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XP Missing User Account

By rdumvill ·
Earlier today, I was installing a printer. The installation hung about 3/4 of the way through and wouldn't allow me to break the function through alt F4, Ctrl-Alt-Del, etc, so I reset the computer. After resetting, the Welcome screen (which had been disabled) appeared, with only the Administrator available as an option. According to the Control Panel-->User Accounts, the only two accounts that exist on the computer are the Admin and the guest (which is disabled). When I checked the NET USER command from the cmd prompt, there was an account labeled XXXX_ai (where XXXX is the name of the account I had been using). Further, all of the information from my user account is still present in C:\Documents and Setting; presumably, all of my programs are still loaded, but nothing that didn't also install itself to the administrator account as well appears.

Hitting F8 during startup so far has only yielded a "Boot From..." dialog; no chance to select a last working configuration or safe mode. Any ideas?

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try a system restore

by The Scummy One In reply to XP Missing User Account

at boot options press F8, and choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt
once there navigate to %systemroot%\system32\restore\
then run rstrui.exe to start the restore process.

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Must do via safe mode?

by rdumvill In reply to try a system restore

I have access to the Administrator account still; do I need to run this through safe mode?

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Oh, Sorry, yes, you can access from the admin account

by w2ktechman In reply to Must do via safe mode?

I usually do it from Safe mode myself -- often from a non-booting system, so that is the first thing I thought of.

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System Restore Failed

by rdumvill In reply to try a system restore

I've made a few attempts to load to the system restore points that are automatically generated each morning to no effect. Each time, I get a message that the system restore failed, and that I'll need to choose another date.

I'm starting to resign myself to this being the case, but I'd like to at least recover all of the program information (start menu, favorites, program settings, etc.) that were in the now vanished account. Any suggestions on doing so without reinstalling everything?

EDIT: I've discovered something new concerning the problem... In an attempt to trick the computer, I created a new account with the same name as the previous (we'll call it XXXX again, as before). This failed to work, but I noticed that when I went to the C:\Documents and Settings folder, there were now five subfolders: Administrator, Administrator.YYYY (YYYY substituting for the name of my computer), All Users, XXXX, and XXXX.YYYY Dunno if this will actually help, but I figure it's a little more information...

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If the new account works, you can copy the old

by w2ktechman In reply to System Restore Failed

profile to the new. This may not be a bad option.

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Copy the profile?

by rdumvill In reply to If the new account works, ...

I like the sound of this, though I'm not sure exactly what you mean. If by copying the profile, you mean copying the folder in Documents and Settings, I've done that, which has helped a little... but I'm mostly concerned about lacking the program information (my Firefox addons, settings for Thunderbird, Start Menu programs, etc.)

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Here is the MS KB on it

by The Scummy One In reply to Copy the profile?
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Now this is odd...

by rdumvill In reply to Here is the MS KB on it

After following the directions in the KB (keep in mind I had already copied all of the non-hidden/system files over) absolutely nothing changed, except I lost my browser history and saved passwords. Other than that, everything in the new account is just as it was before I copied the files over.

It does stand to mention that I was unable to copy the SecuROM folder, as it claimed one of the files "didn't exist." I copied around that, however.

EDIT: I was slightly wrong on that one... all of my Firefox addons came back, and my Thunderbird profile is back. No change to the Start Menu, desktop, etc.

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I think that your file structure is corrupt

by Jacky Howe In reply to XP Missing User Account

If you can't enter Safe Mode try this and then you can run chkdsk /r to check your disk and file structure.
<br><br>
Try Booting to the Recovery Console.
<br><br>
Boot the system using the Windows XP CD-ROM. In the first screen when the Setup begins, read the instructions press "R" (in the first screen) enter the Recovery Console.
<br><br>
1: C:\WINDOWS
<br><br>
Which Windows Installation would you like to log on to (To cancel, press ENTER)?
<br><br>
After you enter the number for the appropriate Windows installation, Windows will then prompt you to enter the Administrator account password.
<br><br>
Note If you use an incorrect password three times, the Windows Recovery Console closes. Also, if the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database is missing or damaged, you cannot use the Windows Recovery Console because you cannot have correct authentication. After you enter your password and the Windows Recovery Console starts, type exit to restart the computer.
<br><br>
At the command prompt type:
<br><br>
chkdsk /r and press Enter.
<br><br>
<br><br>
Then try the System Restore to see if it will work for you.
<br><br>
<br><br>
Boot the system using the Windows XP CD-ROM. In the first screen when the Setup begins, read the instructions press "R" (in the first screen) enter the Recovery Console.
<br><br>
1: C:\WINDOWS
<br><br>
Which Windows Installation would you like to log on to (To cancel, press ENTER)?
<br><br>
After you enter the number for the appropriate Windows installation, Windows will then prompt you to enter the Administrator account password.
<br><br>
Note If you use an incorrect password three times, the Windows Recovery Console closes. Also, if the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database is missing or damaged, you cannot use the Windows Recovery Console because you cannot have correct authentication. After you enter your password and the Windows Recovery Console starts, type exit to restart the computer.
<br><br>
Type the following command and press Enter.
<br><br>
Type CD\ then Enter
<br><br>
Then type cd system~1\_resto~1 then Enter
<br><br>
Type dir then Enter
<br><br>
When you hit enter it will list all the restore points folders like rp1, rp2 ??.. If the restore points have more than one page then you will have to keep on hitting the <Enter> key to view the last restore point folder. You will have to choose the second to last option folder
<br><br>
Type cd rp {the second to the last restore point no. } (Note: Example: cd rp9, if rp9 is the second to the last restore point where the last restore point no. is 10
<br><br>
Then type cd snapshot
<br><br>
Now the command prompt will look like this c:\system~1\_resto~1\rp9\snapshot
<br><br>
Type: copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system
<br><br>
Press enter
<br><br>
Then type: copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software
<br><br>
Then type exit
<br><br>
TIP!.
<br><br>
If you get an access denied error when doing the above, then do the following at the recovery console:
<br><br>
Type CD\ then press Enter
<br><br>
Type cd windows\system32\config then press Enter
<br><br>
Type ren system system.bak then press Enter
<br><br>
Type exit and press Enter
<br><br>
Your PC will reboot, go back into the Recovery Console and then you have access.
<br><br>
<br><br>
<i>Keep us informed as to your progress if you require further assistance.</i>
<br><br>
<br><br>
<font size="1"><i>If you think that any of the posts that have been made by all TR Members have solved or contributed to solving the problem, please Mark them as <b>Helpful</b> so that others may benefit from the outcome.</i></font>

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Sadly, not working

by rdumvill In reply to I think that your file st ...

As far as I can tell, this has simply reset the new account I'm in back to the baseline for Windows XP.

I noticed a few NET_USER files in the system~1/_resto~1/rp[#]/snapshot folder, could one of these be for the old user account that went missing? (and subsequently, help restore that user account to, well, existence?)

Interestingly, a new account folder has been created in Documents and Settings: XXXX.YYYY.0000 (replacing XXXX with the account name and YYYY with the name of computer)

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