log on problem. Please help

Hi all,

I was hoping one of you kind people could advise me...

I shut down my laptop last night and everything was working just fine. When I booted up this morning however, a message about windows update flashed up (never seen that before and it was too quick to read it properly), BEFORE I had even reached the welcome screen or log in screen. Once it reached the log in screen (my primary user that I use 90% of the time and where the majority of my files and folders are located. Both users are administrators however) it displayed this message. "the user service profile failed the log on. User profile cannot be loaded" My secondary user account was unaffected but as I needed access to my primary user account I rebooted, went into safe mode and did a system restore from the previous day. I rebooted again and the problem seemed to be fixed.

However, upon researching (goggled it) as to why this may have happened and how to prevent it reoccurring it appears that the problem has something to do with windows updates. My windows updates (as is my MS Security Essentials) is set to automatically update every day at 3.00am. For now, I have disabled windows updates from automatically installing any updates but as I like the convenience and security of automatic updates I would like to solve rather than just band-aid the issue. My google research, although suggesting that windows updates could be the problem, did not offer an adequate explanation or permanent solution.

Hope someone can help.


-I am using windows 7 upgrade 64 bit


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Check the Windows Update dialog and look for update history. Do any show as failed?

You can right click on the updated and be offered 2 links. One of them will give more information about the update.

If you want to check further, look at the WindowsUpdate.log in the Windows folder. Look near the end to see if any error or failed messages show up.

Was you laptop plugged in during the night when this happened?

I do not allow auto updates because I like to see what Windows is doing. If you do automatic updates, at least set it to not install the optional components until you can check what it is loading. In the case of some driver, it would be good to know it had been loaded if some problem develops later.

Hi Saltgrass,

Thanks so much for replying so swiftly and for the useful info. My laptop was indeed turned off during the night when it happened. I don't know whether this is relevant, but I rarely turn my laptop off during the night (just set to hibernate) so this maybe the first time it was completely off when updates came through. Until it happened I had the automatic updates set to download/install daily at 3am. After doing a system restore (which was successful) yesterday morning, I disabled the updates until I could source and rectify the problem, if indeed the updates are the problem.

I checked my windows update log as suggested and there are six failed updates from the last 5 months. All of them are optional and all of them are Definition Update for Microsoft Security Essentials. Incidentally, the update (assuming that the problem is an update) would not be included in the log because, as mentioned, I disabled the updates yesterday.

Unfortunately, I am unwise as to what updates I should install or not and am afraid of it happening again and system restore being unsuccessful next time (I researched online and although many people seem to have experienced the same problem, which has the potential to keep repeating itself, no one seems to know the cause). I will try to mirror my hard drive onto a dvd today so I don't lose all my files and folders but I always like to understand these problems rather than just band-aid them.

Thanks for reading!


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
You may show "failed updates" that are eventually installed, so look for that.

From what I have seen with some of the Windows Update scenarios, a message will be on the log about delaying updates until the unit comes out of hibernation. I will assume, that if the unit is off, it will not do anything. But there should be notation of that in the log.

I was asking if the unit was plugged in? If it was not, possibly the battery was in such a state that an update could only be partially done. But I am always weary of a device type of update, and there have been updates that do some strange things to some systems.

Let us know how it goes.

Hi Saltgrass

My laptop was plugged in but had been completely shut down so the battery or hibernation was not the issue. I checked the log and there was no record of any delays due to hibernation or my laptop being turned off. Out of the 6 fails noted, only one was eventually installed. Do later updates override previous updates in regards to security when the name is the same (for eg, Definition Update for Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0000 overrides Definition Update for Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0000) but it's number changes? Is it really necessary to download all the optional updates and how would you decide whether to or not? Every description on my failed updates is exactly the same except for their number -

(Definition Update for Microsoft Security Essentials - KB2310138 (Definition 1.97.1282.0)

Installation date: ‎2/‎9/‎2011 3:27 AM

Installation status: Failed

Error details: Code 80072F78

Update type: Optional

Install this update to revise the definition files that are used to detect viruses, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software. Once you have installed this item, it cannot be removed.

Thanks again


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The optional updates I watch for are driver updates. Usually they are fine, but have, in the past, caused problems. Most other optional updates are fine.

Some updates can be skipped and some cannot since there is a priority. MSE updates might be fine depending on whether the updates replace the old definitions or are added to the older ones. If a later update is already installed, it may just skip the earlier ones. The log should show if it is still trying to download the updates and why it is failing, if it is.

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