Windows XP logs in then logs off

Mordanthanus used Ask the Experts™
Anyone seen this one??

Machine starts up normally, goes to the XP Home welcome screen.  I click on one of the two profiles and it starts logging into the profile, as soon as the wallpaper comes up, it immediately logs back out to the welcome screen.  It also does this in safe mode and also safe mode with command prompt.

Any clues??
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Hmm perhaps

How Do I Do a "Repair Installation"? 

How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP;en-us;315341

Visual aid to the above procedure
Click on How To Run a Repair Install

You May Lose Data or Program Settings After Reinstalling, Repairing, or Upgrading Windows XP;EN-US;312369

Data Loss May Occur After Reinstalling, Repairing, or Upgrading Windows XP;EN-US;312368
Top Expert 2004

Hi Mordanthanus,

Have you tried last known good configuration ? May be something is screwed. Try that and post back if it would function well. Did youdo any changes in your system recently ?

Check for virus and spyware in the system

Post back

Expert of the Year 2004
Top Expert 2004

Hello Mordanthanus =)

Did u activate the XP ??

CompTIA Security+

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Top Expert 2004

I am seeing the same problem on an XP system right after cleaning a virus. Click on profile to log in. Wall paper flashes briefly then logs me right back off. Anyone else seen this, any suggestions?
I have  a customers Compaq laptop with the same problem, only I can login under administrator in safe mode but that account only. I have scanned for viruses in another computer, but found nothing.

This really has me stumped. Please help! I cannot install service pack 1 either and my customer requires all his data in one piece. I want to avoid a repair install if possible.

I am having exactly the same problem. I try to log in with either my username or administrator and just logs out immediately. The same behaviour happens when I try it on safe mode. I've tried reinstalling windows (repair installation) several times but the same behaviour persists after. Any ideas?
I have just fixed this issue for a client with the same simptoms by doing the following: using ESD commander, I was able to edit the registry and change the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit key from a garbled value his broadband provider's software set, to C:\WINDOWS\system32\Explorer.exe, for WinXPPro, home may have a different location for Explorer.exe, but this is almost always the problem with that behaviour. Re-installing windows is almost never necessary in this situation, changing the registry has worked the 5 or 6 times I have seen this problem.

 If you have access to another computer to burn a disk, there are several options to modify the registry, such as .. google is your friend here.

 Good luck! This situation IS recoverable with a little work, without data loss.

        Andrew  Quinton
I just checked that registry key in two computers, one with the log on-log off behavior and one that works okay and in both that key has this value : "C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe," and not explorer.exe. There is no explorer.exe in the system32 directory.
I tried quintoncomputers solution and it worked for me. :D
Although I did a slight modification in his solution, to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit  i added "C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.exe," and not "C:\WINDOWS\system32\Explorer.exe,". Yes, including the comma.
Where do you find ESD Commander and how to use it??
Actually what he was referring to is ERD Commander from Winternals. . But any other product which you could use to edit the registry from an unbootable system will work.
Yes, I had an unfortunate typo there, ERD is spendy, but worth it, I am working on instructions on how to fix this with Open Source Software, but modifying the Windows registry from Linux can be a dangerous proposition, i should have complete instructions in a day or so (my wife is having a baby any day, so my computer interest is taking a back seat.)
Sorry, Here is a link to get you started  i have used it with basic admin pasword changes (via the CD-ROM ISO) but haven't delved into the registry to any degree yet. Good luck, I'll update when I can.

The free tool quintoncomputers mentioned worked well enough to show me the bad registry entry (wsaupdater.exe) that AdAware had removed. Then I went into Recovery Console to copy userinit.exe to wsaupdater.exe. Once back to the full version of Windows, I could fix the registry & remove the bad file again.
I am also having the same problem with Windows XP Home Edition.

I was wondering what free tool it is that you were able to use, DSoz?


