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Windows 7 User accounts not accessible or not able to create a new User account.

Posted on 2014-01-15
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Last Modified: 2014-01-17
Since July we have been having some serious problems with Windows 7 computers.  Both 32 and 64 bit machines.

This appears to happen during initial setup of either a new computer or a computer which has had Windows re-installed.
The same person does all this work and doesn't know what must be going wrong re: the steps he takes.  I've reviewed it briefly with him and nothing strange is being done nor jumps out.
Each computer has at least 2 Users set up - both Administrator accounts.

After a computer is set up, it may remain unused for a week or two.  
Then, when it's worked on next, this happens:

Log in with any User/Administrator
Go to Manage Accounts.
See no accounts in the dialog.

In one case I was suspecting a corrupted profile and decided to create a new one.
I don't recall what I saw but I was not able to create a new account.

The solution so far has been to reinstall Windows 7 - not very satisfying.
What I'd really like is a method to fix this rather than to reinstall Windows.  If only I knew what "this" is!!
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Question by:Fred Marshall
11 Comments
 
LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39784648
When you reinstalled Windows do you also apply the service pack
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39784654
Had anything changed in your group policy?  Have you run a query etc against the offending machine to see what's been applied?
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 39784765
After a computer is set up, it may remain unused for a week or two.
Is the date and time correct?
Cmos battery ok?
If the cmos battery looses time or not charged correctly windows will start to forget things.
Is it powered off or in standby?
How old is the system?
Especially the HDD?
Windows up to date?
I'd say it's the system itself. Leaving a system off for several weeks could cause the system to have serious issues if there is updates not done schedualled scans not performed and the system may simply get osteoarthritis like symptoms, can't getup and go anymore no power.
Any events errors?
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Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 39785200
If the PC is setup connecting to a domain, it may well have no local user accounts and that can leave you in a pretty pickle if, for whatever reason, it can't connect to the server.

Since it still boots, in an elevated CMD window, type:
net user administrator /active:yes<enter>
Logout and the administrator should be able to login and let you create user accounts.

When you're done, do it again and change yes to no, disabling the admin account.
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Expert Comment

by:cantoris
ID: 39786772
What happens when you try and make a local account?
Do you get an error message?  Does an error appear in the System Event Log?
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39787427
We have come a step further.
All of these computers are intended to run a particular application.
The installation of the application includes making the following change:
DCOMCNFG
Expand Component Services
Expand Computers
Right click on My Computer
Select Properties
Select Default Properties Tab
In Default Authentication Level pulldown:
- the default value is Connect
- change it to None.

Reversing this change seems to fix the problem but we're told that the app won't work without it.

Now, I don't know zip about DCOMCNFG.
BUT we have one Win 7 64 machine where the setting remains at "Connect" and the app starts up fine (whereas it seems if it's not "NONE" then the app generally won't start.

So, this gives me some hope that there may be a workaround that's better than doing this:
- Change the DCOMCNFG setting to Connect
- Do whatever's needed with User Accounts.
- Change the DCOMCNFG setting back to NONE
This works but isn't entirely satisfying and my suggest there are going to be other issues.

This all works OK with Windows XP.  It's Windows 7 that seems to be affected.
I would really like to try something better but our knowledge of the app is nil.  We have no control over it either.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Rob Jurd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39787525
Rather than specifying the whole computer with the dcom security, you should be able to find the specific application in the lower nodes of the tree. could try seeing the security specifically to your app
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Author Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39787739
Rob (tagit):  I recall doing something like that when I was setting these up so I've made that suggestion.  I think I know exactly where to make the setting.
We'll see.
Good suggestion!
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39787747
Good luck :)
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Author Closing Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 39789668
We found instructions for some registry edits for the particular app to replace the change to DCOMCNFG.
Some of our computers were set up that way. More than one.
Interesting that the symptoms were rather different so I didn't connect things right away.
Thanks for the hint!
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 39789673
No problem-.-thanks for the points
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