Error Message Explained: User Profile Service Failed the Logon

This article is part of Helge’s Profile Toolkit, a set of posts explaining the knowledge and tools required to tame Windows user profiles.

Many errors related to user profiles result in the user getting a temporary profile instead of the regular local or roaming profile. I have written about possible causes for that here. In addition to that there is an entirely different category of errors which occur when even a temporary profile cannot be created. This article describes likely causes.

User Profile Service Failed the Logon

When Windows cannot even create a temporary profile you get to see the following error message:

User profile service failed the logon - user profile cannot be loaded

The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

This typically happens when the default profile, stored in C:\Users\Default, has incorrect permissions or is corrupt in some way.

Default Profile Permissions

If all is well, the directory C:\Users\Default inherits permissions from its parent folder, C:\Users. This results in SYSTEM and Admninistrators having full control, while Users and Everyone have read permissions. In SetACL Studio this looks as follows:

Default profile permissions in SetACL Studio

The permissions for SYSTEM and Administrators are not relevant, but if for some reason the user logging on does not have read permissions on C:\Users\Default the error message User Profile Service Failed the Logon will be displayed and logging on is not possible.

When this happens the user profile service logs an event with ID 1509 and source User Profile General in the application event log:

Windows cannot copy file \\?\C:\Users\Default\ to location \\?\C:\Users\username\. This error may be caused by network problems or insufficient security rights. 
DETAIL - Access is denied.

Default Profile Corrupt

Logon is not possible, either, if the default profile’s NTUSER.DAT file is nonexistent or corrupt.

If NTUSER.DAT does not exist the user profile service logs an event with ID 1500 and source User Profile Service in the application event log:

Windows cannot log you on because your profile cannot be loaded. Check that you are connected to the network, and that your network is functioning correctly. 
DETAIL - The system cannot find the file specified.

If, on the other hand, NTUSER.DAT is corrupt the user profile service logs an event with ID 1508 and source User Profile Service in the application event log:

Windows was unable to load the registry. This problem is often caused by insufficient memory or insufficient security rights. 
DETAIL - The system has attempted to load or restore a file into the registry, but the specified file is not in a registry file format.
for C:\Users\username\ntuser.dat
Fixing a Corrupt Default Profile

The easiest way to fix a corrupt default profile is to delete the content of C:\Users\Default and copy it from a working system. Make sure, though, that the machine you copy from has the same operating system version and language.

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83 Responses to Error Message Explained: User Profile Service Failed the Logon

  1. Peter October 9, 2013 at 13:03 #

    Thank you so so much. This has solved my problem. my default user must have been corrupt. I have tried the regedit but I could not find the profile that could not logon in the list. so this is the only way that my problem was solved. I got a working good default user from another computer. obvious one with settings I would want in my profile since it picks settings from default user on first logon.

    • Quintus Theron May 29, 2014 at 12:53 #

      Please follow the folowing link: Easy and works like a charm:

      The registry steps made easy.

      • James Santiago April 26, 2017 at 19:24 #

        It didn’t work, do you have any other suggestions?

        I’ve been at this for a couple weeks but I nothing I try works.

        • Keed Johnson February 6, 2018 at 21:34 #

          Try this as an alternative. The TID is for Windows 2008 R2 but worked for me.

  2. SKawarz October 17, 2013 at 16:42 #

    Thank you so much for this solution. my situation is same with Peter. how can i imagine the default user files have been corrupted. this absolutely make my day. thank you very much.

  3. Syrett October 25, 2013 at 10:31 #

    Very useful.Appreciate your solution.

  4. Tillman November 7, 2013 at 15:29 #

    This worked! I work in a domain environment and I deleted the windows 7 profile from Registry, but was unable to rename the users profile. I had to decimate the profile to get it renamed so we could create a new profile to fix her errors.

    To my horror at 5:00 pm. the user called me and said she can’t get onto her computer so I spend an hour and a half trying to fix it before I gave up for the day. The next day I found your post and boom it works.


  5. Randy November 16, 2013 at 00:34 #

    Domain environment here also. I wonder why this would happen to several computers in the domain? All of a sudden we have several computers with this issue in the past month. Windows update cause this?

  6. Paul November 18, 2013 at 16:28 #

    Hi. I have this message shown above ie ‘The User Profile Service failed the logon’.
    I have no other computer to copy the file from.
    Do you have any other way I can resolve this please……………???????

    PS had a load of MS updates last week but nothing out of the ordinary otherwise.

  7. Debbie November 19, 2013 at 20:45 #

    Thanks for the solution – nothing else I tried worked and yet this is so easy. I agree with Randy – I’ve never seen this before and suddenly it shows up on several computers?

