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User profile doesn't login to correct profile, new profile automatically created?

Posted on 2007-10-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I have a computer (running XP Home) someone has brought me that they had a "memory problem" with.  They were trasnfering pictures from their camera to it and it reported this problem and proceeded to crash.  They were unable to reboot the computer and called me.

I ran some diagnostics on the hardware (HD, RAM, etc) and then booted up the PC.  It booted fine for me, I logged into their profile, "USER NAME", and it turns out they are out of HD space (8MB remaining).  I looked to clear out some space, and it seemed that their My Documents and Desktop had practically nothing on them.  It looked like a new user's would upon first boot.

When I looked in the Documents and Settings dir to see what users there were, the current user (what I'm logged into) appears to be "USER NAME.USER-101", while there is another folder, "USER NAME", that has all their documents, pictures, etc., within it.

I tried to boot into Safe Mode to see if this other profile would appear on the login screen, and no luck, just Administrator (which is unused as well) and USER NAME, which boots into this seemingly new user.

HELP?  What can be done to get the "USER NAME" login to boot into the "USER NAME" Documents and Settings file?  We are adding a HD to help with the space issues, but why would it have done this?
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Question by:wukovits
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by:fmonroy
ID: 20103771
check the value at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Volatile Environment\HOMEPATH
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Expert Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 20104091
Have you tried running check disk?  Maybe a disk error is somehow causing this.

       chkdsk c: /r
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 20104093
My first suggestion would be to use GPARTED (or Partiton Magic) to clone them to a larger hard drive.  That would solve the space problem and let you have free reign on the copy.  Most users never learn how to deal with add on drives.
Next, I'll bet that what happened is that the drive was so full that it couldn't save the USER.DAT file when it was shutting down which it then corrupted and decided to apend the computer name because it couldn't open the original.  Regardless of the exact mechanism, you now have a bunch of registry entries pointing to "USER NAME.USER-101" and a new GUIID.
After you have cleaned up the space problem, your simplest fix is to use System Restore to before it got gescrewedefay; but, you ought ot do it in Safe Mode.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 20104345
Other options, are to transfer the contents from the old profile to the new one.

 
I hope this helps !
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by:wukovits
ID: 20104677
fmonroy:  The value is pointing to the USER NAME.USER-101 directory.  Would I just change it to where it should be (USER NAME) after I clear up some more space?

Crash2100:  I ran diagnostics on the disc, it appears to be fine.

DavisMcCarn:  The new HD we are putting in will be in addition to the current one as a storage space for their pictures and music.  We plan on keeping the existing 40GB for the OS install and program files.  Would I still need to partition it with this configuration?  Also, is there a way to find and replace entries in the registry to restore them to the original user path?  Or will a system restore take care of all of these headaches?  The plan is to install new HD, move pics and music (My Documents) over to the new drive, fix the user error, then remap My Documents to this new drive?  Any suggestions?

Thanks for everyone's input and I look forward to hearing back from you guys.
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Assisted Solution

by:fmonroy
fmonroy earned 800 total points
ID: 20105346
yes, get more space and backup the registry, then change the value to your correct profile folder and reboot...
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Davis McCarn earned 1200 total points
ID: 20105495
As long as you understand that E-Mail (Outlook or Outlook Express), Temporary Files, Favorites, and a host of others are still going to stay on the C drive, you should be OK; but, you had better be able to free up 10+ Gigabytes.
The other advantages to copying and resizing the partition is that the new drive will often be twice as fast as the older one, which gives the system a nice kick in the pants.
Now, fussing with the GUIID for USER NAME.USER-101 versus USERNAME is fraught with peril.  All of the stored passwords, e-mail, preferences, desktop settings, yada yada yada, are tied to the GUIID.  If the System Restore in Safe Mode works, everything will be back like it should be and you should delete the USERNAME.USER-101 folder afterwards.  If it doesn't, I would create a new user, login to it, setup the e-mail,import their address book and messages, copy over their favorites, change the My Doc's, My Pic's, and My Music locations to the new drive, then delete the old user in the control panel.
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Author Comment

by:wukovits
ID: 20106461
I'll give it a shot and post back with my results.

Again, thanks for the help!
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Author Comment

by:wukovits
ID: 20110095
Thanks for the help.  i was able to get it working with a combination of the strategies provided.

I couldn't do a system restore as there was no information in the new profile created (USER NAME.USER-101), but I was able to do a find in the registry (after backing it up) and replacing those values.

I then remapped the My Documents folder to the new drive I put in, and away we go!
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by:fmonroy
ID: 20110427
Excellent, thanks for the grade
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