I used the ISO to make the boot disk. That only allowed me to see the registry key that was bad, not fix it. However, as I mentioned, it was enough to let me know what to do to work around the bad key enough to get into Windows & fix it right.

I've checked a working xp pro sp1 machine and its path is
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit
with a value of "C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe,"

not "C:\WINDOWS\system32\explorer.exe. I changed an affected pc to the suggested setting but there was no difference the pc would still not boot.

Anybody else had this problem and managed to fix it when this fix hasn't worked??

i was wondering how you had the program search to see which registry value was bad. thanks

The value of 'userinit.exe' runs a program that does start-up tasks, THEN is SUPPOSED to execute c:\windows\explorer.exe, - viruses, worms, and plain poor programming can cause userinit.exe to not call explorer.exe , which is the actual windows user interface - that's why you see the desktop flash, then logout - there isn't anything specified to run as a user interface - My mistake on an earlier post was to specify 'c:\WINDOWS\system32\explorer.exe' - explorer.exe actually resides in c:\WINDOWS on XP - change the registry entry to 'C:\windows\explorer.exe,' and try that out. You may have other problems, but if you see the desktop flash then logout, this should at least get you in to where you can run antivirus and ad/malware detection software.

 Hope this helps,

I, too, ran into this problem last night; and thanks to the web and people like you, I was able to fix it.  

My problem occurred as I was installing R-DriveImage demo software (on an unrelated hard disk crash)... LavaSoft's Ad-Aware popped up and wanted to run, I let it.  Then I got a message that I needed to reboot (I wrongly thought it had to do with the R-DriveImage software.), I let it reboot... when it did, it logged on briefly to a blank desktop, then logged off to the Welcome screen with only an Administrator icon available.  Every time I would click on the Admin icon, the computer would log on and log off within a second or two.  I remembered that the R-DriveImage software had said something about needing Admin privileges (I am the only user on my machine so I had never set up either another user or input an Admin password.) so I thought maybe the password file had been corrupted... that eventually led me to PNordahl's   

I tried several times to change/reset to blank my Administrator password... no joy... finally realized, duh, that the password was fine... when I clicked on the Administrator icon at the welcome screen, it didn't say I couldn't log on, it logged on and immediately off!

That led me to this thread.  I decided to use the austrumi ISO disk image mentioned by quintoncomputers and to burn a bootable CD Rom.  (When it boots, don't take too long to type in nt_pass at the boot: prompt or it will continue to boot to a Latvian version of the Linux GUI, which does not appear to have a GUI version of a windows registry editor.)  

"nt_pass" apparently runs a linux script that eventually runs chntpw (change nt passord?) that appears to be a version of the same program created by pnordahl.  

The script will stop and ask you to hit enter to continue to load SCSI drivers, it then asked me if I wanted it to probe for SCSI drivers: [n], I took the default [n]o and hit enter.  Next, it asked what partition contains your NT installation, I took the default again, in this case [/dev/hda2] and hit enter.  Then it asked:  what is the full path to the registry directory, again select the default [windows\system32\config].  Next came the question, which hives (files) do you want to edit (leave default for password setting, separate multiple names with spaces), the default was [sam system security], I chose to type software and hit enter.

I then chose option 9 - registry editor.

A ? will get you a list of commands that are available, I used ls which appears to be equivalent to a DOS dir command... cd to change directories... cat to print the value of a key... and ed to change the value of a key.  

For instance (this is from memory, not notes... sorry) at the prompt [1020], type cd Microsoft and hit enter, then cd Windows NT and hit enter, then cd CurrentVersion and hit enter, finally cd Winlogon and hit enter (case is important).  

Maybe you could just type one cd Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon and hit enter... I don't know.  But it seems to be the registry equivalent of
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
At that point I typed cat Userinit and lo and behold, up came
C:\WINDOWS\System32\wsaupdater.exe... I don't know what company replaced userinit.exe with this entry, but I don't think I like them.  At any rate I typed ed Userinit and at the prompt [C:\Windows\System32\wsaupdater.exe] I typed C:\Windows\System32\userinit.exe and hit enter.

