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We have a Windows domain with about 60 user accounts. Sometimes when a user logs in to his computer (already his account is created and has files there), Windows logs him to a temporary user, displaying his name and everything, but without his files and data. This problem is rare and is solved simply by logging out and logging in. I noticed that it occurs at a close timings; they all happen at the same day if they did.

My question is what might be the cause of this problem? I want to trace the problem because it is so annoying when it happens, and I can't find a relative event that may be causing it: no server is down when it happens, no system maintenance or anything.

We're running Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard, SP2 in the Domain Controller (and the same for the additional DC). And we are not using roaming profiles. The machines where this problem happened before are running Windows XP and Windows 7.

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Are you using roaming profiles? – MDMarra Mar 26 '12 at 10:58
No, not using roaming profiles.. I'll edit that in the question. – amyassin Mar 26 '12 at 11:13 I have also seen this if the profile becomes corrupted. – Phillip R. Mar 26 '12 at 12:21
up vote 1 down vote accepted
  • A process is not playing nice in the sandbox—meaning some process other than Winlogon opened ntuser.dat exclusively thereby preventing Winlogon from loading the user profile.
  • Windows cannot find the user profile. This is most often the case when using Roaming, Mandatory, or Super Mandatory user profiles. All these profile types require network connectivity. In these cases, no network means Windows will not loaded user profile.
  • Configuration – Windows is configured, through a policy or otherwise, not to load the user profile. Profile quota size, or slow links are common causes for this scenario.

The above is courtesy of Mike Stephens, as is the rest of this blog post:

share|improve this answer
Probably a process is not playing nice.. Well said that intermittent problems are harder to debug.. – amyassin Mar 27 '12 at 6:49

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