Why can't I log on with new WinXP accounts?
May 23, 2005 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm having trouble creating new accounts on my WinXP Professional system. When I create a new limited account, I can't log it in; the system simply hangs.

I've always had only one account on my WinXP Professional computer, my admin account. It's all worked fine as far as I can tell. Now I'm trying to create a limited account for web browsing, etc, since I suppose always using the admin account for everything isn't exactly the best practice. I create the limited account okay but whenever I try to log it in, it sits on the "Loading Personalized Settings" screen for ages, then goes to a blank light blue screen and nothing else happens. I can CTRL-ALT-DEL and log off and back in as my admin.

When I bring up task manager on the blank blue screen, the processes running all look normal to me. The document/shared documents/etc folders for the new account appear to have been created normally. But no matter what I do I cannot seem to get a new account to log in properly. Any ideas?
posted by Justinian to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Response by poster: One more piece of info: The only problem I can see in my event view is:

Warning - Source MsiInstaller. Failed to connect to server. Error 0x80004002.

This is clearly related as the User is the Limited Account I am trying to create and it is the only event related to that account.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on May 23, 2005

Have you tried creating a second admin account, just to test if it's a general issue and not specific to the account type?
posted by pmbuko at 12:24 PM on May 23, 2005

I suspect that there might be something that automatically starts at login time (like an installer) that is not working with your limited account. See if using safe mode fixes the problem.
posted by grouse at 12:35 PM on May 23, 2005

Response by poster: Pimbuko: good idea. I created a second admin account and it worked perfectly. So this is definitely specific to limited accounts. I turned on the "Guest" account and tried that one, and it also hangs on a pale blue screen. I assume the guest account is just a built in limited account Strange.
posted by Justinian at 12:50 PM on May 23, 2005

Malware that is called with an HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE(and not HKEY_CURRENT_USER)\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run entry may be trying to do something bad that a limited account doesn't have rights to do.

Either get some malware removal tool(SpyBot, Ad-Aware, your virus scanner of choice) and check that. If that fails(and you're so inclined), open Start-Run->regedit and navigate to the registry key mentioned above. See if there's anything that looks fishy in there. As always, be careful when dinking around with the registry.
posted by mnology at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2005

I don't think you can fix/reinstall the MSI/Windows Installer in XP like you can in 98/NT/2K. Try changing your new admin account - bump the priveleges down. This may not fix the problem where new limited accounts won't load, but should get you where you want to be. You might also try booting in safe mode and see if you can log in with a limited account (I don't think you can). If you can, though, then restart in normal mode and log in with the limited account.
posted by attercoppe at 6:38 PM on May 23, 2005

Is your Default User profile readable by "Everyone"?
posted by krisjohn at 7:08 PM on May 23, 2005

Response by poster: attercoppe: That was a good idea but it didn't work. I created an admin account named TEST. It logged on fine. I logged back out and went to my regular admin account and changed TEST to limited. It still goes to a blank screen and no icons or taskbar appears, although this time it looks like the default wallpaper it hangs on rather than a blue screen. Once I put TEST back to admin, it logs on fine again. Very odd.

mnology: I checked for trojans, etc with two different antivirus softwares, Ad Aware, Spybot, and manually in the registry. Looks okay.

krisjohn: I'm not sure. Ummmm...

This is very annoying. I'm about to give up.
posted by Justinian at 9:27 PM on May 23, 2005

Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy
Local Policies > Audit Policy

Turn success and failure auditing on for everything. Then check your Security Event Log after the crash. This might give you more of a clue as to what happened immediately before the crash.

Also, are you up to SP2 and the latest patches on Windows Update? There was a patch to MsiInstaller in the last couple of weeks.
posted by grouse at 10:43 PM on May 23, 2005

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