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Alternative Method of Changing User's Assigned Groups?

Posted on 2004-04-24
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Hi...

I think an error has been introduced into my XP Pro SAM file, it seems one user is assigned to a group that doesn't exist.  It prevents the user from logging on, and I can't even edit the user's groups through the "Computer Management" tool.  It gives this error:

"The following error occured while attempting to read the properties for the user XXX:  The group name could not be found."

Anyone have any ideas about how I could reset the groups the user belongs to without going through the "Computer Management" tool?  Changing a user from "administrator" to "limited" in the "Users" Control Panel does not help.  Does the registry hold any of this information?  Is there a third-party tool I could try?

Simon.
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Question by:simoneast
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by:simoneast
ID: 10909925
[Follow-up...]
I guess I could restore a previous version of the SAM file from somewhere, but I'd don't want to do a full system-restore, nor go this route if I don't have to.  And I don't want to delete the user and create them again at the risk of losing their documents and settings.

Simon.
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sirbounty earned 500 total points
ID: 10909983
One method you could try -
Look in %systemroot%\repair - what's the date of that SAM file?

Boot into recovery console.
ren %systemroot%\system32\config\sam
then copy the one from %systemroot%\repair

Alternatively, if you want to rename the username and create a new username with the original one...
You should be able to copy the profile by right-clicking my computer/properties/advanced/user-profile's settings/Copy To
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by:simoneast
ID: 10910028
Yeah, I didn't think of that second option (well I guess I didn't think it would copy all settings) - but it seems to have worked.

I just renamed the old user, created a new user with that name and copied the old profile into the new user's "Documents and Settings" directory.  I noticed it didn't seem to copy the Outlook Express messages and folders though, so I copied those manually.  I haven't noticed any other differences yet, so it seems you've solved my problem.

On a side note, it seems the original account can now login successfully, but I still can't change the users' groups so I need to get rid of it anyway.

Thanks heaps!
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by:sirbounty
ID: 10910043
>>but I still can't change the users' groups so I need to get rid of it anyway<< How are you trying this?
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by:simoneast
ID: 10910129
How am I changing the groups?  Via the "Computer Management" console in WinXP.  I open the "Users" folder, and double-click a user.  As soon as I try and change to the "Member of" tab, it gives me that error message and closes the dialog box.

I should have said "I can't change the user's groups" (user singular) -- the error only applies to that one user, I can change groups for any of the other users fine (including the replacement account I just created).

I will probably delete the problematic account once I'm satisfied the replacement account has all the documents and settings moved across.  I hope it will allow me to delete it.

Simon.
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by:sirbounty
ID: 10910133
You might also try Start->Run->lusrmgr.msc
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by:simoneast
ID: 10910141
Yeah, I think that's the same as what you get in "Computer Management" (several snap-ins are just congregated there).  And yes, I get the same error.

Thanks for your suggestions though.
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by:sirbounty
ID: 10910142
OOps - misread how you were getting in there - most people choose control panel.
Try Start->Run->Control Userpasswords2
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by:simoneast
ID: 10910220
Oh OK - I've never seen that dialog box before, and it did list the main groups the user belonged to, but even after changing the group from that window the "Member of" tab under Computer Management still won't open.

How do you get to that dialog box normally?
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by:simoneast
ID: 10910233
(My Control Panel > Users has a more simple/friendly interface to dealing with users, that's why I use Computer Management)
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by:sirbounty
ID: 10910242
That's the only way I know of...just one of those hidden gems...
Must simply be a corrupt profile then.  Did you reboot afterwards?  Just curious...
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by:simoneast
ID: 10910651
No, I didn't reboot, dunno whether that would have an effect.  Anyway thanks for all your help, even after I awarded you the points.  It's pretty-much fixed.

Simon.
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