  8. Jagan - IT November 25, 2013 at 20:17 #

    Thanks lot for u….It’s working u saved my time.

    Jagan . A Support Engg – IT
    SourceHOV, Chennai, INDIA
    Mobile: +91 9500580466

  9. John Gaeng November 26, 2013 at 03:23 #

    It worked for me! Thank you so much for taking the time to share the fix.

  10. Francisco Queiroga December 2, 2013 at 21:12 #

    Thank you! You save me.

  11. David Johnson December 30, 2013 at 20:12 #

    Thanks for that! This fixed my issue if you look anywhere else everyone talks about messing with the registry. Not applicable in my situation due to my issue was coming from a domain thing. Anyways the permissions were set wrong and that fixed it right up good on ya


  12. Ian January 12, 2014 at 07:35 #

    This pointed me in the right direction. A recent (Jan 2014) Windows update appears to create a couple of new files in the Default profile structure. These don’t have the same Perms as the other files (missing ‘Everyone’ | Read). I added the perm and can now logon. Thanks!

    The files were:

    Thanks again.

  13. Patty January 16, 2014 at 21:57 #

    You are awesome! It worked.

    • Swapnil December 15, 2015 at 01:54 #

      It worked.

      I had the issue on Windows 7 system and this soluton worked on it.

      I found out event 1509 and 1500 in my systems eventviewer. So i decided to give read permission to the file on your suggestion.

  14. Chris January 31, 2014 at 23:09 #

    OMG I searched all over the internet. Microsost support gave me some B.S. This is the only thing that worked. After two reinstall of windows I think Ian must be right. It is the damn update!

  15. Sheila February 13, 2014 at 21:51 #

    I don’t even have a clue with what you just said here. Glad it’s working for people who are intimate with their computer, but it’s a machine to me. I trust folks to build it to work, and I use it and try to take care of it. I can log in to other non-administrator profiles, but not mine, the administrator. Crazy. And poor me only has one computer.

  16. Tracy February 19, 2014 at 09:06 #

    Excellent post – I’d been searching for hours with no solutions working & this helped solve our problem with the Default user profile being the cause. Thank you very much for sharing!

  17. apc February 19, 2014 at 19:35 #

    replacing the corrupt default profile fixed it for me. thank you for sharing!

  18. EmpireFleet April 30, 2014 at 10:55 #

    Great stuff! The replacement worked like a charm. Thanks.

  19. Tom May 5, 2014 at 01:00 #

    I have been working on this issue for the past two to three hours and you saved the day, Thank you Very much!

  20. Michael June 10, 2014 at 16:13 #

    This worked like a charm!!! Thanks

  21. Saumil June 16, 2014 at 12:04 #

    Awesome link. that resolved a long lasted issue for me

  22. PRASHANT PANDYA July 9, 2014 at 04:30 #


  23. monty July 17, 2014 at 17:54 #

    Thanks a lot for your help. I had this issue reported by one of my employee and I tried all I could , Microsoft support site, spiceworks etc.. but in vain. Out of frustration and time, I reinstalled the win 7 OS as I had to ship the laptop by COB, here it goes again. I wonder why it get corrupted at 1st place, just want to know.
    You are great help.. God bless you !!!!

  24. Oliver Foxley August 6, 2014 at 19:29 #

    Just do a startup repair, a function natively built into the windows boot options or accessible from the windows disc – works everytime for me, it’s less faff, less dangerous and you don’t lose shortcuts off your desktop etc this way either.

  25. Fillogio September 19, 2014 at 13:52 #

    I <3 you…

    Was making me crazy, tnx ;-)

  26. Achim Kretschmer September 25, 2014 at 17:26 #

    This fix is great in a workgroup environment, however we encountered this issue on a domain level. We solved it by adjusting our GPO with the additional setting of “authenticated Users” in the default user profile.

    The path for this setting in your GPO is: Computer configuration/policies/windows settings/security settings/file system/

    In %SystemDrive%\Users\Default add NT Authority\Authenticated Users with Full Control permission

    After it was pushed down, all users that previously had this issue were able top log on

    • Shyam September 21, 2017 at 15:12 #

      I was not able to see anything under the mentioned GPO path.

  27. Frustrated November 18, 2014 at 23:45 #

    Thanks a million!
    Was driving me on the walls as well!

  28. Ray November 21, 2014 at 19:20 #

    Thank you for this article. Was just what I needed to fix the error.

  29. Jason November 26, 2014 at 16:28 #

    This error happened after I deployed ie11 to my network. IE11 install places some files in the default user profile and this causes the issue. Here is a MSDN blog about the specifics of the issue.

