When Windows cannot load your regular user profile, it loads a temporary profile to allow you to use the system after login. When that happens, you will see the “You’ve been signed in with a temporary profile” error notification on Windows 11 or 10. As the name implies, a temporary profile has limited functionality.
For instance, all your applications and Windows customizations are no longer available, your startup applications won’t run automatically, you cannot personalize Windows, cannot save files to user folders such as Documents, Pictures, etc., and more. To fix the problem and restore your regular user profile, you have to make sure that there are no disk errors and change the “ProfileImagePath” registry value to point to your standard user profile folder. Thankfully, both these tasks are pretty easy to do. Let’s get started.
1. Run SFC /scannow and disk check commands
Often, corrupted Windows system files or hard disk errors are one of the prime reasons for the temporary profile error. For example, unceremoniously turning off your computer can corrupt running system files or the file system. File corruption can cause all sorts of issues. So, the first thing you should do is check and repair corrupted system files and disk errors using the SFC and disk check commands.
First of all, we must run the SFC command from Command Prompt. For that, press the Start key, type “Command Prompt,” and open it as administrator by selecting the Run as Administrator option. If you want, you can also open Terminal as admin and open a new Command Prompt tab in it. However, for compatibility’s sake, it is recommended to use the Command Prompt shell directly.
SFC /scannow in the command window and press the Enter key on your keyboard. This will launch the System File Checker (SFC) tool to scan (/scannow) all the system files and automatically repair corrupted files.
Once the SFC scan is done, you need to run the disk check operation. To do that, type
chkdsk /x /f /r and press the Enter key. When prompted for the confirmation, type
Y and press Enter. This command will schedule a disk check on the next restart. It is important that you run the disk check when the system starts so that it can repair hard disk errors and not be bogged down due to locked system files.
Next, close the Command Prompt window by clicking on the X icon on the title bar. Restart your computer by selecting the “Start” > “Power button” > “Restart” option.
On restart, DO NOT skip the disk check. Let it continue and it will scan the hard drive for errors and fix them automatically. Depending on the hard disk size and number of files, the checking and repairing process will take time. Wait for it to complete. Once done, the system will reboot automatically. It might take you back to the temporary profile but don’t worry, the next steps will fix the problem.
2. Change the ‘ProfileImagePath’ registry value
When Windows thinks it cannot use the regular profile, it changes the “ProfileImagePath” value of your user account in the registry and points it to the new temporary profile. So, to fix the “You’ve been signed in with a temporary profile” problem, you must modify the “ProfileImagePath” value to point to your regular profile folder. Here’s how to do it:
Windows uses unique SIDs (Security Identifiers) to keep track of the user account and control its various resources. To change the ProfileImagePath registry value of your user account, you need to know its SID first. Firstly, open the “Command Prompt” window as an admin. Next, run this command while replacing the USERNAME with your username. Note down the displayed SID.
wmic useraccount where name='USERNAME' get sid
Once you have the SID of your user account, press the Start key, type “Registry Editor” and click on the top result. Go to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” > “SOFTWARE” > “Microsoft” > “Windows NT” > “CurrentVersion” > “ProfileList” folder in the Registry Editor.
On the sidebar, you can see folders with different SIDs. Identify the folder with the SID you got from the earlier command and select it. On the right panel, find the “ProfileImagePath” value, right-click on it, and choose “Modify.”
Replace whatever is in the Value Data field with your profile folder path (C:\Users\Username) and press “Ok.”
Finally, click on the X icon to close the Registry Editor window and restart your computer. After restarting, Windows should boot normally and the problem is fixed.
3. Migrate to a new user account
If the above method did not work then the problem might be more severe. In that case, you have to make a new local user account and migrate to it. Once you move to a new user account, you can delete the old malfunctioning one. While this is not ideal, it is the best possible solution if you don’t want to reinstall Windows. Here’s how to do it.
First, open “Settings” (press Windows key + I), go to “Accounts” > “Other users,” and click on the “Add account” button.
In the account creation wizard, select “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” and “Add a user without a Microsoft account” options.
Type your new username in the first field (Who’s going to use this PC?), set a unique password, give a password hint, and press Next.
If prompted for security questions, create new security questions and answer them accordingly. These security questions are used to recover your user account in case you forget your password. That is it. you’ve created a new local user account. Reboot your computer. When you see the lock screen, select the newly created user account and log in.
Once logged in, open the File Explorer, and go to the “C:\Users\OldUserProfile” folder (substitute OldUserProfile in the path with the actual user account name of the old account). Copy everything in this directory to a new folder somewhere on your hard drive. For example, you can create a new folder in the D: drive and copy it there. That way, you don’t lose data in the old user profile folder if you choose to delete it.
(Optional) Cleanup old user account and profile folder:
Next, open “Settings” (press Windows key + I), go to “Accounts” > “Other users,” click on the old user account and press the Remove button. Click the “Delete account and data” button. That’s it. This action will delete the old account causing the temporary profile problem.
If necessary, you can log into your Microsoft account after deleting the old user account.
While the “You’ve been signed in with a temporary profile” notification and temporary profile problem is pretty cryptic, it is easy to fix it and get back your real user account and profile folder. As I said earlier, you must run SFC and disk check commands to check and repair file corruption and disk errors. This ensures that you don’t encounter the same problem in the future. If changing the ProfileImagePath registry value and pointing it to the standard user profile folder did not fix the problem then the problem might be more severe. In that case, you have to create a new user account and migrate to it.
I hope this small tutorial helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email or comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.