How to Fix “User Profile Service failed the sign-in” Error in Windows 11

Computer Update Error

everything you need to know to fix the “The user profile service failed the sign-in. User profile cannot be loaded” error in Windows 11.

Are you getting the “The user profile service failed the sign-in. User profile cannot be loaded” or “User Profile Cannot be Loaded’ or ‘User Profile Service Failed the Logon” error when you are trying to sign-in to your Windows 11? You will probably encounter this error as soon as you type the username and password in the Windows logon screen.

This issue is mostly caused due to a corrupted user profile or when the user profile fails to start. Since this error prevents you from logging into the system, fixing this error can be more complicated than the other Windows errors. But, it doesn’t mean you cannot fix it. In this article, we will show you several troubleshooting methods to fix the ‘The User profile cannot be loaded’ error in Windows 11.

You can perform these troubleshooting methods using another account with administrative privileges. If you are locked out of your only user account, you can enable the hidden administrator account and troubleshoot your PC through that. In this post, we will also show you how to enable the hidden administrator account in Windows 11.

Causes of ‘User Profile Service Failed the Sign-in’ Error in Windows 11

There are many things that can cause the ‘User profile service failed the sign-in’ error when you try to log in to your system. Here are the major factors which cause the error: 

  • Improper Windows Update
  • Default profile permissions are changed or NTFS permissions are setup incorrectly
  • Incorrect values in the registry or corrupt Windows registry
  • Corrupted user profile files
  • Resizing partition
  • Antivirus may block profile folder at the time of authorization
  • Improper shutdowns and restarts

Restart or Shut Down Windows 11

When you see the “The User Profile Service service failed the sign-in.” error for the first time when you are trying to log in to your user account, you can try restarting or shutting down your Windows 11 PC and see if it fixes the issue.

On the lock screen, click the power button, and select ‘Restart’ or ‘Shutdown’. When starts again see if the problem is resolved and if not try the following troubleshooting methods one by one.

Check for Windows Update

If you’re running an outdated Windows build or if there are any bugs in the previous build, it can trigger this error. Hence, updating your Windows with the latest available update can fix several issues. Here’s how you can update your Windows 11 PC:

Open Windows Settings by clicking the Start menu and selecting ‘Settings’ or pressing Win+I.

In the Windows Settings, select the ‘Windows Update’ tab on the left pane and click the ‘Check for updates’ button on the right-side pane.

In case there is an update available, Windows will automatically download and install it through Windows Update. Sometimes, you have to manually select the ‘Install’ button to install the available updates.

Once the update is finished, restart your computer.

Replace NTUSER.DAT File in File Explorer

NTUSER.DAT is a profile file that stores details such as settings, preferences, configurations, etc. If this file gets corrupted or damaged, Windows will experience login issues. Hence, replacing the NTUSER.DAT file from another user profile or another computer can fix the problem. 

There are many ways you can fix the corrupted NTUSER.DAT file – You can copy the NTUSER.DAT file from the working user profile to the corrupted user profile, copy the NTUSER.DAT file from the Guest account to the Default/corrupted user profile, copy the file from a different computer with the same build and OS to the corrupted computer.

Method 1: Replace the NTUSER.DAT file from the Guest profile or Another Working profile

Whenever you create a new user account, the NTUSER.DAT file is copied to the new profile from the Default Profile folder. If the file Default folder is corrupted all the user accounts will have the same issue.

First, log in to the default administrator account or an account with administrative privileges. 

Next, open File Explorer, go to the C:\Users folder, and check if the Default profile folder is visible.

By default, the Default folder is hidden. To show hidden folders, click the ‘View’ menu from the menu bar, go to ‘Show’, and then click the ‘Hidden items’.

This will make the Default folder visible in the Users folder.

Now, open the Default folder and rename the NTUSER.DAT file into something like e.g. ‘NTUSER.DAT_bak’ or copy the file to an another location on your computer like a local disk or a USB drive (as a backup). But don’t save the file in any user folders.

Copy the ‘NTUSER.DAT’ file from the Guest folder or Administrator folder and paste it into the Default folder.

After that restart your computer and try logging into the user account that’s showing the error.

Method 2: Replace the NTUSER.DAT file from the Another Computer

Another to way fix a damaged NTUSER.DAT file is by replacing the file from another working Windows 11 computer with the same build.

Open File Explorer on the computer with the same operating system and build, then right-click on ‘This PC’ and select ‘Properties’. Now, check if both computers share the same build and OS version.

