Have you recently encountered an error preventing you from logging into your Windows account? If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place.
The following guide contains multiple methods that helped many users overcome the problem preventing them from signing into their Windows account.
Since this issue can be highly-disruptive, let’s get right into solving it.
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The Problem Explained
Most users who encountered this problem said that their PC shut down with a blue screen error, and after booting it, the “We can’t sign in to your account” error showed up on the screen.
Based on the experience and events reported by other users, this problem likely occurs after a critical directory on your system becomes corrupt.
This can happen due to multiple reasons, such as a virus affecting critical system files, an antivirus scanning some parts of the registry at the same time you tried signing in, frequent and sudden PC crashes with bluescreen errors (that could corrupt files due to improper shutdowns), and more.
The cause of this problem is not easy to pinpoint, and due to it, it’s also not the quickest error to solve. However, there are multiple methods confirmed as working that you can try.
Learn more in the following sections.
Fix 1: Disable Antivirus Programs And Reboot The PC
One of the simpler fixes for this problem is to reboot your PC. Microsoft officials recommend you try this as the first attempt when facing this problem, as sometimes it could be a regular Windows bug that will get resolved once your PC restarts.
However, we “modified” this fix a bit to eliminate another potential cause while at it, so follow the steps below:
- Right-click an empty area on your taskbar and choose Task Manager from the list of options.
- When Task Manager opens, navigate to the Startup section.
- Find your antivirus on the list. Click it and choose Disable.
- Do this for all other security-related programs you have installed on your PC.
Note: By “security-related programs,” we mean any software that has the ability to scan your computer and access system files. These are usually anti-malware, antivirus, anti-spyware, and general PC health programs.
- Now, you can reboot your PC without worrying that these programs will instantly access system files, potentially modifying or restricting something that could lock you out of your account.
This method may not always work, so if it doesn’t, try the other solutions listed below.
Fix 2: Use The Registry Editor
You can use the Registry Editor to overcome the “We can’t sign into your account error” by changing the status of your current Windows profile.
It gets slightly complicated, but if you follow the steps below, you can get it done easily.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Simultaneously press Windows + R on your keyboard to access the Windows Run panel.
- After it opens, type in RegEdit and press the OK button, as shown in the image below.
- In the Registry Editor panel, navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.
Upon selecting the ProfileList folder (by clicking on it), you’ll find multiple entries beginning with the S-1-5 combination in the name. One of those entries should have the .bak suffix. That one is your main profile you cannot access. You should also see an identical entry but without the .bak suffix. That is the temporary Windows account you’re using now.
What you need to do is change their states by changing the suffixes.
So, here’s what to do next.
- Right-click the entry with the .bak suffix, and choose Rename. Change its suffix from .bak to .bak1.
- Now, rename the identical one that doesn’t have a suffix and give it the .bak suffix.
- Go back to the entry you gave a .bak1 suffix, and remove its suffix.
So, now the entry that didn’t originally have a suffix has the .bak suffix, and the one that was .bak originally has no suffix anymore.
There’s only one more thing to do left.
- Click the entry that no longer has a suffix (that originally had .bak) and in the right-side panel, find the key named State. Right-click it, choose Modify and set its value to 0. Click OK to save the changes.
Now, you can sign out and then back in with your account, and the error should no longer trouble you.
Fix 3: Create A New Account And Transfer All Files
Another effective way of solving this issue is by creating a new account and transferring all files you had on your previous user (that’s now locked) to the freshly-created one.
Here’s how to do that:
- Right-click the Windows logo located in the bottom-left corner of your taskbar and choose Settings from the list of options.
- When the Settings panel loads, click on Accounts.
- Click Family & other users in the left sidebar menu.
- Under the “Other users” section, click Add someone else to this PC.
- Follow the setup and create a new user account. Make sure to name the new account different than the corrupt one (don’t worry, you can change this later if you want to keep the original name).
Now, all that’s left to do is transfer the files from your original corrupt account, to the new one you just created.
To do that, follow the steps below:
- Open the “This PC” panel by clicking on the computer icon in the start menu or your taskbar. (You can also open the Windows search box and type This PC)
- Find the Users folder, usually located in C:/Users.
- Within it, you’ll find many sub-folders for each account on the computer. Open the folder for the corrupt account, copy the Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, and Contacts folder, then paste them into the folder of the new account you just created. Accept the overwrite prompt and wait for the process to complete.
This isn’t the most optimal way of fixing this problem, as the new user account won’t be identical to the previous one (you’ll have to change some things such as the desktop background, default download folders, and more) but it’s efficient and can help when you can’t fix the corrupt user but want to save your files and need to use the PC immediately.
Fix 4: Reset Windows
If nothing else helps, you can always reset Windows with the option to keep all your personal files. That will reset settings and some system configuration files that could reverse the corrupt-induced lock on your primary user.
To reset your PC, follow the steps below:
- Press Windows + S simultaneously on your keyboard to open the search box.
- Type in Reset This PC and press Enter.
- Click the Get Started button to initiate the process, then follow the steps on your screen and choose to reset the system while keeping all personal files.
It’s a lengthier process, and you’ll have to wait it out patiently, but it works. However, since the methods in this guide worked for many users, we recommend resorting to this solution only if the other methods don’t help.
That covers everything you should know about this slightly more complex Windows error often reported by many users.
Fixing the “We can’t sign into your account” error on Windows requires some slightly “techier” methods, but it’s much easier to deal with than it looks at first glance.