Windows 7 “User profile Service failed the logon”

I have had two of these in the last two days. Maybe coincidence but it is very strange. Neither system showed any sign of viruses or other malware.

Here’s how to fix it proving your registry has a profile backup (which it should)

  • Start the system and keep tapping f8 key before you get to the Windows screen

You should now see this screen. If not reboot and try again.


  • Move the selection to Safe Mode with command prompt and press Enter

The system will now boot and provide you with a black window where you can type in commands.

You will now run the Windows registry editor to change the corrupted profile to the backup profile and vice versa.

IMPORTANT: tampering with the registry is very low level so I’d recommend backing up the registry first if you have access.

  • In the command window type regedit and press enter

You should now see the registry editor open.
Note: a backup of the registry can now be done if required. This is available in the Registry menu.


  • Click on

You will need to drill down to this folder. So you click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE then SOFTWARE then Microsoft etc; until you get to the ProfileList

In this view you will see a series of folders starting S-1-5


You will probably see more than one directory with a long number similar to


One of these will be the same number but with a .bak at the end


What we are going to do next is swap the names of these two –

First of all we have to ensure that the one we are changing is the correct folder for the user profile that is corrupted.

  • To do click on the long number and look in the right panel
  • Double click on ProfileImagePath and you will see the name of the profile that this relates to.
  • Now click on the file without a .bak and rename it (right mouse button) so that it has the same file identifier but add a .OLD to the end. So in the example above the old file now becomes
  • Now click on the file ending in .BAK and remove the .BAK ending to this file using rename so it now becomesS-1-5-21-943925536-302928225-3265300209-1001
  • Go back to the file you changed to .OLD and rename it so that it ends in .BAK, instead of .OLD. So it looks like this
  • Click on your file that no longer has .BAK, so the one showing similar toS-1-5-21-943925536-302928225-3265300209-1001
  • In the details panel double click RefCount
  • In the values box type 0 (it may already be zero)
  • Click OK
  • Now double clcik on State
  • In the values box type 0 (mine showed a different value)
  • Click OK
  • Close the Registry Editor
  • Restart the computer

You should now be able to login to the system.

Post Note: Just found a longer version of this fix, with a little more detail, on the Microsoft Support site at

Hope this helps

Taff Lovesey (fantasy novels)

About taffybach

Author of the young adult fantasy novel series, The Portal Chronicles, including The Spider Gem and The Shimmering Gate. When not writing and promoting Taff runs a small IT support company, LITES PC based in Bourne UK.
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One Response to Windows 7 “User profile Service failed the logon”

  1. Mandi Plummer says:

    I have just completed this fix and it worked, amazing Taff, thanks very much, greatly appreciated

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