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How To Fix C:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop Is Unavailable On Windows 10 1803 Login

The Windows 10 1803 update has a bug whereby it cannot find the folder located at C:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop. The error makes it so you cannot access anything on your desktop and this error can appear if you’re updating from an older version or doing a clean install. The error surfaces once you’ve gone through the entire update process. Here are two ways to fix the problem.

Control Userpasswords2

Tap the Win + R keyboard shortcut to open the run box. In the run box, type cmd.exe and tap Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open Command Prompt with admin rights. In Command Prompt, enter the following, and tap enter.

control userpasswords2

This will open the User Accounts window. Click the Add button and add a new user. You can add a local user or a Microsoft account and assign it admin rights if you want. You can do this later as well if you want. Once you add a second user, restart Windows, and login with it. This is the easiest way to go if you don’t want to lose your files and have to install apps again.

Clean Install

If the above method doesn’t work, you still have two options and you may lose files and apps via one of them. You will need to create a install disk for Windows 10. Use the media creation tool and create a USB that can install Windows 10, connect it to your system and turn it on. It will ask if you want to upgrade the current installation. Select the upgrade option and when prompted, choose the option to keep both files and apps.

If you get the error again, try the previous solution one more time after you attempt the update from the USB stick. If that doesn’t work, you’re going to have to do a clean install of Windows 10. To keep your files save, you should try booting from a live disk to back up the files you want to save. Your apps will be lost once you finish installing Windows 10.

The error message for this bug is called “Location is not available” but there are several bugs that have this exact same name. The above solutions work only if the location that the error reports as unavailable is C:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop. This same error appears for other locations too and they may or may not have anything to do with the April update. They will also have their own solutions though it’s safe to say a clean install will fix them all.

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  • iBeleave

    Thank you – this worked! Not sure if we needed the new account or not, but running the media creation tool from USB did the trick. Ran it from Task Manager, which was always accessible, even when explorer was not. Tried running if from recovery options (boot from USB), and running repair etc did NOT WORK. But running it directly from the task manager save all our programs. A little scary, not know if would actually update and save our programs, but it did. Thank you!

    • Lenka

      Hi there, Where is the media creation tool located? I cannot find it even through Task manager… not sure what I am doing wrong…

      • To run the media creation tool from the task manager, you need to already have it downloaded. If you don’t, open Task Manager, go to File>Run new task and use the Browse button to find your browser. In the browser, download the media creation tool, and then run it from task manager via File>Run new task.

        • Lenka

          Thank you Fatima, but as much as I would love to do that,I lost Internet connection when the whole problem started… also when I do try to open the browser, nothing happens… smh… I am so lost… I would not mind reinstalling the whole Windows as I have everything important backed up but I don’t even know how to do that… I’m not much of a computer person… 🙁

  • Lenka

    For me the first solution did not work… so I guess I should try the media creatiom tool… the problem is, how? I cannot even find it, never mind figuring out how to use it… this is not how I intended to spend my morning smh…

  • Juris

    Creating new account worked. Created new account, started into it, the Start Menu/desktop were fine. Then re-started into the “old” account, and everything worked, too. Deleted the unneeded new account, so far so good.
    Thanks for the tip!

  • Lee Brady

    Found another solution. After powering on the computer and before you enter your password click on the ‘Power’ button icon located in the lower right corner of the display, hold down the ‘Shift’ key and then click on the ‘Restart’ option. Choose your account name and password to continue and then you should see the GUI Boot Menu when the computer restarts. Click on the ‘Troubleshoot’ option. Next click on ‘Advanced options’ and choose ‘Go back to the previous version’. Worked for me

    • Barbara

      You are a genius!!! Thank you. It worked for me. Yaaaaay. And phew

  • Jim Hyde

    Desktop missing after install of 1803. I do not have Avast. Had to do a clean install. MCT said it could not fix my problem and repair options from installation disk could not help. Thanks MS.

  • Brice Hinchman

    Windows 10 update gave me this error as well. I was getting keymap screen every time I would boot. This lead to another screen where I had Windows 10 Rollback, Windows 10 Version 4, and Windows 10 version 4 to boot from. I tried all of the start up repairs, System File Checker, and DISM tools. Creating a second account did not work as it came up with the same error. Clean install is the only thing that worked. Reset option was not available. Revert back to previous version was not an option.

  • Crimea Investment

    I resolved my trouble in amazingly fast and easy way !!!!

    This has fixed my problem in two pushings of the button!!!!!!!!!!

    After the Windows 10 update I got the black screen with a recycle bin
    1 I unplugged and disconnected network wire from the PC (disconnected internet).
    2 Physically pushed ON/OFF button and just shut the PC down.
    3 After it was off/out for 5 minutes, I physically pushed ON/OFF button to turn the PC on.
    4 It started and then a message appeared like “Restoring your previous windows version” or similar
    5 Amazingly it did the trick!!!!!!!!!
    I am on the running PC again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Haley Christian

    When I try to add a new user it brings up an error screen saying new user could not be added to this pc. I don’t have a USB.