Windows Server 2012/R2/Terminal server: Temporay user profiles after February 2020 Updates

[German]There are massive issues with security update KB4537821 and preview rollup update KB4537819. Users of Windows 8.1, but especially administrators of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Terminal Server are hidden by a temporary user profile after user logs in after the update installation.


Information about the problem at an early stage

Shortly after the security update KB4537821 (Monthly Rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2) there was a comment from German blog reader BossaNova:

Subject KB4537821
Did this today on 8.1, after that the user profile was corrupted and could not be brought to life even with the registry tip. After system reset everything was OK again. Wanted to know it then exactly and repeated the procedure 3 times, always the same result. The KB4524445 was already installed.

And there is further feedback from affected people here in this blog. Well, this was related to Windows 8.1, there are not too many users anymore. But the security update is also available for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Terminal Server. And there is this German comment from February 22, 2020, which confirms the problem there. In the follow-up article Windows 8.1/10: What's the status of the user profile bug? I mentioned that the preview rollup update KB4537819 does not change this unfortunate situation. 

Trouble with Windows Server 2012 R2

Even though the patchday February 11, 2020 is long gone, user comments are still arriving on my blogs reporting the problem with a temporary user profile in the Windows Server 2012 area. Already on February 27, 2020 this German user reported a problem with the user profile. .

Yes, we also have this problem on Server 2012 R2. There it only affects the user account that was active during the installation of the update. All other user accounts do not seem to be affected.

It is interesting to note that the temporary user profile only affects the user account that was active during the update installation. But I also received feedback, that the issue affects all profiles. On February 28th there was this German comment which also reports the issue for Terminal Server.  

We just had the same problem (all user profiles gone) on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Terminal Server. Uninstalling KB4537821 solved the problem. It's a shame that the problem is not even referenced in the KB article, let alone that a bugfix is announced.

There is no confirmation from Microsoft that this error is known. It also doesn't look to me like the bug will be fixed on patchday in March 2020.


Possible Workarounds

To be on the secure side, you should restart Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Shift key pressed. Then a complete restart will be executed and with good luck the temporary user profile will be gone. Seems to help with few people though.

10 years ago I also had the German article Anmeldung scheitert wegen defektem Benutzerprofil here in the blog. This article outlines how to repair registry entries of the profile service. In the comments, however, there is a mixed picture, some people affected by this approach do not get the problem fixed. In this case, the only thing that helps is to uninstall the update and block it for installation.

The above mentioned observation that it only affects the user profile from which the update installation is performed may allow a workaround – especially for server administrators.

1. creates a separate administrator account on Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2.

2. log in under this new account and have the update installed there.

If a temporary user profile appears after the reboot when logging in to the new account, log out and then log in to one of the older administrator accounts. With a little luck the user profile is still there. In this case, you will have to reboot several times and check if the user profile is still available. If so, delete the newly created administrator account with the temporary user profile.

Similar articles:
Windows 8.1: Update KB4537821 kills also user profiles
Windows 10: Update KB4532693 kills user data/profile
Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 Updates (Feb. 25, 2020)
Windows 8.1/10: What's the status of the user profile bug?
Windows 10 V190x: Issues with Update KB4535996

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One Response to Windows Server 2012/R2/Terminal server: Temporay user profiles after February 2020 Updates

  1. Pingback: Looks like the temporary profile “lost desktop” bug is hitting Server 2012 R2, too @ AskWoody

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