Then q to quit (you will be asked if there is something to save), q to keep quitting and y when it asks if you're sure you want to write the changes (careful, careful... good luck).  The program then dumped me out to a # prompt and said I could rerun the script if I typed a space followed by sh /script/main.rc

I removed the cdrom from the drive and rebooted to Windows XP, no problems.

Good luck all and thanks for the help... did I mention I hate computers?
thanks everybody who helped out, especially bmerritt. its all fixed and i had the same thing wsaupdater.exe. i have never had a problem with adaware but it might be a different program that caused it. i had just used spysweeper for the first time and most likely that is what caused it. oh well its fixed now. and thanks again to everyone.

Hi, I was having this problem and I still am. I can't even get in on Safe Mode. I have installed Windows for a second time and I wish to be able to use all my old setting. I don't know how to look at the registry for the 1st Windows that was installed so I can change the key. Can you help?
I had the same problem which stemmed from using Lavasoft's Ad-Aware and I found a very simple fix;

First off, boot your computer from your Windows XP restore cd/OS cd, when the menu comes up hit the R key to get to the recovery prompt.

The prompt should start off at C:\Windows. Type 'cd system32'. The prompt should now read 'C:\Windows\system32'

Type copy userinit.exe wsaupdater.exe


That did it for me. I'm not sure this will work for all cases, as mine stemmed from Ad-Aware deleting/replacing files. Hope this helps.

Matt Featherstone
Hi All,

I am facing same issue :

This morning, I was working on my laptop at my home. then while coming to  work, I just closed the lid and brought notebook to my workplace. (something which i do daily). When I opened the lid, it will not resume (from standby position). At that time I cold rebooted the machine. I get to login screen, but as soon as I log  in, I am logged out back to login screen. Happenes with all the users on the system.

What should I do in such a case? I can not use any of the tools described above as I simply can not login. Can this be a virus? If yew, how do i clean. I have antivitus but I never created a rescue disk.. :((



I had exactly the same problem after doing a repair on windows XP - i was going to copy the userinit.exe to  wsaupdater.exe, but it wasnt there.

I started the recovery console and then did expanded it from the windows xp cd

cd i386
expand userinit.ex_ c:\windows\system32

i was then able to get in to windows.

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions above.


Hi - just had the same problem with my son's laptop and Win XP; although since he doesn't have Lavasoft Ad-Aware installed, I can't blame it on Ad-Aware. Thank you for all of the ideas in this thread.  I fixed the problem by 1) booting to a Repair Console (IBM provides this on their laptops), 2) changing to C:\WINDOWS\System32, and 3) copying userinit.exe to wsaupdater.exe (there was no wsaupdater.exe present). I then 4) reboot into Safe mode and successfully logged-on as Adminstrator (for the first time in several days!)  Next step was to 5) edit the registry and change userinit in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon from "wsaupdater.exe," to "userinit.exe,"; 6)  final reboot and back to normal!  Thanks everyone.  --Rick Lewis--

Hey, I changed the registry key (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon) to 'explorer.exe,' from 'userinit.exe' which didn't fix the problem. I am unsure of what to do next. I'm running Windows Xp Home
tried this today on a client box - wsaupdater.exe was missing but referenced in the registry. copying userinit.exe over to it worked just fine. thanks
I Love clever people (compared to me thats most of you guys) I had this thing on friends pc
tried many things no joy :(   Friend had already had a play  :(

Any way long story short bmerritt thankyou for the noddys guide you are now adistinction
and pnordhal who has saved me many hours in the past with pass word changer should now be elevated to god status

thanks agian bmerritt/pnordahl you guys are way to clever for me

Just wanted to post a quick "thank you" to the solution providers for this topic.  It was helpful to me, as well.
I had almost the same problem, but I was so foolish to delete the entire Userinit Value !
Here is my solution for that ! :) Took a while to figure it out.

