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Creating User Accounts in XP

shermans
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Creating User Accounts in XP

My XP system is behaving very oddly.
I have not used User Accounts before because there has been no need, but I would now like to set up a guest account.  I am running XP in the Classic layout incidentally.
When I go to Control Panel > User Accounts and turn Guest Account on, nothing happens.  In other words, when I log off and try to log on as "Guest", it starts to load the guest settings but then changes to "Logging off....Saving Settings" and returns to the log-in screen.  Only by entering my administrator MAIN account can I get the system to load any settings and open up.
I have even tried to create a new User Account and to dis-regard the Guest Account, but exactly the same thing happens.  When I enter the the new User Account, it starts to load the settings, then again I get the message "Logging of....Saving settings" and it goes back to the Log-in screen again.
I have tried the above both with password required and without password required.
Does anyone have any suggestions please ?
20 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

Malware?
Registry needs cleaning?
What is the behaviour in Safe Mode?
Community Veteran
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

In this http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300489 it says -
Quote
...In Windows XP Professional, you can enable or disable the Guest account when you log on as an Administrator. In Windows XP Home Edition, you must access the Administrator account from Safe Mode.

You didn't say whether you were running XP Home or Pro ?
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP


Quote
...In Windows XP Professional, you can enable or disable the Guest account when you log on as an Administrator. In Windows XP Home Edition, you must access the Administrator account from Safe Mode.

Red herring.  Purleigh is confusing the account with the user name "Administrator" (the "Administrator Account") with any account that has administrator privileges (but I agree the wording in the Microsoft article is ambiguous).  I just logged on as 'Reed' to my XP Home computer in normal mode, turned on the Guest account, logged myself off and logged on as Guest.
When you log in for the first time to a new account, a set of folders and files is created in the Documents and Settings directory.  It's possible you have lost the normal privileges to modify the Documents and Settings directory or you have lost the privileges to the section of the Registry where the new account is created.  I think that would explain the symptoms.
You could try this solution: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313222 ;  
shermans
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

Thanks for the recommendations.  Unfortunately, the Microsoft Fixit (about which I was very hopeful) made no difference.  I still get the same problem which is that I can only log in under my own name and not under a Guest or any other sort of User Account.  It just goes through the same sequence of Log In - Logging Off_Saving Saettings - Log in.
I am using XP Home Edition by the way.
Thanks for any further suggestions.
Community Veteran
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

I'm not sure how thorough the Microsoft Fixit would be.
Try navigating to C:\Documents and Settings then create a new folder with a random name.  If you find you can't do this (i.e. you get an error message) then you would seem to have a permissions problem.
shermans
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

have tried that and I can create a folder without difficulty (and delete it again).  However, I wonder if the fact that my Documents and Settings is on the D drive and not on the C drive has anything to do with it ?  Normally I would have expected it to be on the C drive but for some reason it is on the D drive.  have tried to move it to C but the system will not let me. 
Also, I cannot find a securiity tab on any of my folders so that I can check the permissions.  I am sure this has something to do with it.
Community Veteran
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

If we are really talking about the Documents and Settings folder here (not your My Documents folder) then it's well-nigh impossible to move it.
On XP Home you need to be in Safe Mode to change folder permissions.  Look under Security in the folder properties.
shermans
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

That's exactly what I thought !  But I can assure you that it has been moved and I am not confusing Documents and Settings with My Documents.  All the Dopcuments and settings are in the D Drive, and I guess that is likely to be the problem.  I tried moving them back in Safe Mode but they would not budge.  How they came to be there (I don't use them for file storage, preferring to keep my own folders separate) I do not know.
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

shermans
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

Thanks OldJim.  I will try it later when I have mustered up the courage !  I did check the ProfileList in the Registry and the User Accounts are are shown as D:/Documents and Settings.  But how they got there, I do not know and I suspect they should not be there.  So I will try to move them back and see what happens.
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

I'd advise against trying to follow Oldjim's suggestion - it's just too much effort for too little return.  Documents and Settings must be on the D: drive because your computer was set up that way.  You'd be better off backing up your documents and doing a complete re-install of Windows or a reset to factory settings. 
shermans
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

A complete re-install may be necessary anyway if OldJim's suggestion does not work.  But a re-install of XP would also entail a re-install of all my programmes which would take forever.
I assume that a re-install would not "inherit" all the previous programme installation settings; am I correct in that assumption ?
Looking at the registry, it is interesting to note that while the profilefile for my main account is recorded as DCheesyocuments and Settings, the system profile, Local Service and Network Service are recorded under ProfileList as %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings which I think means in othe words the C: drive (%systemdribe% refers I think to where the main Windows system is installed, namely the C: drive.  Am I correct in that understanding.
If so, it would indicate a potential conflict therefore as some ProfileList files are recorded as D: and others as C:  But maybe I am reading too much into that.
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

Take a look at this article which explains how easy it is to move the Documents and Settings folder when installing Windows and how difficult it is to do that later http://support.microsoft.com/kb/236621 .  Don't underestimate how long it would take you to edit the registry.  I think the chances that moving the Documents and Settings folder will solve the problem are very small indeed.  It is normal and sensible to refer to the drive containing the O/S as  %systemdrive% because there is no necessity to make this the C: drive.  Any other drive must (AFAIK) be named explicitly so your settings are perfectly in order.
Reloading Windows from a Windows CD will place everything on the same drive.  Reloading from a restore CD or partition will return your computer to its original state, presumably with Documents and Settings on D:  BUT if your problem isn't a folder permissions issue then it must surely be a registry permissions issue and a reload should fix that.
shermans
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Re: Creating User Accounts in XP

Well, I tried moving the Documents and Settings - I found a registry tool that made it easy by beng able to do a global find and replace, so it did not take that long.  However, it did not fix the problem at all.  So I re-inmported the old registry and restored the system to the original point for safety.
I still cannot use any other accounts which  create - same old problem.  So I have no alternative but to re-install XP.
Is there any easy way to do this without having to re-load all my software ?