the affected user and it should now load the original profile.
9. Once the original profile has been restored, as an administrator you can re-open the regedit tool and navigate back to the same entry from “Step 4”. Right-click on the temporary profile that ends in ‘.tmp’ and select “Delete” to permanently remove it.
If the did not help, then your only other option would be to create a new user profile. To do this, you’d need to, as an administrator, delete the user profile before having the user log back onto the machine. Everything such as user documents and files would be lost though. Hopefully you have a good backup of your data that you restore from.