Boot with the Windows XP install CD-rom and go to the Recovery Console (pressing R)
Log on to the correct WINDOWS partition, normally the 1.
Go to C:\WINDOWS\system32\config
Give the command dir and you will see the hive called software.
Copy this "corrupted" hive to e.g. C:\software.bak using the following command:
copy C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\software C:\software.bak
This is to have your Software Hive / Registry handy to edit it later with the REG tool.

Now to get your system bootable again.....

Copy the REPAIR version of this SOFTWARE hive (kind of registry) to the operational location.
Do this with the following command:

copy C:\WINDOWS\Repair\software C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\software

Now a running SOFTWARE hive is copied to the operational location.
exit the Recovery Console using the exit command.

Reboot the system and see if the system starts.

If the system starts. you need to get the backed up software hive up and running

Open a DOS prompt
Use the command REG
REG LOAD HKLM\WRONG C:\software.bak

It should say import successfuly.

Now open regedt32 and Go to HKEYLOCALMACHINE and then WRONG
You will see that the entire SOFTWARE tree is located there....:)
Add the key as mentioned above Userinit type REG_SZ with the value as mentioned above
Don't forget the comma !

Now exit regedt32

Now save this WRONG subkey as a file again.
Open a DOS box again and use the REG command again to save the subkey.

Open the regdt32 again and delete the key WRONG, because it is not doing anything usefull.

Reboot the system with the Windows XP install CD
Go to the recovery console (R)

Now copy the new software hiv to the operational location:

copy C:\ C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\software

It will ask for overwrite,...choose Y ofcourse.

Your done ,... reboot the system and it should work.

Ronald van Dorp
worked for me as well.....
Paul SDesktop Support Manager / Network Administrator

my website has the solution also. For anybody who finds this page later.

Thank you quinton computers, bmerritt79 and Pizza Man - I was able to solve my log in problem!
Okay I tried what Bmerritt79 said and it appeared to work, it booted into the user account and I THOUGHT it was going then BAM! Logging off user.  WTF?!

Anyone else have this happen?
This may work for some of you, but is not the only solution cause I did everything in this thread and nothing worked.  I still log on and then get booted off right away.  
Looks like a Format C: and wipe the whole hard drive clean is the only true solution
Paul SDesktop Support Manager / Network Administrator

You copied the registry from the Repair folder and it didn't work? did you try editing the registry from a bootable disk? You can always do a repair install of xp and save some time. that way you don't have to backup data.

Pure genius.  I had the same problem on a Win XP Home laptop and used ERD Commander to edit the registry entry contemplated in this thread.  My problems began when I used Ad-Aware to remove tons of ad-ware / malware from the machine.  The winlogon value was set to "wsaupdater.exe" and I changed it to "C:\Windows\System32\userinit.exe" and all is good.

Thanks everyone, especially quintoncomputers!
I also have the logon / logoff problem but when I use the recovery console I have to select the windows installation (c:\windows). Once selected a password is requested  for safe mode admin account.  I have never assigned a password to that account.  How do I get to the point where I can  change to the C:\windows\system32 ditrectory and type "copy userinit.exe wsaupdater.exe"?

Thanks for the info from carbonmonoxyd
worked well and very simple thanks again
Quintoncomputers!!!! You are the man!  Thanks for your help.


G'day All!

Well, it seems that I get to join the crowd with this same sort of problem.  Six days ago I loaded the new Yahoo Toolbar - with anti-spyware and anti-adware - anyway when I rebooted the system I got an error message associated with "userinit.exe" and it would not bring up the logon screen.  I was able to access the system via Safe Mode with Networking and uninstalled the Yahoo Toolbar.  I tried to reboot but was getting the same error (userinit.exe).  Well, I ended up moving the file to the recycle bin and rebooted - after this point whenever I get to the signon screen it just says it's logging on, then logging off, saving my settings and then I'm stcuk at the signon screen.  If I try to get in through Safe Mode it just does the same thing and knocks me back to the signon screen.
I used a bootdisk and am able to bring up a C: prompt, but I'm stuck now.  I don't see any files named userinit.exe or wsaupdater.exe - CAN ANYONE HELP?  I'm about ready to just reformat the hard drive.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated - I'm not that comptuer literate so whatever advice you have please dumb it down for me.

