Windows Vista always logs you on with a temporary profile?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.01.2008 at 08:33

If you’re facing problems logging in with your domain account to Windows Vista computer joined to a domain, and you’re wondering why you’re always getting logged on with a “temporary profile” on your Windows Vista computer, you need to read this post.

You’ve tried it all, deleting and recreating the profile, deleting the C:users%username% folder, etc. But the problem still remains.

This is because your domain user account is a member of either the Guests or Domain Guests local user group in the Windows Vista computer. Remove yourself from the group and feel the magic! 🙂

If that doesn’t work, here is another tip:

Open up Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionProfileList

You will find one entry for each profile. Check the following for the user account in question:

  1. Ensure the key name doesn’t end in “.bad
  2. Ensure the RefCount value is 0
  3. Ensure the State value is 0

Thanks goes to my colleague Georgee for this tip!

Modify a user’s registry hive without logging in

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.06.2007 at 13:35

ModifyProfile, an ingenious freeware tool written by Marty List, lets you modify the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry hive of any user on your machine, without requiring the user to login.

By design, Windows has a different HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive for every user that has a profile on the Windows computer. This is stored in the C:Documents & SettingsusernameNTUser.dat file in each user’s profile. This hive is “loaded” whenever the user logs in and is displayed in REGEDIT as the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive. Depending on which user is logged in, the hive is different, because a different NTUser.dat file has been loaded.

Sometimes an administrator needs to change a registry value in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive of many or all users who log on to a particular system. I’ve seen that adminsitrators are usually confronted with this kind of a challenge on Terminal Servers, where multiple users estabish remote desktop/terminal sessions, and a change/restriction needs to be made in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive of all users.

Instead of having to login to each user’s session or write a login script to make the change, the administrator can pick a time when no user will be logged in (because the NTUser.dat file should not be “in use”) and use the ModifyProfile tool from the administrator’s command line.

For instance, I can implement a registry change stored in a .reg file for all users, by using a single command like:

ModifyProfile.exe /PROFILE:ALL /REG:”C:TEMPChanges.reg” /KEYNAME:TempHive
and ModifyProfile will open each user’s hive and do the job!