How to fix the UserProfile Service failed the logon on Windows 10

This error could be quite a rude shock when you try to logon to your Windows PC. Luckily, it can be easily resolved with minimal data loss if at all any.

Why am I getting this error?

This means your user profile is corrupted or misconfigured. My first encounter with this was after I did a PC reset using Windows 10’s inbuilt feature. You could also encounter this error after a user profile creation, partition resizing, system restore or Windows update.

How do I fix this error

There are two scenarios you might encounter and I’ll walk you through both:

A. If you can enter Safe Mode

  1. Return to the Logon screen
  2. Click the Power icon
  3. Hold the Shift key on your keyboard then click Restart
  4. You should enter a Choose an option blue screen
  5. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings
  6. Under Startup Setting. Select Restart
  7. The screen will reboot to another blue screen
  8. At the Startup Settings screen, tap 5 (Enable Safe Mode With Networking)
  9. Once logged into Safe Mode, tap the Windows button (Start Menu) and search for regedit
  10. Right-click regedit from the search result and choose Run as Administrator
  11. In Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  12. Under ProfileList, you’ll find two identical folders (same name except one ends with .bak)
  13. The .bak suffix signifies a backup or inactive version. Change .bak to .old (on the folder with .bak) then add .bak to the one without .bak. Now, remove .old from the folder with .old . What’s you’ve essentially done is flip where the .bak is while avoiding a name clash
  14. Select the folder without .bak
  15. On the right pane, right-click State and choose modify
  16. Set Value data to 0 and click OK
  17. Right-click RefCount and choose modify
  18. Set Value data to 0 and click OK
  19. Exit Registry Editor and reboot your PC

B. If you can’t enter Safe Mode

This was exactly my situation. Safe Mode got stuck in a black screen and all I could access was some parts via Task Manager. It was down to a Windows re-install for me.

I was able to access drives using: Task manager > Users > Right-click current user > Manage user accounts > Control panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools but could not initiate a Windows install from Safe Mode.

Here’s what I did

  1. If your PC supports it, you could create a bootable Window 10 USB drive then reinstall windows but my mini-PC didn’t support this option. Proceed if you’re on the same boat
  2. On another PC, download your preferred Windows 10 ISO and extract its contents (files and folders) into a a USB drive
  3. Connect the USB drive to your PC
  4. Return to the Logon screen
  5. Click the Power icon
  6. Hold the Shift key on your keyboard then click Restart
  7. You should enter a Choose an option blue screen
  8. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command prompt
  9. Choose your user profile in the Command Prompt blue screen (enter password if prompted)
  10. You should now see a command prompt window x:\windows\system32
  11. Type cd\ to return to the root of x drive
  12. Now, since you don’t know what letter has been assigned to your drives, you try access drives from a to z e.g type a: then tap enter, type b: then tap enter
  13. If drive a exists, for example, you should see a:\>
  14. A faster way is to type diskpart then press enter. Once in DISKPART, run list disk then sel disk * where * is the disk number. Finally, run detail disk . You can then obtain the drive letter
  15. Your goal is to enter the USB drive (and folder if not in root) where your windows installation files are
  16. Once in this drive, type dir to view its contents and then navigate to where your setup.exe file is located
  17. Type setup.exe and press Enter
  18. The Windows setup box should appear
  19. Follow the Windows 10 installation procedure