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Solved: Group policy client service failed to start error - please help!

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by Brian_Mod, Apr 23, 2012.

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  1. Brian_Mod

    Brian_Mod Thread Starter

    Apr 23, 2012
    For the sake of completeness, I'm going to give the full history here. We have a computer running Windows Vista Home Premium. This is on a home network; no domain. The other morning, following a Windows Update and restart, when the user tried to login she received the message "User Profile Service service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded".

    We followed online advice to log in with an administrator account and change setting in the registry for the Profile, resetting some values to 0. We also followed instructions to delete the ntuser.dat file; however, we could not locate a file that was just ntuser.dat; they also had long series of numbers after them, apparently indicating that they are temporary files.

    After several tries at fixing this, she now gets a different error when she tries to log on: "group policy client service failed to start".

    She can log onto the account in Safe mode, and I can log on to her computer using her account from my computer on the same home network without any problems.

    We have tried copying the user directory to a new profile, except for the ntuser.dat files, as suggested on Windows help. This took a good 5-6 hours to copy, and the new profile seems to be severely hosed; none of her setting have been carried over, webshots will not run, Firefox keeps asking if she wants to set it as the default browser even after she tells it yes each time, and she can't access the User Accounts settings from the new profile. It's almost like it doesn't really have administrator permissions, even though the Accounts and Users control panel shows that it does.

    We know that two other things were going on when the Windows update that caused the restart occurred; iTunes was conducting a large download, and Symantec was running a scheduled security scan. The security scan was showing as still running, but was making no progress. After checking a few Symantec forums, we managed to cancel the process and uninstall Symantec, which may be the only way to stop the scan. Apparently active Symantec scans are known to cause profile login errors. However, this did not fix the problem.

    When we log on to her profile in safe mode and look at the advanced user account settings, the list of profiles includes two profiles with her original user name. The basic list of user accounts only shows one. I have no idea what this means.

    Her profile now does have an ntuser.dat file. However, we can't copy or delete it - it's in use by the system. We also can't restore an earlier version of the ntuser.dat file - apparently it doesn't get backed up in the archive (probably for the same reason we can't delete or copy it).

    We tried doing a system restore from the start of the day. This was while it was still having the "user profile service failed" but before the "group policy client service failed to start".

    We have run sfc /scannow. It indicated that some files were corrupt, but it could not repair them. I couldn't figure out which files it thought were corrupt.

    The Group Services Client is not running when I view it from the original profile in Safe Mode. However, I have no idea if it is supposed to be running in Safe Mode or not. There is no way to start it; all the options to start or stop are grayed out and unselectable. The Group Services Client IS running when I check it with a different profile on the system.

    Would really appreciate a fix for this, or at least a way to create a new profile that carries over all her settings and doesn't result in a complete disaster.
  2. Brian_Mod

    Brian_Mod Thread Starter

    Apr 23, 2012
    I think we've got this resolved. Unfortunately, there have been so many steps that I'm not sure which were neccessary. These includes:
    * The instructions here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...gon-user/4ed66b21-c23e-42f1-98b2-706dcf931fae
    (changing some registry entries for the profile)
    * Uninstalling Symantec, which had an automatic scan that had been interrupted and was stuck not being able to complete or be cancelled.
    * The final bit of fix that worked was (hope I'm getting this all right):
    1) Clearing the registry entries as above.
    2) Renaming the profile folder.
    3) Restarting the computer and letting it create a new profile folder with the same name.
    4) Copying the ntuser files from the newly created profile to the old profile.
    5) Deleting the new profile and renaming the old profile back.
    And now things seem to be working, though she had to run setup on some programs again.
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