After disabling hdd in device manager, cannot log into user profile


Mar 19, 2012
I would like to start by explaining the context in which this issue has risen:

When I first built my PC (specs in my signature) I opted to create a "symbolic link" between the SSD and HDD for the \Users\ folder. This is because I knew that the Users folder would gradually fill up with data as I used the computer, but I did not want that data to accumulate on my limited SSD. I therefore made all functions and services that require a C:\Users\ folder or files within that folder symbolically link to the D:\Users\ folder where the data was actually being stored. (For your reference, C:\ is the SSD, used for booting the OS and all important software - D:\ is the HDD, used for storing large files and folders such as Users, as well as media files).

About a week ago I noticed my HDD (D:\) was behaving strangely - read/write was at times excruciatingly slow and Active Time % (observed in the Resource Monitor) would consistently hover at 100% for the D:\ drive. I deduced that this was a mechanical problem with the drive and I am currently waiting for the replacement to arrive in the mail. In the mean time, I have been able to operate my computer almost normally. Occasionally it will stall when creating thumbnail images in Windows Explorer, when running any scanning software like antivirus or diagnostics, etc. The C:\ drive functioned perfectly; all my software ran smoothly and the OS booted normally every time. While waiting for the new drive to arrive in the mail, I have been trying this and that to ameliorate the problem that is affecting my D:\ drive - in this case, I went into Device Manager and Disabled the D:\ drive because I figured it's not needed to run the computer, just to hold media files and the like. This was a mistake, because after Disabling it, I was completely unable to log on to Windows with my main User profile (that makes sense because the C:\Users\ folder was simply a link that directed to the actual \Users\ folder located on the D:\ drive, which had just been disabled).

After booting in safe mode, I was able to log onto my main User Profile in limited capacity (I received an error message about not being able to find Windows/System 32/config/Desktop) but I managed to navigate to Device Manager and Enable the D:\ drive that I had previously Disabled. I thought that would return everything to normal, including the functionality of the symbolic link for the \Users\ folder. This is not the case, however.

Despite Enabling the drive again, I receive the following error message when trying to log in to my main User Profile:
"The User Profile Service service failed the logon" - I am also unable to log on as any sort of Guest or Administrator because these User Profiles do not exist.

So I tried a command prompt entry that should enable the Administrator User Profile (net user administrator /active:yes) - this did nothing. The Administrator User Profile was not made available after rebooting. I have also been trying to edit the registry files per these instructions but cannot do so because regedit is not found when searching in the Start menu.

Another potential solution that I am not convinced would work is to boot from the OS DVD and repair the issue by reverting to a system backup state that I have saved on an external hard drive. I doubt this will work because it seems that the actual paths of data are improperly set up now, meaning that restoring the system to a saved backup would only serve to delete the files I hadn't yet backed up and land me in the same exact spot I am now. I'm really running out of ideas now, so I hope someone on this forum can offer some help. Please do if you think you have valuable information here.

FYI, here are some links to instructions I have been following / used to configure the \Users\ paths:

One example of creating a symbolic link for the \Users\ folder
Another example of creating a symbolic link for \Users\ folder
Microsoft's recommended instructions for the exact error message I get when attempting to log onto my main user profile

The final potential solution is one I hope to never attempt: completely reinstalling the OS and reconfiguring the symbolic link paths for the \Users\ folder and losing all my subtle configurations & saved data that have been set up over the past 3 months.


go into command promp admin mode {rt click on command prompt>run as admin}
I beleive the command is " dir /a:l /s " to view your symbolic links. Are they still valid?

From what I think happened you just need to log in normally. You'll comeup in the tmp user account. From there you just need to take ownership of the e:\users\Same_username account... provided the symlink is still valid

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