Paul SDesktop Support Manager / Network Administrator

stick in your xp cd. boot off of it and go to recovery console. once there type:

expand d:\i386\userinit.ex_ c:\windows\system32\userinit.exe

then reboot.

or pull the file from another computer and get it on the system some how.

P.S. you might want to open a new question for this problem.

A coworker had same problem.  He called toshiba tech support and they had him install a parallel WinXP Pro :(

I followed bmerrit79's solution and I could not save - feature not supported.  His software hive is 19MB - maybe it is too big.

His Userinit key was set to C:\program files\comcast\security manager\app\securitymanager.exe

I booted into the parallel install and  copied userinit.exe from the parallel install to securitymanager.exe

Then I tried booting into the original and it seemed to hang on "loading your personal settings.....", but then it logged me in!

Now I have to figure out how to undo all the damage the parallel install did!
Hi All,

I also am experiencing this problem. I finally managed to change my registry setting (it was wrong) and could log in, however something still manages to change the "logon value" in the resgistry every time I reboot.
Any ideas as to what program could be doing that?
I cannot find any kind of virus so far.


Paul SDesktop Support Manager / Network Administrator

try following these steps to make sure your system is clean

I had the same problem with a remote machine at work....

The trick worked fine and fixed the problem....

However the machine was in a remote office so using ERD etc was not option. Luckly remote desktop was enable under windows XP which mean having ADMIN rights on the domain I could access the users C$ drive and copy the required file. Editing the regitery was done remotley using the standard regedit then using the connect to remote computer option.

After a reboot the problem was fixed! thanks for the info on this... life saver! Also handy to know that you can do it via remote desktop if you have admin rights!

Cheers Glyn

Ill add to the discussion as i had the same problem but a variation..

the userinit key in the winlogon was pointing to c:\windows\userinit.exe

i expanded userinit.ex_ from the c:\i386\ folder to c:\windows\system32\userinit.exe

before i did that i renamed the userinit.exe userinit.old as a safety precaution

it seems that the key is that, the  userinit key is supposed to point to the userinit.exe file or whatever file is loading the desktop and explorer.exe etc

just additon hope this helps someone else
Thank you everyone who contributed to this thread (esp bmerritt79 who gave us a very helpful rundown on editing the registry).  I changed the relevant key to "C:\windows\explorer.exe" and sorted the problem.  Thanks all!

Thank everyone, this helps me to resolve my problem i get the ERD and i change the key in the registry, but the change i have was:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Value: Userinit
Data: c:\WINNT\userinit.exe, %SystemRoot%\:iProtect.exe

this what i have, i delete de data and change it for:
Data: c:\Windows\System32\userinit.exe,

Top Expert 2013

I would like to say thanks as well.
The key on my system was missing altogether. Replaced using BartCD and Bingo!.
Just adding my experience with a similar problem (logging on then being logged off again straight away) and my problem was different from the registry keys mentioned earlier. I cloned a laptop harddisk using an external USB box on a different machine and when the image restored the drive was locked in a wrong drive letter (which gives problems with windows, see )
The solution is to boot from a Win98 startup disk and run fdisk /mbr
This will rewrite the Master Boot Record even if it cannot see the HD because it is NTFS. THis resets the GUID an you're able to log on.
Strangely, i tried this with XP's recovery console fixmbr command which did not work.
Hope it helps for those who stumble on this page like I did where the regkey is not the problem (not spyware related)
Oh this is killing me! :) I too have the momentary Log-on/Log-off

This is what I've tried so far.....