Next, right-click the Default folder on that computer and copy the entire folder to a USB drive or external storage device.

After that, go back to the computer that’s showing the error and rename the ‘Default’ folder to Default.old.

Then, insert the USB drive and copy-paste the ‘Default’ folder to the Users directory.

After that, restart your computer and make sure that the C:\Users\Default folder has the same permissions as its parent folder C:\Users.

To check the default directory permissions, type the following command in PowerShell:

icacls c:\Users\Default

Ensure that you have the following permission for the Default folder:

NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(OI)(CI)(F)
BUILTIN\Administrators:(OI)(CI)(F)
BUILTIN\Users:(RX)
BUILTIN\Users:(OI)(CI)(IO)(GR,GE)
Everyone:(RX)
Everyone:(OI)(CI)(IO)(GR,GE)

Method 3: Replace the NTUSER.DAT file of the Default folder from the Corrupted User Profile

First, go to the C:\Users location and rename the ‘Default’ folder to ‘Default.old’.

Now, restart your computer and boot into safe mode. Then, go to the ‘C:\Users’ folder and create a new folder named Default there. After that, create the following empty folders within the specified location:

C:\Users\Default\AppData

C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local

C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming

C:\Users\Default\Desktop

C:\Users\Default\Documents

C:\Users\Default\Downloads

C:\Users\Default\Favorites

C:\Users\Default\Links

C:\Users\Default\Pictures

C:\Users\Default\Save Games

C:\Users\Default\Videos

Next, open the elevated Command Prompt and use the following command to copy the NTUSER.DAT file of the corrupted profile to C:\Users\Default:

xcopy C:\Users\<USERNAME>\NTUSER.DAT C:\Users\Default

Where replace <USERNAME> with the user account name:

xcopy C:\Users\Lavin38\NTUSER.DAT C:\Users\Default

Finally, restart the computer, create another user account, and try logging into the account.

Repair User Profiles using DISM and SFC Scans

Whenever you encounter problems with Windows files, it’s always a good idea to use SFC and DISM commands to fix corrupt files in the Windows system. DISM can fix corrupt files in the component store of the Windows system image and SFC can scan and replace corrupt, missing, and damaged system files.

First, launch the Command prompt as administrator. To do that, search for ‘Command Prompt’ or ‘cmd’ in the Start menu and select the ‘Run as administrator’ option.

To run the SFC scan on your Windows 11, type the following command and press Enter:

sfc /scannow

To perform a Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool (DISM) scan, type the following commands in elevated CMD one after the other and press Enter for each command:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /scanhealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Change User Profile Values using Windows Registry Editor

You can modify the values of the user profile in the Registry Editor to fix the ‘User Profile Services failed the logon’ error. The Windows Registry Editor is one of the advanced troubleshooting methods to fix many issues in Windows 11. But changing the wrong registry value can cause your Windows to malfunction. So, make sure to back up your Windows Registry before you do anything to the registries.

For this, you need to log in to another account with administrative privileges or boot into the safe mode and then edit the registry editor.

To boot Windows 11 in safe mode, open Windows Settings, and select ‘Recovery’ on the ‘System’ section. Or you can just, search for ‘Advanced Startup’ and select ‘Change advanced startup’ settings from the top result.

Then, click ‘Restart now’ to initiate an advanced startup.

After your system restarts, select the ‘Troubleshoot’ option on a blue screen.

Next, go to ‘Advanced options’.

In the next screen, choose ‘Startup Settings’ and then ‘Restart’.

Your system will reboot and you will see a number of startup settings. Select 4 or F4 or press the number/function key corresponding to ‘Enable Safe Mode’ in your system.

Then, sign in to the account that has the problem or any other account that has administrative privileges. You will enter Windows 11 safe mode with minimal options.

Once you are signed in, launch the Windows Run command dialog with Win+R shortcuts and enter regedit.

Windows Registry Editor will automatically start with administrator privileges.

In the Registry Editor, navigate down to the following path in the left panel or copy-paste the following path into the address bar:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

When you expand the ‘ProfileList’ folder, you will see a list of entries that starts with ‘S-1-5’. Now, select each registry key with the suffix ‘S-1-5-21’ (SID key) followed by a series of numbers and check the entry named ‘ProfileImagePath’ on the right pane.

Check the ‘Data’ field of ‘ProfileImagePath’ on each folder and locate the user account folder that is causing the error.