  30. Sonya Purdy December 18, 2014 at 16:00 #

    I had the user profile issue and did the regedit fix. This fixed the issue for the user profile that was not able to be accessed but then I lost my 2nd admin user profile. I went into the regedit and it is still listed but not showing up on boot up. what can I do to get it back?

  31. santosh January 23, 2015 at 07:58 #

    Thanks buddy,

    tried on Microsoft site for solution and couldn’t found any. You saved my Day…

  32. Miriam January 29, 2015 at 02:06 #


  33. Chris March 2, 2015 at 20:40 #

    What do you do if the user has never logged on to the machine before and you’re getting this error?

    • Greg March 18, 2015 at 05:48 #

      My scenario was the same as yours. Follow this step from above, “The easiest way to fix a corrupt default profile is to delete the content of C:\Users\Default and copy it from a working system. Make sure, though, that the machine you copy from has the same operating system version and language.”

      • Shyam September 21, 2017 at 15:13 #

        Does this works for domain users also, as I am worried if it will corrupt other profiles also.

  34. Greg March 18, 2015 at 05:45 #

    This was a huge help. I had never dealt with a corrupted “Default” directory before. I am glad it was so simple. Thank you!

  35. Mark March 19, 2015 at 00:02 #

    Absolutely worked.

    2012 R2 domain environment, BRAND NEW user profile created in AD, and could not login although previously existing user profiles had no problem.

    Deleted contents of C:UsersDefault and copied from a known good working server that I validated user in question could login.. copied the files back locally and it worked. THANK YOU!!!

  36. Tekena August 4, 2015 at 14:05 #

    Let me add my voice here to say thank you. It works like magic! Was a bit skeptical because I had this issue on live Exchange 2013 servers. But I tried it and voila! Thanks mate.

  37. Andy September 2, 2015 at 00:53 #

    This worked for me. Thank you so much for this, it was extremely straightforward and helpful. I can’t thank you enough!

  38. AHMED September 29, 2015 at 03:08 #

    Does anyone actually know whats the cause of this issue?

  39. ron September 29, 2015 at 15:54 #

    I reapplied permissions to that folder ( c:\users\defualt ) and it fixed the problem for me. Not sure how that changed but its working now

  40. Kent Johnson October 18, 2015 at 22:20 #

    This worked for me in Windows 10! I had upgraded a lab of computers from Windows 8 Home Premium to Windows 10 Professional. The windows 10 installation process must have been inconsistent or my techs must have been inconsistent in their application of the installation process. Either way, some of my lab computers successfully joined the domain for my Server 2012 R2 server and some did not.

    All I had to do to solve my error “The User Profile service failed the sign-in. User profile cannot be loaded.” message was to copy the ‘C:\Users\Default’ folder from a computer that successfully joined my Server 2012 R2 domain to the computer that was struggling to join the domain.

    Thank you for this! I hope this helps many people.

  41. Paladin October 19, 2015 at 01:27 #

    Thanks a million times or infinity and beyond times. This solved my problem with Windows 10 pro as well. I could create new users but could not login. It was a corrupted or most probably a stupid file in the profile that denied access to cause the failure. I will not look for that file and delete it and see if I can use the original default user profile again.

    Thanks again for this post. Microsoft wanted to charge me extra for premium support to resolve the issue. With MS honesty is NOT the best policy in my opinion.

    Good day!!!

  42. Atish Sawant November 12, 2015 at 04:58 #

    Thnx…issue ressolved…

  43. Vedapraksh December 10, 2015 at 09:20 #

    Thanks…it worked after created folder default under c:\users :)

  44. Da'flibble December 13, 2015 at 15:19 #

    Hi has anyone had this issue with User Profile Service fails the logon when ctrl+alt+del but then starts working ok after about 60+ seconds? Ever since moving to SSD based computers I’ve been seeing this with our roaming users and mandatory roaming users.
    Very frustrating.

    Yes we have the GPO for don’t allow logon with temp profiles. Running procmon while booting shows bad network path errors when it first tries to connect to the profile share. Then after about 60 seconds it just works. I’m thinking there is something to do with the wireless network stack not coming up fully, but it must be up to some degree or it wouldn’t allow the logon process to start because it needs to talk to the DC to even know the user is OK and where their profile path is.

    Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

  45. AC December 19, 2015 at 21:58 #

    good one!
    permissions was my problem. as soon as i changed the default user’s permissions it was possible to logon

  46. paul April 29, 2016 at 02:53 #


  47. Chen De June 2, 2016 at 03:04 #

    Thanks for the awesome solution

    Had been this problem for 2 days until I saw your solution it works great.

    Chen De, IT

  48. Roksolana June 5, 2016 at 20:18 #

    Long Path Tool help me a lot when i have an issue like file deleting or renaming the file. Also good to use if file name and file extension is too long

  49. Craig Doc July 21, 2016 at 10:24 #

    Deleting the Default profile folder and copying from another server (same OS – Server 2012 R2) fixed my issue.

