Windows 7 How to fix a damaged "user profile"


Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2013
On one of my laptops, the main "user profile" apparently got corrupted. When I click on a folder, instead of using Windows explorer to show the folder, it opens up a program. I know it's the user profile, and not the computer itself, as I created a second user profile for testing, and that one works correctly. This particular laptop is still running Vista Professional, but I think that Vista, 7, and 8 all use the same "user profile" setup.

When I did a search, I found the Microsoft way to fix this - create a new account (actually, to do this I need three accounts on the computer), and then while logged into the third account, copy over all the files except two, from the "damaged profile" to the "new profile". Here's the link:

Does anyone know a way to "fix" the problem, rather than do it Microsoft's way? If the two files they are concerned with are corrupted, can I re-create them?
There is a reason they specifically recommend creating a new account. When a Windows server migration takes place, a problem can happen with the security identifier on the account. Each account has a SID and this is problematic when a server is switched out or migrated incorrectly. If NTUSER.dat is corrupt, there is very little you will be able to do to restore the account to operation. You can try deleting that file, along with NTUSER.ini, and NTUSER.dat.log. You can find these files in c:\users\your_username in other words from the command line:

%userprofile% when in the account

To see these files you'll need to uncheck "Hide protected operating system files" in Explorer under Folder Options - View.

You will want to delete these files from a secondary account, which may require elevated administrator privileges. Windows may try to recreate the files, but you'll lose all your customizations and settings on the account. It is safe to say this is not the recommended way of doing it, as it may or may not work, and you could be opening yourself up to future problems.

Also, this may be a sign of additional corruption. You should run chkdsk /f on the drive as well as sfc /scannow under an elevated Command Prompt.
Thanks for the reply. I will do the chkdsk /f (have learned how to do that), and also the sfc /scannow (I know how to do this, but not how to do the follow-up fixing). When that's done, I will create the new account as per the MS instructions. Thanks to your reply, I now know the "why" of doing it this way.

Regarding sfc /scannow, I've tried to follow the instructions twice, and never quite understood how to use that tool. I will check here for a thread on how to do so. One quick question - is it possible to copy the log file to a saved location, zero out the file, and start over again?
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