User Accounts Tool will not start in Windows XP

Posted on 2005-04-18
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have just installed Windows XP + SP2 on my newly formatted hard drive. I created just the one user (myself) for the computer. My system works OK, but when I tried to open User Accounts, it returns the message "The current user account is not recognised restart the computer and then open User Accounts". After restarting the computer and logging on as myself, if I restart User Accounts, then I get the same message again. In addition, I cannot log on as Administrator, since it needs a password, howver I have not set any passwords. I have tried to do a Windows repair, but this has had no effect whatsoever.
Question by:ianpaterson
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Kill SP2 and try again: you might end up discovering, like many others, that installing SP2 is asking for trouble.


    Author Comment

    I take it by "kill", you mean remove?
    After doing the Windows repair, will this have removed SP2 anyway?
    By the way I had SP2 installed on my previous installation, and did not have this probelm then.

    Regards Ian
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Well, if it worked before, it should work now (presumably).. May I ask why did you uninstall? Some corruption in your HDD?

    Last resource would be to reinstall your whole thing again..

    Could you post the EXACT error message?

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    lets have a go at fixng it first lol ianpaterson
    your profile is it administrator as well?

    The idea of having a password is to prevent people without it from using the computer or from logging on as the Administrator, so, understandably, it isn't easy to recover from this situation, but you'll be glad to know that it can be done.

    can you get into safemode? pressf8 at the boot up
    If the computer has only one user account defined and that user has no password, the logon should happen automatically. The feature is called auto-logon.
    If that isn't the case, the best way to enable auto-logon is to enter the command control userpasswords2 in the Start => Run box.
    Click OK. Doing that opens a Control Panel window that is visible under User Accounts in the Control Panel in Windows 2000 but is hidden in XP's Control Panel - most of the time. For some unknown reason, in some XP systems, it is visible there.
    Anyhow, entering the above command in the Run box opens it in both versions of Windows.

    Uncheck the box that has Users must enter a username and password to use this computer beside it. Click the Apply button to bring up a window that has the entries for the user name and password that you want to use. Thereafter that user will be logged on automatically every time Windows XP starts up.

    Should that method fail to work, editing the Windows Registry is called for. If you have no experience of doing this, make sure that you can restore your system from backups, etc., should you make an error that renders Windows unbootable.

    Enter regedit in the Start => Run box and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE => Microsoft => Windows NT => CurrentVersion => Winlogon. Under the Winlogon key the following string values should appear:

    AutoAdminLogon [Give it a value of 1 by right-clicking on the entry and clicking Modify]

    DefaultUserName [Set it to an existing user name]

    DefaultPassword [Set it to the password for that user]

    If any of the above don't exist under the Winlogon key, right-click on it and click New => Key => String Value and enter the missing value. E.g., AutoAdminLogon.

    Thereafter that user will be logged on automatically every time Windows XP starts up.

    If you want to override this default login to enter a different user name, just press one of the two the Shift keys as Windows starts up. This overriding ability can itself be prevented by adding another string value under Winlogon called IgnoreShiftOverride, which should be given a value

    You could simply create a new user profile with administrative privilages then follow this proceedure outlined above. And once its all done remove any other profiles.

    Note well that if Windows XP Pro has been set to use encrypted folders, resetting the password will render them inaccessible because they can only be decrypted if the original password is used to access the system.
    try the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor from It looks complicated but when mastered it does the job well and is available as a bootable floppy disk or as a bootable CD. You can also use it to edit the Windows Registry.

    If that is of no use, you can try using the Emergency Boot CD from It is capable of resetting the Administrator password.
    If your willing to try this do so at your own risk but please dont do these unless you know what your doing. Sincerely M

    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    personally I'd start by resetting your admin password so you can log on there *very useful, try adjusting accounts in there..

    Download this ISO and burn it to cd with nero or similar cd burning software

    Are you running home or pro? If home you can only log on as administrator under safe mode

    Try creating or adjusting new accounts from there..

    dont forget you can add/delete user accounts through system properties in the control panel under the advance tab >> user profiles

    create a new admin account there if you can and make changes, otherwise somthing is corrupt :(

    then start looking into SFC /Scannow

    Author Comment

    I did a fresh install of XP after finding out that I had a boot sector virus! I could not even read from the HDD using a bootable XP system-on-a- CD, all i got was "disk read error". I managed to repair the boot sector (easy enough really), and recovered my own important data, but my HDD would still not boot, I did a sector check using a Western Digital utility, with no bad sectors reported, therefore I reformatted the HDD and did a fresh install with SP2. I have not checked my HDD for errors, since the fresh install; I will do this tonight.

    The EXACT error message is as previuously stated, i.e. "The current user account is not recognised restart the computer and then open User Accounts", this appears in a small window on top of the User Accounts (blank) window.

    If I log on as Administartor, and if I can find out the password, do you think that the User Accounts tool will recognise the Administrator? Why has there been a password allocated to Administrator? Can I find out what the password might be?

    If I have to reinstall XP again, then I will do this, but I would prefer to try and sort the problem, rather than resort to this.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    "The current user account is not recognised restart the computer and then open User Accounts" returns 0 hits on Google.. That's highly uncommon for an error message..


    Author Comment

    I am using XP Home.
    I will try your suggestions at home tonight.

    Regards, Ian
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    what did you save from the previous windows?
    Did you save your user account as part of this important data you wanted to keep?
     I was just wondering if your trying to access any old user accounts from the previous windows installed.
    If you had an infection I am just wondering if you have carried it over to now.
    I am getting puzzled information from you.
    So my question is this>
    you found a boot sector virus and so did a fresh install of xp not a recovery?
    You were then able to access the hdd  enough to recover your own important data? <<< here, it sounds like you were able to access the hard drive ok. But then in the next instance you say that your hdd was unable to boot?
     So what time frame are you referring to when you get this error now regarding User account??
    These are important so that I can pin down when your problem started and what may have caused it.
    If your attempting to access anything from before like a user account of course this would make sense then. That User account i would dare to say is obsolete if you have just done a fresh instal.
    Lol You should be on this side.
    The more info you offer the better we can help ;)

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    See if secound User Accounts manager starts.

