TechTips – How to Fix the Vista Logon Error

Fixing the Vista Logon Error

I don’t know how many times I have had to fix this issue in Vista but it’s a real nightmare. I can’t tell you exactly what causes this error to happen, some people think it’s because a user renamed their user name folder (C:\users\(your profile name here). Others have said that it’s caused by a person or program manually deleting the user profile, which thankfully isn’t taken out of the Registry and is what allows us to fix this common error. Whatever the case follow these simple steps and you will be logged back in to your computer in no time.
1. First make sure you are logged in as an administrator, if you aren’t then login as the admin.

2. Click Start.

3. In the Search bar (white text box that says start search) type in Regedit and hit enter.

4. In the registry (be careful in here it can cause issues you make mistakes in the registry) you will want to navigate to the key.

a. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

5. Once in the Key you will want to find the SID entry with .BAK on the end of it and click on it.

6. Now you will want to find the ProfileImagePath and make sure it’s your user account (there may be more than one SID with .BAK on the end of it, make sure you are fixing the right one.

7. Now above this key with the .BAK there is probably an identical key without the .BAK on the end, it might not be directly above, but find the other identical SID without .BAK.

8. Ok so now you have two SIDs one with BAK and one without, right click on the one without the .BAK and choose RENAME.

9. At the end of the long number put .OLD (should look like 1234.OLD) and hit enter.

10. Now right click on the SID with the .BAK, and choose RENAME.

11. Remove the .BAK and hit enter

12. Now go back and rename the other SID with .OLD to .BAK and hit enter.

13. Now you will want to go to the option within your SID without the .BAK and choose RefCount and click Modify. (If RefCount isn’t there add it by right clicking and adding a DWORD RefCount)

14. The value for RefCount should be a 0 if it is you can leave it, if not change the value to 0, and if you had to create it of course set the value to 0 if the default isn’t 0.

15. Now choose the option State and set the value to a 0.

16. Close the registry

17. Reboot and logon with the previously broken account

Once you have done all of the above and the computer has rebooted you should be able to logon with the account that was giving the error message. If for some reason the registry fix doesn’t work there is another option but it means deleting the user account and losing any and all data contained in the account. The steps to delete the account are very similar, check them out below.

1. First make sure you are logged in as an administrator, if you aren’t then login as the admin.

2. Click Start.

3. In the Search bar (white text box that says start search) type in Regedit and hit enter.

4. In the registry (be careful in here it can cause issues you make mistakes in the registry) you will want to navigate to the key.

a. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

5. Now the key probably won’t have .BAK so you will want to click on the SIDs until you find the one with your profile name in it under ProfileImagePath if it is the same as your user account then this is the one you want to delete.

6. Before you delete this key make sure you back it up just in case. To do this right click on the SID and choose Export. Save the file someplace safe like an external USB or another hard drive or disk. (To restore this backup, simple right click the file and choose Merge)

7. Now right click the SID for your profile and choose Delete, you will be prompted to make sure you want to do this, click YES, and you are done.

8. Now just create another Admin account, reboot and logon with the new user name and password.

Simple enough, but keep in mind the second method is going to get rid of anything that was in the profile previously. So only do the second step if you are sure you want to get rid of what was in the user’s profile.

I hope this guide comes in handy for anyone dealing with this Vista Error.