Copied userinit.exe to wsaupdater.exe - SameThing

Replaced the userinit with one from another, working, computer and copied that to wsaupdater - SameThing

I created a BartsPE disk with the RegEdit plug-in as described on "paulscomputer" page.

When I edit the registry it says userinit is X:\i386\system32\userinit.exe,
I change it to C:\Windows\system32\userinit.exe,

But it doesn't save some how.... When I go back it's back to "X\i386"
It looks to me like That key is from the Barts disk, where a \i386\system32 DOES exist
What's with this "X" stuff?? ;)

Is there a way to point the Registry Editor to another place?

Am I doing something wrong?

If I try to import a copy of the last Good registry, I can't find where it resides...

I've come, Paid-Up for a month just trying to resolve this and frankly, don't see much here I didn't find on my own :(

OK, a little history - WinXP Home OEM SONY VAIO desktop. Giant said Nero was trying to make some changes, I uninstalled - ran "RegDoctor" to clean up any Nero keys left over. I uninstalled RegDoctor. I shutdown. Next Day - I'm in trouble!

ANY help would REALLY be Appreciated.....
Hi JohnGault121,
As this question is already answered you might consider posting a new question that describes your situation to bring it under the experts attention. Last Known Good Configuration is probably not going to help but is an option on the same screen where you can start the PC in safe mode. Good luck.

I had this log on/Log off issue in the following way.

a. When I log in direclty on the XP Pro Desktop it logs on fine.

b. But when I try to log on from another computer on the same network using remote log on it used to log on and then log off after a brief flash.


I inspected the settings in the key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
        1.0 Userinit         --> This was mapped correctly to C:\Windows\system32\userinit.exe,
        2.0 AllowMultipleTSSessions  --> In the faulty computer this was set to 0x00000001(1)
                                                        I changed this to 0x00000000(0)
        3.0 ShowLogOnOptions   --> In the faulty computer this was set to 0x00000000(0)
                                                        I changed this to 0x00000001(1)

After the above change it worked for me. I was able to log on remotely without the problem stated in b.

Anybody know how to get the console running if you do NOT HAVE an XP cd?  I have a laptop that came with XP bundled and with a recovery cd... the recovery cd doesn't have any obvious XP cd in it.

Incidentally, I found a great tool set for registry editing and much more at  Nice password reset tool as well and it boots from CD or Floppy+CD for older bios.  It's all linux based so if you're handy with a unix prompt, you've got full access to your system.

My system was fine until I failed to respond correctly to the Windows File Protection dialog.  How COULD I insert my Windows XP SP2 CD when I was never given one?

I checked in system32 and now there are only 33 .exe files... compated to 334 .exe files on my other PC.  Hmmmmm.....
I had the same problem with it:

I tryed to fix again , and it didn't work!! So , look what I did:

Insert Windows XP CD
recover console  = R
which windows (1)
then i've typed : cd system32

then I've Typed:copy userinit.exe wsaupdater.exe

it gave me an error
Few months ago I've had this problem and I could fix using these strings ;
How can I do now? I can't log on ..
i had this problem a while back and was able to fix it with the help of this forum, but i later found out that the best and easiest fix is to get rid of windows and move to mac. that's what i idid and haven't had one problem since.
its definitely the best choice since you are mac friendly user.. I don't know a single command for mac. I wish I knew!!! Thank you anyway!!
by the way how did you fixed it????
Top Expert 2013

This post has been closed for quite some time. You would be best to create a new posting. Likely get more responses.

kaseylongwood and e_giancarlo:

It's true... I installed Linux on most of my computers.  It has taken me a year or so but now I'm just as expert with Linux as I was with Windows.  I downloaded a "brand" of linux called GENTOO - just because it is the hardest one to learn.  It comes basically as a bootable CD full of source code.  Daunting at first, but soon you know the operating system intimately.  And it's amazing...  And it's secure...  And it's free!