In our example, the user profile (rajst) with the SID key – ‘S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002’ is the one that’s causing the ‘user profile service failed the sign-in’ error.

Once you located the right SID key that’s causing the error, double click the ‘State’ entry and change its value to ‘0’ in the right pane. Then, click ‘OK’.

After that, double-click the ‘RefCount’ entry and set its value data to ‘0’. If you don’t have RefCount, you can create it on your own. To do that, right-click on the SID key and select ‘DWORD (32-bit)’ Value.

Then, specify the ‘RefCount’ value as ‘0’.

In some cases, there are two ‘S-1-5’ folders (keys) with the same SID (same suffix strings) under ProfileList, one folder with ‘.bak’ (extension) at the end, and one without it.

In such cases, rename the .bak folder by removing ‘.bak’ from the end and rename the folder that doesn’t have the extension by adding the ‘.bak’ at the end. In other words, you need to exchange their names. The .bak is actually a backup key that can be used if the original becomes corrupted or damaged.

But, it’s a bit tricky because if you try to remove the .bak extension from the file that doesn’t have it or add the .bak extension to the key that doesn’t have it, you will get this error. It’s because you cannot have two keys with the same name in the same location. 

So, first, you have to change the name of the key without ‘.bak’ to something else. For example, rename the other key to something like this:

S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002.new
S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002.bak

Next, rename the key that ends with .bak by removing the ‘.bak’ extension from its name.

S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002.new
S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002

Then, rename the ‘.new’ folder to .bak.

S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002.bak
S-1-5-21-2965335139-3050804504-3361004240-1002

You have successfully swapped their name. Now, select the key (folder) without the ‘.bak’ extension and change the ‘State’ and ‘RefCount’ values to ‘0’ in the right pane.

If you only have one SID folder with the .bak extension without the original SID folder (SID that ends without the .bak extension, then simply removes the .bak extension and set ‘State’ and ‘RefCount’ values to ‘0’.

Once done, reboot your system and try logging into the account that’s showing the error and see if it fixed the issue.

Boot into Safe Mode and Check Profile Service Status

If you are still encountering the ‘User Profile Service failed the sign-in’ Error, you can boot into Safe Mode and check the status of the User Profile Service. The User Profile Service controls everything related to user profiles including sign-in processes. If this service doesn’t automatically start with the system, you may have problems when signing in to user accounts. Here’s how you can do this:

First, shut down your PC or turn off your PC and then press the power button to turn on the system. And just when Windows starts loading, press and hold the power button to force shutdown your PC.

Repeat this process until you see the ‘Preparing Automatic Repair’ at the bottom of the screen (as shown below).

On the Automatic Repair screen, click the ‘Advanced options’ button. This will boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

WinRE is a recovery environment that helps you with troubleshooting common booting problems, recovery, or booting from external media.

When the Choose an option appears, click the ‘Troubleshoot’ option under the Choose an option screen.

Next, click ‘Advanced options’.

Under the Advanced options window, select the ‘Startup Settings’ option.

Under Startup Settings, you will see a list of advanced troubleshooting modes or boot options. Now, click the ‘Restart’ button to change the Windows boot options.

Your system will restart and show the list of the numbered Startup settings. Now, press 4 or F4 to enter Safe mode.

Once you press that key, Windows will restart and boot into safe mode.

After that, press Windows+R and type ‘services.msc’ then hit Enter.

From the list of services, scroll down and locate the ‘User Profile Service’ and then double-click on it.

In the User Profile Properties window, set the ‘Startup type’ to ‘Automatic’ and ensure that the Service status is ‘Running’. If not, click the ‘Start’ button to start the service. After that, click ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’.

Now, restart your PC and check if the ‘The User Profile Service Failed the Sign in’ error has been resolved.

Delete the User Account and Recreate it in Windows 11

If you don’t want to bother with troubleshooting the user profile, you can just delete the issued user profile and recreate it. However, removing an account from your PC will delete all its data, including files on the desktop, downloads, photos, music, apps, and other files. If you have backed up your library files on Cloud (like OneDrive), saved the files in a different location, or don’t have any important files in the library folders, you can just delete the user profile and create a new one. Here’s, how you can delete the user account in Windows 11.

First, open Windows 11 settings by pressing Win+I. In the Settings app, go to the ‘Accounts’ section on the left and then scroll down and click on the ‘Other users’ option on the right pane.

Under the Other users section, click on the account you want to remove.

Then, click the ‘Remove’ button to delete the account.

