Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Unable to login a standard user on my Windows 8.1 PC

  1. #1

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center

    Unable to login a standard user on my Windows 8.1 PC

    Hi Brink:

    My Problem:
    My son is no longer able to logon to his standard user account on my Windows 8.1 U1. I am unable to switch users following a cold start of the computer. Also, I am unable to switch users while logged on to my account.

    My System:
    Dell XPS 8100 with Intel i5 processor and 6GB DDR3 ram. The desktop initially included Windows 7 Home Premium. I upgraded to Windows 8 Pro as a $40 Windows Store purchase. I've since updated to Version 8.1 and the first update following the release of 8.1. At time of upgrade to Windows 8, all prior updates to Windows 7 were current and successful. Since upgrading to Windows 8, all updates are current and I only experienced 1 update “Failed” (KB2919355), which upon a reinitialization after the failure, was successful. Until this problem, the PC and operating system have run very well with no real problems.

    As noted above, there are 2 users on this PC. Myself (administrator), and son (standard user). I can't pinpoint an exact date when my son was no longer able to logon to his account; however in checking the registry I find that the last notation of his login activity under error reporting was a successful login and logoff done on April 30th. And even though attempts have been made since that time to login to his account, there are no notations of this in the error reporting log that I can find. Most likely that's because I can't get to a point that will allow me to “initiate” a login for his account. It's as though his account does not exist.

    What Happens When:
    Boot – When the computer boots, it only presents a login screen for my account. There is no right-arrow allowing me to switch users. Switching to a secure login via Ctrl Alt Del yields the same results.

    After I'm logged in - If I click to switch users, once again I will get a login screen with my account only and no way of switching users. If I wake the computer from sleep or from screen saver mode, I'm presented with my user picture and password, however, this time I “do” get a right-arrow to switch user. When I click the arrow, the screen goes black for about 5-7 seconds, at which time I'm presented my user login and no switch user arrow.

    Efforts to Resolve:
    I've researched this issue the the past month or so and have checked and/or tried just about everything that's out there from Microsoft, Windows 8 Forum, The Windows Club, and a few other sites as well. As I follow the suggested fixes, everything seems to be as it should be. I've yet to find anything that does not appear to be “right”. For example: SFC /scannow says everything's OK. If I go to User Accounts, both accounts are present. If I go to C:\Users\my son's account\, it is there. I am able to create another account with name and password. However, I am unable to open that account for the same reasons that I'm not able to open my son's account. The new account created is NOT reflected under C:\Users\New Account, so I'm unable to copy files from my son's account to the new account.

    Because of the time delay from when my son first informed me that he's been unable to open his account, my restore points are all following when it probably occurred. I do have a Macrium image from late March that is available. However, I'm wondering if I brought the PC back to a state from this past March if I would be able to install all updates to get the system current. I know Microsoft was imposing time constraints associated with updating to Update 1 following Windows 8.1

    In my simplistic view of this, it seems that there are just a couple of dots that are not connected and I'm hoping that there is some setting that needs to be changed to resolve the problem. I'm hoping that from what I've shared, you can suggest something that may resolve this. If there are any items or settings you want me to check and give you the results, please let me know.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and hopefully for suggesting possible solutions.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Does your sons account name still show under C:\Users? If yes then create a new account for him, have him login then logout top create the directory structure under C:\Users, then copy everything from the old account to the new one.

    This is a good Youtube video of how to do this. Fix Corrupt User Profile in Windows 8 - YouTube
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center

    Thank you for responding.
    My son's name "does" show up under C:\Users as well as all files associated with the account. I've created a new account for him with the intent of copying files from his old account to the new one. However, there is no indication of a new account being created under C:\Users. I read on some post somewhere that the files are created when the new user first logs on to his/her account. Unfortunately, that can't be done.

    No matter what I do, I'm simply not permitted to get to a switch user screen that will display other users. As noted in my original post, I get "NO" back arrow on initial boot. However, after I'm logged on, if I click to "switch user" or my computer wakes from sleep or exiting from screen saver, I "DO" get a back arrow to "switch users". However, after clicking the arrow, I get a blank screen for about 5-6 seconds and the login screen returns "without" the back arrow, allowing me to login to my account. When I log in this way, my home screen comes up occupying only 2/3 of my monitors width. After a second or two, it reverts to full screen, and then all is well with respect to my account.

    I wish there was a way to logon to my son's or a new account in a way that bypasses the switch user procedure.

    Hope this clarifies my problem. Thanks again. -SA Jack
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Can you just log out, not switch users?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center

    Yes. And when I do, I'm brought back to the log in screen showing only me, and no left arrow for switching users. My account works perfectly as long as I don't try to switch user or try to log on as another user during boot.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    What about in Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking?

    Enable the real hidden Administrator account as follows:

    Open a Elevated Command Prompt. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories. Right click on Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.

    Enter net user administrator /active:yes and press Enter
    Type exit and press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

    Note: /active:no will disable it again.

    If you can't do this from a booted Windows 7 then you can do it from a Command Prompt window of a booted Windows 7 installation DVD, see here:
    How to Change the User Account Password if Unable to Login to Windows
    The press F8 during boot and select Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking.
    What accounts show on the login screen now?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center

    I activated the "real" hidden administrator account then rebooted into safe mode w/networking. I was presented with my user account at login. From the Windows start screen, I had "NO" switch user option, but after clicking "lock", I came to my login screen with the right arrow indicating switch user. However, clicking the right arrow brought me right back to my login screen.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Sounds like restoring to the March image is the way to go to fix this.

    Shouldn't be any problem applying updates after doing that.

    Make sure you back up anything that you don't want regressed to the March time frame.

    Once you get this fixed, keep your Macrium backup up to date
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64

    You might want to try:

    Switch User - Add or Remove in Windows 8

    1. Win+R->gpedit.msc
    2. Go to: Local Computer Policy/Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Logon
    3. On the RHS, double click on: Hide entry points for Fast User Switching
    4. If Enabled, select Not Configured then click on Apply
    5. Win+R -> gpupdate /force
    6. Open your start screen to see if you can switch the user.
    Last edited by Brink; 08 Aug 2014 at 10:49. Reason: added tutorial link for more info
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 1
    Windows 8.1 Home

    I have exactly the same issues. I followed all the directions described in this post and no result.
    In my case, only my account shows up (with admin privileges). Neither guest, regular accounts nor admin account appears on the logon screen. I do not have the back arrow either.
    There is no way I have to restore my system to a previous version. Such an issue should not occur, and I cannot believe 30 years of Windows development still leads to reset a system with this kind of basic issue.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Unable to login a standard user on my Windows 8.1 PC
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