    Thank you kindly.

  50. Jef-F July 29, 2016 at 18:24 #

    After trying many intricate methods, yours worked like a charm! Thanks for saving my evening.

  51. Kasthuri Kumar August 2, 2016 at 09:08 #

    Thank u so much, after copying the default profile from other system am able login to with the new user accounts.

  52. Dammyj August 2, 2016 at 22:55 #

    Thanks so much, it worked for me. copied the C:\Users\Default over the network and it performed the charm. so grateful

  53. Stefan Kip August 9, 2016 at 13:34 #


  54. Ivan Botzev September 5, 2016 at 16:45 #

    So elegant solution! It works for me as well. A spent about 1 hour trying other solutions without success or not applicable for me, before i found this one. Thanks a lot, Helge!

  55. Merlin December 23, 2016 at 18:24 #

    Wow thanks so much! This worked for Windows 10 as well.

  56. Peter D December 28, 2016 at 14:26 #

    After bashing my head against this problem all morning I found your website and had the PC up and running in 5 minutes! Thank you very much.

  57. Mohamed March 7, 2017 at 09:35 #

    It’s working , thank you

  58. Chris April 1, 2017 at 15:18 #

    Thank you! I was able to fix my issue for a new user.

  59. Ibrahim April 4, 2017 at 11:24 #

    You saved my day. Thank you very much for sparing so much of your time explaning everything in brief.

  60. John Chando April 19, 2017 at 14:14 #

    Wow! Finding this page was a lifesaver! Like many others above, only local admin access was possible on a 2012R2 box in our domain environment. Once I copied the default user folders from a working machine, VOILA! Problem solved. Thanks so much.

  61. Mohammad Haque May 18, 2017 at 18:18 #

    1. Log in to the computer as admin

    2.Go to the below location:
    \\?\C:\Users\TEMP\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\SQM\iesqmdata_setup0.sqm and set the user permission to read-only.

    3. restart the computer and log in

    It will ok now.

  62. Bonnie Prince Charlie May 30, 2017 at 17:31 #

    I’m so grateful that this thread’s been up for so many years. I too looked at other solutions, including the Regedit one, but like others, that wasn’t applicable. It was a newly imaged machine, so there weren’t any but a local admin user account. Copying over a known working default user folder fixed things for me as well. Now we’ll just have to figure out why the image is munged.

  63. Marius July 19, 2017 at 11:44 #

    Thank you Helge! This advice came like a piece of heaven for me. after spent 2 hours to figure out why the profile doesn’t load, and the stress which cam with, this simply worked!

    God bless you! And keep the nice work you do

  64. Doc August 15, 2017 at 03:54 #

    This worked great, In fact I leave a copy of Default_Fix folder in the folder in case it happens again. Thanks

  65. Waylon October 25, 2017 at 22:26 #

    That works! Fixed my virtual machine running Windows 7 created using disk2vhd. Thank you!!!

  66. Segun January 18, 2018 at 11:13 #

    Wow! It’s simple and the solution is excellent. Thank you

  67. Suman January 29, 2018 at 22:14 #

    Great work , It fixed my problem too

  68. Samiur Rahman February 28, 2018 at 09:26 #

    This work for me. Thanks in helping profile loading issue.

  69. Ghamdi March 22, 2018 at 12:06 #

    man.. since Sep 2013 until recently people are still using your advice with happy results… thanX a lot

  70. Diego April 12, 2018 at 12:25 #

    Thank you! Your post help me.
    The Default Profile was Corrupt.

  71. Dusko June 15, 2018 at 17:44 #

    Many many thanks. That solved issue. Realy strange problem that for 15 years of my career i haven’t came accross.

  72. Dailen September 20, 2018 at 19:26 #

    Five years later, almost do the day. This did the trick when nothing else would.

  73. Marc B Morris November 14, 2018 at 07:48 #

    perfect deleting default user folder and replacing with working system folder worked. thanks

  74. Danimal January 10, 2019 at 22:33 #

    Late to the party, but man…… You saved my bacon
    I renamed the Default folder to default_old and copied it from another pc on the network
    After burning several hours mucking around in the registry, this was the simple fix

  75. Jake B May 6, 2019 at 16:45 #

    When this happened to me I copied the hidden “default” folder from C:\users on a working PC and renamed the “default” profile on the non working PC “default.old” I copied the “default” profile to the non working machines c:\users and rebooted. Was immediately able to log in.

  76. Steven Freist May 13, 2019 at 23:53 #

    I just want to thank the people that posted this fix. Thanks for that, it really helped me.

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