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Error “The local policy of this system does not permit you to logon interactively” on XP Home

Posted by kypoth-Alex on Dec 7, 2009 in How To Fix ..., Software

A customer bought me a laptop she was having login problems with. The XP Home Welcome screen was displaying, but clicking on the user icon now requests a password – she has no passwords configured or set. If you try and log in using any combination of password, the error “The local policy of this system does not permit you to logon interactively” is displayed. It gave the same error in Safe Mode, and using any account, including the Administrator, made no difference.

This basically means that your registry is corrupt! To restore it, follow the steps below…

Possibly the easiest way to do this is take the HDD out and put it in a slave computer. Otherwise boot up with some form of recovery disk, The Ultimate Boot CD is what I would normally use.

Navigate to C:\Windows\system32\config on the corrupt system.

Locate the following files, and rename them to include “.old” on the end:

  • DEFAULT
  • SAM
  • SECURITY
  • SOFTWARE
  • SYSTEM (i.e. this will now be “SYSTEM.old”)

We now need to put a recent (hopefully undamaged) copy of the registry from the System Restore folder into this folder.

Check that Protected Operating System Files are displayed (Tools, Folder options…). Navigate to C:\System Volume Information. You will need to add your individual user account to the Security options with Full Control (see Microsoft KB article 307545 if you’re having trouble).

Once you’re in to the System Volume Information directory, you’ll see the _restore folder with a long GUID code, go into this.

Now you’ll see a collection of folders beginning with RP then a number. Select one that isn’t the most recent, i.e. from a couple of weeks or so ago. Now select the Snapshot folder.

From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files:

  • _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT
  • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM
  • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY
  • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
  • _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM

and paste them into C:\Windows\system32\config

Now rename the five files to their original names, e.g. “_REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT” becomes “DEFAULT”

That’s it! Replace the HDD in the computer and power on, the PC should boot up and log in fine.