I am using a laptop that has a second hard drive for storing my user profiles. And yes, I used this trick we shared a while ago to have the user profiles stored on the second hard drive instead of on the default system drive where Windows 7 was installed. It works great till my second drive went offline the other day.
Because the system drive couldn’t locate the place where all user profiles are stored, it couldn’t log you in as any user account that has the profile saved in that missing second drive. And if you don’t have an account that has the profile saved in the same drive as the system, you only have one choice to bring your Windows 7 to life.
1. Restart Windows 7 to Safe Mode, which at least get you to see the desktop.
2. Create a new local user account.
3. Locate the following registry entry and change the ProfilesDirectory back to %SystemDrive%\Users
4. Restart Windows 7 and log in using the new user account.
Later on, once you have the original second drive that has all your user profiles stored back, you can still log in using your original user account. However, if you are still getting the Profile cannot be loaded message, that is because you previously tried to log in using the same account while the user profile drive was missing, then
1. Log in using the new account created above,
2. Open the Regedit and locate the following Registry entry
3. You might be seeing something like this, two exact same keys with one having .bak in the end.
4. Delete the one without the .bak and removing .bak from the one with it.
5. Log off and try logging in again.
That’s all the tricks I tried when my second hard drive failed on me the other day to bring my laptop back to life. And hope that would help you as well if you are encountering the same issue.
Last updated: 11/21/2014