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Fixing a TEMP Profile in Windows Vista

When logging onto a Vista workstation, you are presented with a TEMP profile. This usually happens in an environment that stores user profiles on a remote location, such as a server. With local profiles (those that reside on the workstation itself) you don’t normally run into this issue. Microsoft has recommended against using roaming profiles on servers.

You can normally figure out that you have a temp profile if you do not see your normal desktop, icons, etc. Your desktop background and icons are all generic, just as if you were logging on for the very first time.  Also, if you had Microsoft Outlook configured, you may find that you will have to reconfigure Outlook again. If you checked the windows folder C:\Users you should see TEMP folder instead of your normal profile name. This is an indicator that you need to fix your temp profile in windows vista.

To Fix the Temp Profile issue log onto the workstation as the local administrator, go to the c:\user  folder and delete any TEMP folders  you see along with any other cached profiles

Open the registry and go to the following path.  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE ->SOFTWARE->MICROSOFT->WINDOWSNT->CURRENT VERSION->PROFILELIST.  Expand this key and you will see several SIDS starting with S-1-5…. Look for the one that ends in bak. Click on that SID to see what profile it belongs to. You can see which profile by looking in the right pane for the CentralProfile key.  You should see two SIDs that are similar except one has the bak ending. The ProfileImagePath will point to what your C:\User\pin should be. If you have a bak with your pin, you will continue to get a SID that has TEMP in the ProfileImagePath entry. Delete the SID with the bak key and log off and back on.


  1. Log into the workstation and verify that you have your desktop.
  2. Verify that the c:\users folder does not have a TEMPfolder.
  3. Check the profile in Advanced Settings to make sure you have Roaming (or Local) for both Type and Status.
  5. There should be no bak SIDs!


If for some reason you want to recreate the issue, you can do the following!

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