I had a recent customer that was receiving "The user profile service failed the logon" error. This individual was using a Dell XPS 420 computer with Windows Vista Home Premium installed. This error can be potentially catastrophic.
However, I was able to help them fix this problem. Here is their question:
We have a computer with windows Vista home premium. It won't start up, it says "the user profile service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded".
When you click ok it logs off, then the small picture with the user initials is on the screen.
This computer was used for gaming purposes. This error can be a false positive or it can mean that your Windows profile has become corrupted. Here is my response.
You can power off that computer. Power it back on and immediately keep tapping an F8 key, until an advanced boot option menu opens. Choose "Last known good configuration" and see if it will boot normally.
If it does not, you can boot back into the F8 advanced boot options menu and try "Safe mode" and "Safe mode with networking". When booting into safe mode or safe mode with networking successfully, then try booting back into Windows Vista normal mode. If none of those choices fixes your issue I can help you run some system scans that may fix your problem.
This computer then suffered a blue screen.
There is a problem signature and additional information:
bcp1; (###) ###-####bcp2: (###) ###-####os version 6_0_6002
service pack: 2_0
None of those advanced boot options menu items fixed this problem. If you have another windows profile, you can try to login with that profile. This individual did NOT have a second windows login profile.
This individual was able to login with Windows safe mode. I had them issue this command"
I recommend that you run this command three times, especially if errors are detected the first time. A System File Check did NOT fix this problem. I could have recommended they run a chkdsk scan, but that may not fix the issue and would take quite a while to run.
However, I instructed them to try to login with the built in administrator account. They were NOT able to do so. I instructed them to enable the built in administrator account.
In a command prompt window, type in this command:
net user administrator /active:yes
You should see a message stipulating that that command ran successfully. Now logoff and reboot Windows into normal mode. You should be able to login with the administrator account.
You do NOT need to enter in a password as the built in administrator account initially has a blank password. You should be able to use your Windows Vista home premium computer like usual now. All your programs and the Internet should become available.
When it comes to potentially corrupt windows user profiles, I never waste time trying to repair them. You can create a new Windows profile and move over your user data. For example documents, music, favorites, bookmarks, videos, etc.
What fixed this problem was Windows system restore. You could try to perform a system restore back to before you were having this problem. Click on the "Start" button.
Type in "System Restore" in a search box. Choose "System Restore". Click "Continue" at User Account Control pop up.
Click "Next" in "Restore system files and settings" window. Now you should see a list of restore points. Pick a recent restore point back to before you were having this problem with your profile.
Click on "Next". Then click on "Finish" to start the system restore. Your computer will restart and Windows Vista will get restored back to the date and time you picked.
These instructions were written for a Microsoft Windows Vista home premium operating system. However, they could be used as basis points troubleshooting the same error on other Microsoft operating systems. For example Microsoft Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10.