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whoops "profile cannot be loaded", recovery console won't rename!

pbhj
pbhj asked
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
So, don't ask me why ... I renamed my profile directory on my Thinkpad R40e (it didn't match my logon). Now Windows XP(SP2, nearly up to date) won't boot. I get a message "profile cannot be loaded" [OK]. This machine is set to login automatically in to the main user account. I don't get an option to login as admin instead - that would be far too sensible.

"Right" methinks reboot then use Knoppix to rename dir and that'll fix it. Ctrl-alt-del doesn't work for reboot so I have to hard reset (poweroff).

N-nh. Knoppix refuses to mount (using mount.ntfs, which is part of fuser) as the system reports the NTFS volume as dirty due to hard reset. Hmmm.

So I try the recovery console. Which doesn't allow access outside of a couple of directories. Except you can use "set AllowAllPaths = true". Except that only works if you login and change some obscure security setting first. So I'm stuck again.

Any thoughts?
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Commented:
boot up in safemode and logon as the administrator account.
Rename your profile and boot normally.

Author

Commented:
In my version of XP Home I can't get in to safemode without logging on. I don't get the option to log on as admin, it boots directly as user in safemode. I then have to logout and back in (as fast switching isn't started in safemode) to get an admin account. I thought that "F8 > Safemode with command prompt" might do the trick. But it still tries to load the GUI and gives the endless cycle of not finding the profile.

Thanks for the thought, I should probably have made this a bit clearer in the original question.
Top Expert 2006
Commented:
well why not go into recovery console and run chkdsk /r so the volume wont be dirty anymore and then run kloppnix.  If this is a no no then you could run nt offline password/registry editor to change or remove this registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

look for the AutoAdminLogon entry and change its value to 0 that should allow you to get the admin account in safe mode and do what you need to do.

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Author

Commented:
venom, thanks for that. I actually managed to fix it today. I ran chkdsk as you suggested from the recovery console. I then used Knoppix (having tried a few other recovery progs as bootable CDs) to "mountntfs -o rw /dev/hda1 /media/hda1" (IIRC).

This was the tricky part when I tried before I'd tried to copy -R (recursive) the  newly named folder to a new folder with the old name. But it failed (without really saying why) - I assume because of limitations of libntfs writing ability on Knoppix. What worked was to create the folder and then copy just the NTUSER.DAT file from the renamed folder into this re-created folder. I did this for both the username folder and for the Default User folder.

Funny thing is this then allowed me to log in with a (nearly) fresh desktop as "username" but with the docs & settings folder now called "username.HOSTNAME". Weird.

From there as you said it was a simple job to log out and back in as admin. System now takes forever to login / logout but I think there's an MS prog to help with this on the Windows site.

Top Expert 2006

Commented:
That's great i'm glad I could help you out just hope you learned a lesson in this adventure. lol HAVE FUN
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
O and to explain what it has done the computer cannot have 2 profile folders with the same name so once you create that folder it had to rename one of them so now you have your settings coming from one folder but docs and settings pointed to the original renamed folder thats pobably the reason for the slow login and log out it now has to access 2 different places to get the same info.

Author

Commented:
venom, any suggestions then on fixing that part as it would be the last bit of the puzzle. I was assuming it was chaff left in the registry and had noticed recently that MS have a cleanup tool - thought I'd use that. I am now, as you might imagine, a little reluctant to change any folder names!
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