Windows cannot find the local profile

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 13 May 2009 / Last Updated on 5 Jan. 2009]

What to try if you see "Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile."

In my previous tip " Windows cannot load the profile" on this site, we examined the following error message:

"Windows cannot load the profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile."

There's a similar error message however that can sometimes show up when you log on to Windows:

"Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile."

There are three things I know of that could cause such a situation to occur:

  • Your local profile has been deleted improperly i.e. by deleting your profile folder C:\Documents and Settings\username (or C:\Users\username) using Windows Explorer. The correct way to delete a user profile is described in my tip "Deleting User Profiles" on this site.
  • Your user account has been added to either the local Guests group or the domain Guest group. This would likely be a simple error on the part of an admin.
  • You're using roaming profiles and the permissions on your profile have been modified so that you no longer have Full Control permission for your profile. This may happen if your admin doesn't know his stuff and thinks that by making your roaming profile read-only you won't be able to modify it. The correct way of course to prevent users from modifying their roaming profiles is to implement mandatory profiles, not mucking about with permissions.

Use the above information to try and troubleshoot your problem.

If you have feedback concerning this tip, I'd love to hear from you.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see .

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