    From START "run" type
    control userpasswords2
    and then enter.

    Author Comment

    Sorry for the confusion guys, I will try to explain-
    After discovering that I could not read from my HDD, I attached it as a slave to a Windows 2000 machine, where Windows 2000 automatically made the HDD readable (I couldn't tell what it was doing, since the text was scrolling so fast, but it repaired a lot of files and took about 20-30min). I then copied the contents of My Documents folders to a CD; these contained photographs, Word docs, etc. I then erased the entire HDD with VAIO Drive Eraser, and then did a fresh install of XP after formatting the drive with the XP CD.

    I can log on as my new user name (with no password) no problem.
    I have run SFC /Scannow, but this had no effect.

    For about a week, my machine booted straight into Windows, but then all of a sudden the log on screen appeared when I booted up, however I can still log on no problems so far. It was only when I tried to open User Accounts for the first time, that I discovered this error.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    If you want to booted straight into Windows again.

    Click Start, click Run, and type control userpasswords2.
    This is a shortcut instead of having to click on Start -> Control Panel -> User Accounts.
     Uncheck the "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer" check box.
    Click Apply.
    Enter the user name and password you wish to automatically log on with, and then click OK.
    Click OK again and you're all done.
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Hi ianpaterson thanks for the feed back, I was pretty close in my observation lol ;) I knew you must have done something like this.
    ok please post back what do you see in>> C:\ drive- documents and settings> eg. There could be folders like Administrator, All Users, Default User, Local Service, ianpaterson folder,
    is there by any chance a folder from your previous accounts?
    try opening each one of these from here anyway and see if one causes an error when attempting to open.
    Can you remember if you saved off a profile from the previous hdd contents before the format?
    So when you access the accounts from control panel User Accounts is this where you encounter the error?

    Author Comment

    Hi guys, sorry for the delay in getting back, but I've got a lot of commitments at home, meaning I find it difficult to sit at my computer at night. Anyway, where were we:

    I can get into Safemode no problem, and I can get into User Accounts via control userpasswords2, however, if I uncheck the "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer" box, then after a normal reboot, XP does not automatically log me on, it returns the error "Unable to log you on because of an account restriction". I don't think I'm brave enough to edit the Registry yet, I'd rather try other avenues first, however if I do have to edit the Registry, then I will.

    Strangely enough, I can now get into Safemode via auto-logon no problem.

    I can access User Profiles through System Properties via Control Panel, and it lists the users as Administator, Ian, jif, and SUPPORT_38894590; I have not tried to change anything here.

    Here's what I can see in C:\Documents and Settings; Administrator, All Users, Default User, Ian, jif, SUPPORT_38894590. jif was the account I had originally set up, I set up Ian when I did the repair Windows (remember I could not log on using jif), however I know nothing about SUPPORT_38894590. None of these accounts are from my previous installation. I can open all of these folders without an error. I did not save a profile from my previous HDD contents. I get the "The current user account is not recognized restart the computer and then open User Accounts" (note the "z" in rcognized) when I try to open User Accounts from the Control Panel.

    Best Regards, ianpaterson
    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    Greetings Ianpaterson good to hear from you,
    Who owns the USER account? Lets look at the name of the actual machine what name is it regestered to? Rightclick my computer properties. Create an account for this name and make it the administrator.

    You know you can start again completely from start and create a new profile  ie account for the regestered user of the machine and then one for everyone.
     Import all the personal stuff including the emails of course and then delete all the others.
     that SUPPORT_38894590  account may have been created for remote assistance and may be the password  logon problem..
    Remove Login Password xp sp2
    Follow this step to remove it.

    1. Go to Control panel
    2. Click administrative tools
    3. Local Security Settings
    4. Click Minimum password length
    5. Reduce it to 0, No password required
    6. Go to user account in control panel click your account and remove password.

    This will disable the password feature.

    Try this tweak ithas great tools one on using the auto login.
    Tweak UI v1.33,fid,2803,00.asp

    Run a anti virus check of your machine just to be on the safe side try this panda online its very thorough

    Author Comment

    Hi Merete

    The name of my computer is main, it is regitered to JIF, who is set up as an Administrator (as are all users).

    You said "You know you can start again completely from start and create a new profile", do you mean re-install XP or?

    I followed your steps to remove login password, but Local Security Settings is missing from Administrative Tools; what I can see in Administrative Tools is Component Services, Computer Management, Data Sources (ODBC), Event Viewer, Performance, and Services, I had a look at all of these, and none contain Local Security Settings.

    So, I could not remove login password using your method above.
    However, I did download, install, and use the Tweak UI tool, and low and behold this worked- fantastic!!!
    I can now switch on my machine without the log on screen appearing (it also boots much quicker).
    I also used the Panda online scan you suggested, and it did find a worm- Downloader.GCD- this was not found using Norton Anti Virus, although this only appeared on my computer (according to the Panda report) 3 days ago (24.04.05).

    My initial query was that the User Account Tool did not work, and it still does not work. I feel that if I have this error, then something is not quite right, and I still cannot log on as the original user (jif) or Administrator either, so something is still not quite right there either.

    Although I am now ecstatic that I can now boot up my machine as I originally intended, I would still like to sort out this accounts/User Accounts Tool problem- what would you suggest?

    Best Regards, ianpaterson

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