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Windows 7: User profile not loading settings/preferences

25 Apr 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64)
User profile not loading settings/preferences

On Friday 4/23 I went to my computer and my entire user profile appeared to be corrupted. I have my main admin. account, and my girlfriend has her own user account (not admin). When starting up into my main admin user account, I had an error message for Settings.ini being used by a different process. My other problems are as follows:

- All app icons pinned to taskbar became icons of blank pages

- My gadgets do not appear on the desktop

- When trying to access Windows Help and Support, I get what looks like a .txt stating: "Windows Help and Support encountered a problem You might be able to resolve the problem by restarting Windows Help and Support." Restarting does nothing.

- Any Windows searches I attempt, both in the Windows Explorer bar at the top right or in the search field in the start menu return 0 results any time I search.

- Many icons when clicked either do nothing (i.e. Firefox) or give me an error message along the lines of "not able to load critical files for this application to run. Specifically Skype. When trying to open MediaMonkey, for example, I get an error saying "The directory C:\Users\[My girlfriend's user profile]\AppData\Local\MediaMonkey\ cannot be created." Something along these lines happened with a different application, notifying me that it was not able to access C:\Users\[Girlfriend's profile name]\AppData\Local\[etc].

- Google Chrome is not able to read nor write to its original location, and forces me to choose another. It does not save this state and asks me each time I open Chrome. Also, all bookmarks and settings/prefs. have disappeared.

- Many different applications act as if it is the first time I open them, each time I open them. No settings, preferences, or history is saved after the application is closed.

After doing a significant amount of searching and very basic diagnostics, I believe what has happened is that my user profile is attempting to read all preferences and settings from my girlfriend's user account. When logging onto her account, I have absolutely no problems with accessing the same applications I have troubles with on my account. I seem to have no personal preferences nor changes I have made to my account saved. Or if they are saved, they are in my C:\Users\[My acccount]\AppData\[etc] and instead of reading my AppData folder, Windows is reading her AppData folder and files, many of which would not even exist on her account (causing errors in many applications).

I have gone into msconfig and disabled all non-MS services, as well as trying to enable all startup items, and disable all startup items. The problem still persists.

Does anyone have any insights to this issue? How might I direct Windows to read my preferences and settings from my user account and not default to another -- if that is indeed what is going on here.

I feel it would be good to note that on Thursday night near midnight my girlfriend downloaded Yahoo Messenger. When I went to her user account there were several (appx. 40) photos of a blonde girl, some pornographic in nature, that were sitting directly on the desktop. When checking the properties of the photos, they were created on Friday morning around 3-4:00am She denies all knowledge of these photos. There is a chance, I suppose, that I was hacked thru YM and the pics were downloaded then, and something malicious was done to my settings. I ran MalwareBytes and my AVG Internet Security virus/malware scans and nothing was detected on my machine. My girlfriend also has not used her personal user account for quite some time (several weeks to a month). She always uses mine.

Thank you for any assistance you might be able to lend.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit SP1

Run Eset (online scanner) on both accounts Free ESET Online Antivirus Scanner
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 User profile not loading settings/preferences

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