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Windows - Corrupt profiles

Posted on 2011-02-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Occasionally a user has problems and sometimes the fix is to redo their profiles because of the urban legend description - 'the profile has become corrupted'. How is that a profile gets corrupted? I understand how databases can be corrupted so what is that gets corrupted/causes corruption in a user's profile - the nt.dat file, too much garbage in their temp folders, a lot of big files on their desktop? Is there any tools that can be run against profiles similar to database 'integrity' checking/fixing tools that spots the problem and fixes it/makes recommendations?
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Question by:lineonecorp
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DezzyMelb earned 50 total points
ID: 34977650
Profiles can easily become corrupt when a user logs onto the computer and the computer takes a little while. Whilst the user thinks that the computer is doing nothing it may be trying to load the registry. If the user turns the computer off whilst it's still trying to load it corrupts the registry.
Usually it's the registry that become corrupt.
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by:Glen Knight
Glen Knight earned 150 total points
ID: 34977657
The reason for corrupt profiles are unexpected shutdowns whilst in the process of reading or saving the profile.

This could be caused by blue screen of death, power outage, manually turning the computer off
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by:Dave4125
Dave4125 earned 100 total points
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It is the ntuser.dat registry file that usually becomes corrupt. I've also seen Security permissions on the profile folder make it SEEM as though the profile is corrupt also. That solution just required logging in as an administrator and correcting the permissions.
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 34977746
Thanks for the info. I've read that UPHClean deals with these kinds of problems - can I run it as a service so it's on all the time checking/preventing these kinds of problems? Are there any programs that allow for automatic revision control of profiles e.g. each day backups of profiles are made and if there's a problem I can go back x number of generations depending on my retention setting?
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by:Glen Knight
Glen Knight earned 150 total points
ID: 34977758
UPHClean isn't supported in a Windows 2008 environment and development on that product has ceased.

The functionality is built in to the windows profile service but as with any file that is locked open for reading/writing if you crash the system there is a danger of it becoming corrupt.
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by:Dave4125
Dave4125 earned 100 total points
ID: 34979262
You might want to check the Event Viewer for errors that could be causing the corruption instead.
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 34989185
Do Roaming Profiles increase the chance of corrupt profiles? I haven't gathered statistics but I have the sense that the sites I have with Roaming Profiles have more corrupt profiles than those that don't.  
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 34989363
I used to work at a college where over 1200 users had roaming pridiots and we hardly ever had issues with corrupt profiles.
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Author Comment

by:lineonecorp
ID: 34989694
Thanks for the input. So once a profile gets corrupted, that's it - there's no real 'uncorrupt' tools like with databases and their rebuild index/integerity check tools? You just start from scratch and redo?
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by:ChiefIT
ID: 34990233
Is that the complete error, or does part of the error say the profile is either corrupt or can not be found.? Then, you get a temporary file to logon with that doesn't have anything within the profile.

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by:lineonecorp
ID: 34992646
I was asking if there were programs that 'fix' a corrupted profile other than UPHClean which doesn't work in my environment. When I say fix I mean in a way similar to let's say an accounting program that has a database that you run integrity checks on whenever you want to detect corruption and then if you do find corruption they have re-indexing and other techniques that fix the corruption.
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 35011346
Still responding?
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by:Glen Knight
Glen Knight earned 150 total points
ID: 35011372
I don't think there is anything similar to UPHClean, simly because it is no longer required as I said in previous posts it's built in to the Windows Profile Service now.
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