Click the ‘Delete account and data’ button in the blue prompt box.

Create A New User Account

Once the account is deleted, log in to a user account with administrative privileges and follow these steps to create a user account.

Open Windows 11 Settings, select ‘Accounts’ from the left pane, and then click on ‘Other users’ on the right.

On the Other Users page, click the ‘Add account’ button at the top.

A Microsoft account pop-up window will appear. Here, enter an email address or phone number and click ‘Next’ to create an account. If you want to create a local account without an email address, click the ‘I don’t have this person’s sign-in information’ setting link.

On the next window, select ‘Add a user without a Microsoft account’

Next, enter the username in the ‘Who’s going to use this PC?’ field. If you want to create an account without a password, leave the ‘make it secure’ fields empty and click ‘Next’.

If you want to add passwords to the account, enter and re-enter the password under the ‘Make it secure’ field. Then, select three security questions and answers them below. Finally, click ‘Next’ to create the user account.

Now, you can restart your computer and sign in with the new account.

Use Startup Repair to Fix the User Profile Service Error

If your user profile failed to load due to corrupted or missing files, you can use startup repair to solve issues. It can also be used for repairing corrupted user profiles in Windows 11. Follow these steps to startup repair:

Log in to another account and then open Windows 11 settings by right-clicking the Start button and selecting ‘Settings’ from the list of options. or press the Windows+Ishortcut.

Go to the ‘System’ section on the left pane and click the ‘Recovery’ option on the right pane.

On the Recovery settings page, click on the ‘Restart now’ button next to the Advanced startup.

Then, click ‘Restart now’ to reboot your PC and enter the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

If your computer is not booting properly for you to access the above settings. There are alternative ways to access the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). Use the steps from the previous method to boot into safe mode.

When the Choose an option appears, click the ‘Troubleshoot’ option under the Choose an option screen.

Next, click ‘Advanced options’.

Under the Advanced options screen, select the ‘Startup Repair’ option.

Now, the Startup Repair tool will diagnose your system and fix the user profiles if possible.

Perform System Restore

If the startup repair did not fix the User Profile Service failed sign-in Windows 11, you can try restoring the system to an earlier point when the user profile login was working fine.

Windows System Restore feature automatically creates restore points whenever there are major changes in your system, like software installation, device installation, Windows update, etc. Besides that, the restore points can also be created manually.

This feature will restore your system to a previous state or point in time and undo all the recent changes (including the corrupted files) made to the PC. It will restore your Windows and important system files (like drivers, installed programs, Windows Registries, and system settings) to a previous state. Here’s how you can do that:

Click the Start menu or press the Windows key and search for ‘System restore’ in the Windows search and select the ‘Create a restore point’ control panel in the result.

When the System Properties window opens, click on the ‘System Restore’ button under the ‘System Protection’ tab.

The System Restore feature may suggest a recommended restore point if you have one. If you want that you can select the ‘Recommended restore’ option or ‘Choose a different restore point’ option if you wish to use a different one and click ‘Next’. If you don’t see the suggestion, then simply click ‘Next’ to continue.

The next screen will show a list of all restore points available (manual and automatic) with timestamps and brief descriptions. Select the desired restore point and click ‘Next’.

Make sure to choose a restore point before your files were corrupted or at the time of file corruption.

Finally, click the ‘Finish’ button to start the restoration process.

Now, your system will be restored to the state it was in before the selected event and the original files will replace the corrupted files.

Create a New Admin User Account

If you have another administrator account on your device, you can log in to that account and delete the corrupted account or fix the corrupted user profile.

If you are getting the “The User Profile Service service failed the sign-in.” error, when you are trying to log in to your only admin user account, you won’t be able to run some of these troubleshooting procedures to fix the issue. So, creating a new administrator user account can help you resolve this issue. You can boot your system in safe mode to create a new admin user account. Here’s how you can do that:

First, open Command Prompt in Windows Recovery Environment or boot your system into safe mode and then open Command Prompt as administrator.

Open Windows Recovery Environment as shown in the earlier method. When the Choose an option appears, click the ‘Troubleshoot’ option.

Next, click ‘Advanced options’.

Under the Advanced options screen, select the ‘Command Prompt’ option.

Enable Command Prompt on Locked Windows 11 Computer

Now, you cannot use this command prompt to make changes in Windows user accounts. You need to run Command Prompt on Windows 11 lock screen to create a new admin account or enable the built-in Administrator account.

