So I’ve been known to mess around in areas of the system that I shouldn’t, and occasionally that includes the Users area.  In fact, more than once I’ve shot myself in the foot by changing certain permissions and locking myself out of my Users folder.  If you lose the Full Control permission for this folder, Windows creates a new user profile folder the next time that you log on and you can no longer access the original user profile folder unless you have local administrative authority on the computer.  If you lose access to your profile folder, Windows creates a new profile folder for you.  However, if the old profile folder still exists, Windows modifies the name of the new folder to avoid duplicating the name of the original profile folder. In this scenario, you may see multiple profile folders for your user profile.

  • If the username folder does not already exist, the new profile folder is named:


  • If the username folder already exists, the new profile folder is named:


  • If the username.domain folder already exists, the new profile folder is named:


  • If the username.domain.000 folder already exists, Windows uses the next available increment of the username.domain.001 naming scheme.

I should point out that in order to do the following, you should be logged in as a Local Administrator account.  I’ve done this to myself often enough that when working on a computer the first thing I always do is create a special local admin account to use just for these special occasions where my regular account is corrupted (generally because of my own fault).

In order to get back your old user profile folder, with all the various settings/files/desktop items :

  1. Right-click your old user profile folder, and then click Properties.
    1. By default, this folder is %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\username.
    2. This may also be found under %SystemDrive%\users\username
  2. On the Security tab, click your user profile in the Name list, and then click to select Allow for the Full Control permission.
    NOTE: If your user profile is not displayed in the Name list, add your profile: Click Add, click your user name in the list, and then click OK.
  3. Click OK to close the dialog box.

In order to point to the location of your profile folder:

  1. Log on to the computer with the user profile that you want to restore.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. Type regedit, and then click OK.
  4. In Registry Editor, navigate to the following registry key:

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

  5. Locate your user profile folder.
    NOTE: When you open the ProfileList folder, you see several folders, each of which belongs to a different user. These folders are named according to the user security IDs (SIDs) and not according to the user names.
    To locate your user profile folder, use one of the following options:
    • For each folder, click the folder, and then look for the ProfileImagePath value that contains the path to your user profile (such as %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\username or %SystemDrive\Users\username).
    • In Registry Editor, press CTRL+F to start the Find tool. Type your user name in the Find what box, click to select the Data check box under Look at, and then click Find (Looking for “ProfileList” in all values will also get you in the right neighborhood).
  6. After you locate the subkey folder for your user profile, double-click the ProfileImagePath value.
  7. In the Value data box, change the path so that it points to the profile folder that you are restoring, and then and click OK.
  8. Quit Registry Editor.

Now reboot and log back in as your normal account and you should have everything back to where you were before.