the user profile service failed the sign in windows 10

In Windows, a user profile is a set of folders, files, and registry hive that contain a user’s personal settings and files. If the user profile on your local drive is damaged, missing, or deleted, you may receive the annoying “The User Profile Service failed the sign in. User profile cannot be loaded” when logging in to your Windows computer.

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user profile service failed the sign in

And if Windows lets you log in to the desktop, you may encounter this error instead. In this case, you are logged in with a temporary profile. Any files you create or change during this session will be lost.

we cant sign in to your account

This article will guide you through the most common causes and to for the “User Profile Cannot Be Loaded” error.

Possible Causes of the User Profile Cannot Be Loaded Error

Among the most common causes of the User Profile Service error are:

  • Corrupted user profile files on disk.
  • Antivirus software scans the device and blocks some files in the user profile folder when a user tries to sign in (in this case, just wait a few minutes and try logging into Windows again or restart your device).
  • Incorrect user profile mapping in the Windows registry or errors on the device’s file system;
  • Incorrect default profile folder NTFS permissions;
  • The default profile that is used to create new users is corrupt.

How to Access Windows if Your User Profile is Corrupted?

The “User profile cannot be loaded” error prevents you from logging on to the computer. In order to debug and fix this error, you will need to be logged in to Windows with an account that has local administrator permissions.

If there is another administrator account on the computer and you know its password, log in with it and go directly to Solution 1.

If you have only one user on the computer, you need to enable the built-in administrator account. The built-in Windows administrator is disabled by default. In order to enable this account and reset its password, you need to boot your computer from your favorite Live CD with Windows PE.

I prefer to use a third-party utility called Hiren’s BootCD PE. Make sure to create a bootable CD or USB first. Once you have the Hiren’s Boot CD media, use it to boot your computer.

user profile cannot be loaded

Let’s now enable the built-in administrator account.

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Security > Passwords > Windows Login Unlocker.
    windows 10 user profile cannot be loaded
  2. Right-click on the Administrator account and click Enable.
    he user profile service failed the sign in user profile cannot be loaded login unlocker
  3. Once enabled, right-click on the Administrator account again and click Change password.
    the user profile service failed to sign in
  4. Enter the new password and click OK.
    user profile service

Restart the computer and log on as the Administrator. If the “User Profile Cannot be Loaded” is localized to the affected user account, then the Administrator account should be able to log in with no errors.

Solution 1: Check the File System and User Profile Services

After logging on to Windows, we recommend you check the following:

  1. Check that you have enough free space on your system drive (at least a few GB).
  2. System drive file system errors are the most common cause of a corrupted Windows user profile. Use the following command to check and fix the file system on your system drive:

    chkdsk c:\ /f /R

    When asked to schedule the disk check on the next restart, press Y and Enter.
    the profile service failed the sign inRestart the computer and let the disk check run.
    Note. This method can take hours, depending on the capacity and content of your hard drive.

  3. Open the services.msc console and check that the User Profile Service is started and
    configured to start automatically.
    the user profile cannot be loaded

Solution 2: Correct the User Profile in the Registry

Every user on the computer has a profile mapping in the registry. These entries can be found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList. And these mappings can sometimes become corrupted.

  1. First, let’s find out the SID of the affected user. Open the command prompt and run this command:

    wmic useraccount get domain,name,sid

    Look for the user account on the list and note its SID value. In this example, the SID for Alpha is S-1-5-21-3197091325-2131292189-11347583-1001.
    user profile cannot be loaded cmd

  2. Open the registry editor and Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.
    Locate the key matching the user’s SID. In this example, you can see there are two, and the other one has a .bak extension.
    user service failed the sign in on windows 10/11 machine The profile corruption may have caused Windows to create a temporary/duplicate profile mapping in the registry:
  1. Rename the key without the .bak extension and append the .old extension.
  2. Rename the key with the .bak extension to remove .bak.
    the user profile failed the sign inOnce renamed, the keys will look like the one below.
    user profile service failed the sign in. user profile cannot be loaded
  3. Click the SID folder without the extension and confirm that the ProfileImagePath value is correct or not malformed. This value should contain the full path to user’s home directory. Check that this folder exists on your computer. As you can see below, the ProfileImagePath value is mangled. Double-click on this registry item and correct the path to your user profile.
    Also, set the State and RefCount values to 0.
    user profile service failed the sign in after reset The corrected values should look similar to the image below.
    user profile service error
  4. Close the registry editor, restart the computer, and log in as the affected user.