The Command Prompt will start with X: instead of C: which is not where Windows is usually installed. X: is a virtual drive used to run CMD in recovery mode. You need to find out the system drive in recovery mode using the diskpart command-line tool.

First, type diskpart command (for managing drives) in the command prompt.

Next, enter list volume to get a list of all the volumes or drives connected to your system. From the results, find the volume or drive in which Windows is installed. The Windows drive (which would have a different drive letter instead of C) will have no name or label. Also, you can locate the Windows drive by its size if you already know it. Note down the Windows drive letter from this list.

In the below screenshot, Volum 3 ‘F’ is the Windows drive. Now, note down the Windows drive letter that we are going to use to run the following commands.

After that, type exit to leave diskpart.

Then, enter these commands one by one:

move f:\windows\system32\utilman.exe f:\
copy f:\windows\system32\cmd(.)exe f:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

Note: Remove brackets from cmd(.)exe in the above-mentioned command. And make sure to replace f: with the drive letter of the system drive on your PC.

wpeutil reboot

The last command will restart your computer and take you to the log-in screen.

On Windows 11 login screen, click the ‘Accessibility’ icon at the bottom right corner next to the power button, and the Command Prompt will run instead.

Now, in that Command prompt, you can create a new admin account or enable the built-in Administrator account.

Create an Admin Account:

To create an new admin account, follow these instructions:

Type the following command in the Command Prompt and press Enter.

net user /add <username> <password>

Here, replace <username> and <password> with any username and password for the account, you want to create. This command will create a new user profile in Windows.

Example:

net user /add Lavin38 Lov3839

After successfully executing the above command, follow it up with this command and hit Enter:

net localgroup administrators <username> /add

Where replace <username> with the created username.

Example:

net localgroup administrators Lavin38 /add

This command will give administrative privileges to the above-mentioned account.

Now, type net users to check if the account is created on the computer.

Now, let us see how to enable the hidden administrator account.

Enable Built-in Administrator Account

If you don’t want to create another account on your computer, you can enable the built-in administrator account in Windows 11 using the same Command Prompt on the lock screen. Follow the same instructions to run Command Prompt on the lock screen of Windows 11.

Then, type the below command and hit Enter to execute:

net user Administrator /active:yes

If you see the ‘The command completed successfully’ message it means the built-in administrator has been turned on .

To disable the administrator account, enter the following command:

net user Administrator /active:no

Enable Hidden Administrator Account using Local Security Policy

If the above command doesn’t enable the hidden administrator account, you can use the local security policy to enable it. Open the command prompt on Windows 11 login screen.

Then, type secpol.msc to open Local Security Policy:

In the left-hand side panel, expand the ‘Local Policies’ folder and then select ‘Security Options’.

On the right pane, right-click on the ‘Account: Administrator account status’ policy at the top and select ‘Properties’.

Then, select ‘Enabled’, click ‘Apply, and then ‘OK’.

Reset Windows 11

If none of the above methods can’t help you fix ‘The User Profile Service failed the sign-in’ on Windows 11 login screen, then you can reset your Windows PC to fix the issue. Resetting Windows will reinstall Windows 11 from the backup image or cloud service. When reinstalling Windows, you can choose to keep your personal files while removing all the software, drivers, and settings.

It will re-install Windows OS, removing all damaged files and replacing them with fresh system files. Here’s how you can reset your Windows 11 PC:

Open the Windows 11 Settings app by pressing Win+I or from the Start menu. In the Settings app, go to the ‘System’ tab, scroll down and click the ‘Recovery’ option on the right.

Under the Recovery options section, click the ‘Reset PC’ button.

Once you do, a new dialog window called Reset this PC will pop.

Here, you can choose whether you want to ‘Keep your files’ but remove apps and settings or ‘Remove everything’ including your personal files from the libraries. Now, select an option according to your choice to continue.

Next, choose how would you like to reinstall Windows – whether with a local backup image from your device or via Cloud download and reinstall Windows.

If you choose ‘Cloud download’, it will download and reinstall the latest build of Windows 11 but it will also require internet and 4GB of data. Since we are trying to fix corrupt files, it’s better to use ‘Cloud download’ because this option will download the latest build of the OS.

In the next window, click ‘Next’.

But if you choose ‘Local reinstall’, it will reinstall the same build of the OS from the hidden backup image in the device.

Finally, click the ‘Reset’ button to start the resetting process.

The process will take some time to finish. Once it’s done, check if you can log in to the account without any issues.

That’s it.