Once you switch, you'll never, ever go back.

Most of my clients are now running one Linux machine each... just to see how it "feels".  It certainly doesn't hurt that all of the software is free AND that you can still use those old P100 machines.

Just imagine... the beauty of a Mac with the stability of Linux... hhmmmmmm....

Non-administrator users on my WinXP Home Sony Vaio laptop get logged off immediately after they log in. My registry key points to the right place (userinit.exe,). I also tried changing the value of the Winlogin\Userinit registry key to notepad.exe and it started opening Notepad for Admins as expected, but for non-admins it still logs out immediately, without ever bringing Notepad up. Something must be causing it to log out before it even hits the Userinit registry key. If I switch the regular user into an Admin user account, they can log in normally, when I switch them back to regular user, they can no longer log in.

I also tried cleaning Application, Security and System event logs and that didn't help.

What else should I do? I do not have a Windows XP installation CD as the Sony Vaio laptops don't come with one (cheap bastards, how much would that reduce their profit? 50c?)

..hmm.. did the copy thing & the registry thing (there was no Useinit in Winlogon [???] so I added it) but no luck. It flashes the background image (desktop) and logs off as soon as I try to log in. :(
Hello all,
     I have been reading all the post and thank everyone for the answers they provied but as others have stated they did everything posted and nothing seemed to work.  
     Well the solution I found to be the answer is this, you need to take a copy of the Userinit.exe file from a WinXp working machine and copy it into the C:\WINDOWS\System32 directory of the machine with the problem.  The problem is that the removal programs now take the entire program out of the OS but leave the path in the registry.  Fixed all 6 machines that I have on my bench with the same issue.  Seems that the removal of the XP Anti 2008 trojan can cause this issue to arise once again...  Hope this helps.

This prob is caused by 2 different reasons:

1.  No or missing userinit location in the registry
2.  Corruoted user profile

To fix it, you MUST first try to access your registry on the hardrive.  you can do this with numerous software listed above or by connecting the hardisk to another system and loading the SOFTWARE hive and then browsing to the appropriate registry key and adding or changing the usernit key to the right location.

If due to corrupt profile. you must connect the hardrive to another computer and run a scandisk(chkdsk) repairing all errors on the drive.

You could do both, just to be sure.  Good luck

What's the point? It's easier to use a new user profile rather than take things apart..



Well, the idea is, you won't be able to create a new profile if you cant logon (the prob this thread focuses on) due to your whole Documents and Settings (D&S) Folder being corrupt.  In that vain, if ur prob is due to a corrupt (D&S) Folder then u must first run a chkdsk to fix the error.

There was a situation once where after running chkdsk on the drive the whole D&S Folder was repaired one of those chkdsk repair folders, all I did was rename it and voila...

That's not a problem. There was a second account working and all the relevant documents and emails from the old account were copied over without problem..


My brother had spyware issues. I ran the geek squad MRI on it. Now its doing this logon loop. I went to regedit on the MRI cd because i can't get into normal or safe mode. His key is set to "X:\windows\system32\userinit.exe," . I've tried changing the X to a C and I've tried doing the copy userinit.exe to wsaupdate.exe. I've also tried using the userinit.exe from a non affected pc. It looks like theres a X:(Boot) partition that has windows files in it. I don't know if thats from the spyware or if its something HP does. Also when I go back into regedit after trying to log in again its set back to X:\ and not C:\. Not sure what to do. Any thoughts?

log on/off loop
Same symptoms, no AdAware.  Internet Protection 2010 Infection (or funweb ro myweb) seems to have detected the install of Norton and decided to get nasty.  It deleted the Winlogon registry value.  Using ERD's regedit I was able to add the value (userinit.exe,)  then rename the folder "C\:Program Files\InternetProtection2010" to "junk"  and it booted OK, ready to be disinfected.

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