Solution 3: Replace the Affected User Profile’s NTUSER.DAT File

The NTUSER.DAT file can also become corrupted like any other file. And this corruption can cause the User Profile Cannot be Loaded error. If you suspect this to be the case, then you can replace the NTUSER.DAT with the default.

  1. Use a built-in administrator account to log on to the computer;
  2. Open the PowerShell prompt as administrator and run the below command to rename the existing NTUSER.DAT file of the user. Replace C:\Users\USERNAME with the user’s profile directory:


  3. Now, copy the default NTUSER.DAT file from C:\Users\Default. Replace C:\Users\USERNAME with the user’s profile directory:

    Copy-Item C:\Users\Default\NTUSER.DAT ` -Destination C:\Users\USERNAME\NTUSER.DAT -Force

    user service profile failed to sign in powershell

  4. Restart the computer and try to log in as the affected user.

Solution 4: Reset the Default User Profile Folder Permissions

Windows can auto-correct issues with missing user profile files by copying them from the Default User Profile folder (C:\Users\Default). This folder is also the source for new user accounts. But if the NTFS ACL on this folder is somehow incorrect, this could also cause the User Profile Cannot be Loaded error when creating a new user account.

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Note. Check our tutorial iCACLS: List and Manage Folder and File Permissions on Windows.

Confirm that the C:\Users\Default has the following permissions.

  • Owner: SYSTEM
  • Everyone: Read & execute
  • SYSTEM: Full Control
  • Administrators: Full Control
  • Users: Read & execute

how to fix user profile service failed the sign in

If not, you can re-add those required permissions.

You can force reapplying permissions on the “C:\Users\Default” folder. Right-click on the Default folder, select Properties > Security > Advanced > Change Permissions > check the box “Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object” > OK. This will reset the permissions on all nested files and folders.

profile service service failed the sign-in permissions

Note. Check our guide on how to use Get-Acl and Set-Acl cmdlets when managing NTFS permissions for a file or folder with PowerShell.

You can check your default NTUSER.DAT health as follows:

reg load HKU\Default C:\Users\Default\NTUSER.DAT

The operation completed successfully.

reg unload HKU\Default

The operation completed successfully.

If the NTUSER.DAT inside C:\USERS\DEFAULT folder is corrupt or missing, we recommend manually copying health NTUSER.DAT from another user profile on this computer or from another computer with the same Windows build. For example with the command:

xcopy /h C:\Users\administrator\NTUSER.dat C:\Users\Default

Solution 5: Create a New User Profile and Copy Data

If the above methods have not helped, you can create a new profile and copy the old data. This method will create a new user account and profile folder. Once created, you can copy the data from the older profile to the new one.

  1. Open PowerShell as admin and run the below command to create a new local user account:

    $password = Read-Host -AsSecureString $user = @{ password = $password name = 'alpha2' fullname = 'Alpha 2' description = "Alpha's 2nd user profile" } New-LocalUser @user

    user profile service failed to load

  2. Next, add the new account as a member of the local Administrators group:

    Add-LocalGroupMember -Group Administrators -Member alpha2

    the user profile server service failed the sign-in

  3. Log out as administrator and log in as the new local user account.
    fixing the user profile service service failed to sign inThe profile will be created during the first login.
    user profile service failed the sign in windows 11
  4. After the login is completed, the user can copy the old data from C:\Users\<OLD PROFILE> to C:\Users\<NEW PROFILE>.
    this user profile service failed the sign in quick access

When you no longer need the old corrupted profile, you can remove it from the computer and free up some disk space.

  1. Open the Advanced System Settings by running this command:


  2. Navigate to “Advanced” and click “Settings” under the User Profiles section.
  3. Select the old profile from the list and click “Delete”.
  4. Confirm the deletion by clicking Yes.
    the user profile failed to sign in
  5. Finally, remove the old user account by running the below command in PowerShell. Replace <OLD USERNAME> with the old username to delete it from the computer:

    Remove-LocalUser -Name <OLD USERNAME>


In conclusion, encountering the “User Profile Cannot be Loaded” error message on Windows 10 and 11 can be frustrating and worrisome, but several methods exist to fix the problem. These include using the built-in administrator account to create a new user profile, restoring your system to a previous point, or modifying the registry entries.

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