How to unwind temporary userid desktop/files assigned during startup problems (System Restore not available) RRS feed

  • Question

  • I had a userid, say Fred, on my XP SP3 system. At sometime in the past, there was a problem logging on, and this userid was assigned a temporary area. After this occurred, the desktop, etc. was located in C:\Documents and Settings\Fred.machine-name\... I could still access the old Desktop, Documents, etc. at C:\Documents and Settings\Fred\, but logging on to Fred resulted in the new desktop location being assigned. I bit the bullet, and accepted the situation.

    Recently,  this situation has occurred again. This time, the desktop, etc. are located at C:\Documents and Settings\Fred.machine-name.000\ upon logon. Now I'm not too concerned about what causes the problem, just restoring the prior configuration, so I can use the (prior)Desktop rather than wandering through the filesystem.

    Alas, I can not use System Restore, as it was not active.

    I am comfortable with changing registry values, if I can receive input as to what to change.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    Thursday, February 25, 2016 6:30 PM


  • These temporary profiles are created by Windows when the user profile becomes corrupt or if the user loses access permission to his profile folder.  On standalone workstations the usual naming for these temporary profiles follows this naming scheme:

         * If the UserName folder does not already exist, Windows names the new profile folder: UserName

         * If the UserName folder already exists, Windows names the new profile folder:  UserName.ComputerName

         * If the UserName.ComputerName folder already exists, Windows names the new profile folder:  UserName.ComputerName.000

         * If the UserName.ComputerName.000 folder already exists, Windows uses the next available increment in the UserName.ComputerName.000 naming scheme.  For example:  UserName.ComputerName.001

    When you try to log with the "Fred" account with valid credential Windows recognizes and authenticates it and rather than locking you out it creates these new profile directories.

    This is explained here:
    How To Restore a User Profile in Windows Server 2003


    • Marked as answer by John-L_ Thursday, February 25, 2016 8:56 PM
    • Edited by John John MVP Thursday, February 25, 2016 10:01 PM Typo
    Thursday, February 25, 2016 7:09 PM