Why is my Windows XP telling me that the current user account is not recognised?
April 9, 2012 11:49 PM   Subscribe

For the past month or so, my Windows XP SP3 gives me the message "The current user account is not recognised. Restart the computer and then open User Accounts." whenever I try to open User Accounts. The problem is not resolved by restarting, but is temporarily eliminated by logging off and logging back in. It reappears on restart. Why is this happening?

Currently I've seen it hinder:
- causes some icons to disappear from system tray
- Realtek HD Audio Driver does not open from Control Panel
- Media players (VLC Player, The KMPlayer, PotPlayer) do not play audio, citing a problem with audio drivers
- Opening Device Manager tells me that I do not have sufficient security privileges.

I've googled it to no luck and the only real "fix" seems to be to reinstall Windows, which I'm not keen on doing as the problem does seem to go away when I log off/log in.

I've tried sfc /scannow and registering everything in Dial-a-Fix.

I only have one user account on my Windows, it has Admin privileges.

If you guys happen to know a good place for me to ask this, that would be appreciated as well.
posted by Senza Volto to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
That is mystifying. I would recommend you do the following:

a) Click Start, then Run (or press the Windows key + R).
b) Type: control userpasswords2
c) You should be taken to an old-fashioned Windows 2000-style User Accounts dialog.
d) Make sure your account is indeed an administrator account. Do something like change your password, or the name, then reboot. See if that fixes the problem.

If it doesn't, at least accessing User Accounts from this dialog would have to make do for the time being. You won't be able to change your user picture, though, from this dialog.

But, seriously, I would have to, unfortunately, recommend a clean install of Windows XP, especially as Windows XP has a tendency to "decay" over time. Or, upgrade to Windows 7 :) Or, get a Mac! (I kid, I kid)

Let us know if my suggestion helped any.
posted by dubious_dude at 12:35 AM on April 10, 2012

Hmm, I changed the username and then because I couldn't help it, unchecked the box for "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer". Restarted and while I still get that message when accessing User Accounts, a couple of the problems have been cleaned up, namely the missing system tray icons and the media players not working correctly (which were the two main annoyances bothering me).

Device Manager and Audio Driver are as before.

This should do for now since I never even touched the User Accounts panel to begin with. Then again, it's a flimsy 'solution' and for all I know might just go back to before, so any more solution would be appreciated. :)
posted by Senza Volto at 12:51 AM on April 10, 2012

Glad my solution at least halfway helped you out and the main problems you were having now is gone. :)
posted by dubious_dude at 2:33 AM on April 10, 2012

Nope, we're back to square one now. Media players acting up, though the system tray is normal. So yeah, no fix.
posted by Senza Volto at 3:42 AM on April 10, 2012

I've seen something similar on Vista and (once) on Windows 7.

Does the problem occur if you let the machine sit idle for, say, five minutes after the login screen appears, before logging in?
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:51 AM on April 10, 2012

If that computer were on my bench, the things I would be trying first are these:
  • See whether the same behavior occurs in Safe Mode - if not, use msconfig to turn off all startup programs and non-Microsoft services and try again in normal mode; if things now work, bisect disabled startup items to find out which one is responsible.
  • See whether the same behavior occurs in a second user account. Since you can't use the GUI to make one of these, do it in a cmd window:
    net user testuser /add
    net localgroup Administrators testuser /add
    While that window is open, do a quick check to find out which security groups the currently logged on user is a member of:
    net user %USERNAME%
    and post the results here.

posted by flabdablet at 7:54 AM on April 10, 2012

Problem was being caused by SpectorSoft. Solved on removal. Thanks for the safe mode tip, flabdablet!
posted by Senza Volto at 10:11 PM on April 10, 2012

What on earth was that crap doing on your PC?
posted by flabdablet at 10:30 PM on April 10, 2012

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