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SOLVED: The file or folder is corrupted and unreadable. RRS feed

  • Question

  • On a Windows 7 Pro workstation, whenever a user logs in, they receive an error that the file C:\Windows\System32\en-us\winlogon.exe.mui is missing or corrupted. Every normal restart of Windows automatically invokes chkdsk c: /f. I've tried the following:

    1. Run chkdsk c: /f /r. The first run found several soft problems, but no physical problems with the drive. A subsequent run found no problems.
    2. Checking the memory. A bad stick was found and replaced. A re-run of the memory diagnostic with the new memory returns no errors. I believe that the problem was caused by the bad memory.
    3. Run sfc /scannow. The CBS.log reveals that there are problems that can't be fixed.
    4. An upgrade re-installation of the OS. It fails saying that there are problems on the disk.

    Upon investigation, the file winlogon.exe.mui is missing, but there is now a subfolder by that name in C:\Windows\System32\en-us. That folder is not normal and, as far as I know, shouldn't exist. The folder cannot be deleted or renamed. All attempts to do so fail with an error that "the file or folder is corrupt". Attempts to copy the file obtained from another computer also fail with the same error.

    Every normal restart of Windows automatically invokes chkdsk c: /f, but no errors are reported. I've even tried booting from a USB-based OS and running chkdsk on the drive, but no errors are reported, although the error persists.

    Before I reformat the drive and start from scratch (it's a custom workstation that will take more than a day to rebuild), I thought I'd ask if anyone has any ideas about what I can do. I'll be grateful for any suggestions.

    Thursday, October 23, 2014 7:50 AM

Answers

  • I've solved the problem. I booted from a flash drive into Ubuntu. Viewing the folder c:\Windows\System32\en-us, the file winlogon.exe.mui was, properly, a file, whereas Windows shows it as a folder. I deleted the file and installed a copy obtained from another computer. The error message no longer appears on login. However, because of the bad memory, I still have to do an upgrade-repair re-installation of Windows 7, but that's not a big deal.

    And the assistant who thought a year-old image of the drive was sufficient has learned a valuable lesson.

    Friday, October 24, 2014 6:28 AM

All replies

  • There is now a subfolder by that name in C:\Windows\System32\en-us. That folder is not normal and, as far as I know, shouldn't exist. The folder cannot be deleted or renamed.
    -> I would try this:
    1. Boot the machine into Windows Repair Mode.
    2. Use takeown.exe to seize ownership of winlogon.exe.mui.
    3. Use icacls.exe to grant full access to "everyone".
    4. Rename this entity or move it away from the en-us folder.
    5. Restore the file from some other machine.

    It's a custom workstation that will take more than a day to rebuild.
    -> This s why I create and maintain an image of each and every machine that I configure for my clients.
    Thursday, October 23, 2014 1:43 PM
  • Thanks for your reply, Frederik. I tried the steps you suggested, but they didn't work any better than using the GUI in normal mode.

    The weird thing is, chkdsk seems to have transformed the winlogon.exe.mui file into a folder, and I can't find a way to do /anything/ to it. I've been doing this for 35 years, and I've never seen that happen before. I've seen bad memory corrupt a file structure and even lose data, but nothing like this.

    Unfortunately, the admin responsible for that workstation thought that a year-old image of the drive was good enough as long as the data backups were current. Unfortunately, it never feels good to take subordinates down a notch.

    Thursday, October 23, 2014 11:31 PM
  • I've solved the problem. I booted from a flash drive into Ubuntu. Viewing the folder c:\Windows\System32\en-us, the file winlogon.exe.mui was, properly, a file, whereas Windows shows it as a folder. I deleted the file and installed a copy obtained from another computer. The error message no longer appears on login. However, because of the bad memory, I still have to do an upgrade-repair re-installation of Windows 7, but that's not a big deal.

    And the assistant who thought a year-old image of the drive was sufficient has learned a valuable lesson.

    Friday, October 24, 2014 6:28 AM
  • Hi David,

    Thank you for sharing your solutions and experience here. It will be very beneficial for other community members who have similar questions.


    Karen Hu
    TechNet Community Support

    Friday, October 24, 2014 6:31 AM