Windows 8.1 Corrupt Profile the Good, Bad and Ugly.

I’ve never been one to hold back so I’m going to start right out with the bad.  So I find myself with a corrupt profile for my main User Account (Which is a MS Account) on my Windows 8.1 Desktop.  Desktop Mode works fine but almost all of my Start Screen apps are broken.  They briefly open then disappear.  The apps that don’t work are generally the apps that have been downloaded from the MS Store.

I found that I could uninstall and reinstall apps and they worked fine.  Metro IE11 was not so kind.  To reinstall IE one goes to Turn on/off Windows features > uncheck IE > reboot > Turn on/off Windows features > Check IE and life is supposed to be grand.  Not.  Metro IE struggled.  At this point I noticed that Metro IE was broken only for one Account.  I thought to myself, self, just go ahead and do a “Refresh” to fix the corrupt profile.

I had already run a c:\chkdsk /f /r, c:\sfc /scannow which reported missing DLLs. Even got to playing with DSIM and other command line utilities.

The Good:  I bought Windows 8 via the $39 special when offered way back.

The Bad: When you upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 on-line you do not receive the media for the OS (ISO file or otherwise). After a while I in turn Upgraded Windows 8 pro to Windows 8 Pro w/Media Center.  Upgrading to 8.1 w/Media Center I ended up with a new License Key and again no media.

The Ugly: When you attempt to Refresh a Windows 8.1 install, it immediately asks for the source media.  Grrrr.  There is supposedly a way to obtain an ISO file for Windows 8.1; there is a good article on CNET – How to download the official windows 8.1 ISO on how to do that.  One of the first things that happens is MS asks for your License Key.  So I put in my Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center key and it tells me it is invalid.  Ok, so let’s go with the original Windows 8 key sent to me via email; I was informed that the key was an upgrade key and I could not proceed. Bazinga, looks like no media for me. Boo MS.

No Refresh for me so I guessed I would just have to do the old create a new profile and copy the data over trick.

Again there is a very good article on and all roads lead to How to fix a corrupt profile in Windows 8 over at MyWindows8.org.  It is a very well written article but there are a few things missing.  The Same is true with Microsoft KB on how to fix a corrupt profile.  No one really mentions the what, where and when for profiles that are “Connected” to a Microsoft Account.  I still don’t know when you would disconnect your corrupt profile from your MS account in the process on the link.

BTW many have commented that the steps in the article worked for them but that is not the case for me.  When I went to copy data from my corrupt profile I received an error stating that Filenames under the c:\user\username\appsdata directory were too long and it would proceed no further.

If it works for you, you are golden.

A few things that I would point out:

  • After creating a new account; you need to log in to that account to create the folders and the structure. If you do not log in to the new account and browse to c:\users\ you will not see the folders for the new user to copy the files to.
  • Connected MS account users:  I am not sure at what point you “Disconnect” your MS Account from the corrupt profile and connect to the new profile. Again no one really mentions this on the web. Windows 8 will not allow us to have two profiles connected to a single MS Account.
  • Not everything under C:\users\username will copy.  Shortcuts will not copy (icons with little up arrows).  For me doing a CTRL+A to select all then a CTRL+C to copy the contents of the corrupt profile failed miserably when I tried to copy to the new profile.  I ended up copying one folder at a time, skipping the shortcuts and NTUSER.dat and log files.
  • If you are following the steps in the article.  Remember to Hide your protected OS files when done.

So I went through the motions (I did not disconnect my MS account from the corrupt profile through the process).  I had the filename too long errors when copying c:\users\username\appdata folders.  When I logged into the new profile it was epic fail.  All I had was a blank desktop and only taskmanager worked.

Because of the whole blank desktop thing I was a little leary to Connect my MS account to the new profile and copy files over.  Remember you can only have one profile connected to a single MS account; what would happen if I got a blank desktop on an account connected to an MS Account.  I wasn’t going to go there.  So what I ended up doing was to:

  1. Create a new local account and made it an admin.
  2. Logged into the new profile to set up the structure.
  3. Logged into the corrupt profile and “Disconnected” from my MS account.
  4. Switched to the new account Connected to my MS Account. (You do have to go through that thing where MS texts a security code to your cell phone)

So here I sit with a clean start screen with all the default apps working; Mail, Calendar, People hub, SkyDrive and all that are a-ok.  So now I just need to re-pin my apps to the start screen and set them up (log ins and what not).  I need to copy My Documents, Music and Videos from the corrupt profile to this new profile.  After that I think I am good.  I have been struggling with this Metro IE thing for a while now, I should have just went this way sooner.

Note: Some of my (desktop) Programs needed license keys or to be registered with the vendors to open under this new profile, but everything thing is looking good thus far.

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2 thoughts on “Windows 8.1 Corrupt Profile the Good, Bad and Ugly.

  1. They need to fix this asap. Drove me crazy and I kept uninstalling everything until i found out about the corrupt profile.

    I did the later steps and made a new admin profile…

  2. Captn Tripps

    I have the exact same problem, right down to “too long filenames and the blank desktop. So what happened to your 3rd party apps? After I create a new admin account, transfer photos etc… I have to reinstall all my other apps-Steam, vlc, plex etc?

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