Windows 7 Keeps “Preparing Desktop”

Categories: Resources and Windows.

If you get that annoying message that says “Preparing Desktop”, read on to learn how to fix it.

There is a better way to fix the immediate problem. You can do this under your own user ID if you have administrative privileges:

  1. Run REGEDIT
  2. Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList”
  3. You should find your profile key, with another named identically except for a “.bak” extension
  4. Delete the “normally named” key
  5. Rename the “.bak” named key to remove the “.bak” extension
  6. Restart your machine

If you do not have administrative privileges, you will need to fist sign on with a user ID that does.

This will allow you to preserve all of the customization you “lost” without having to recreate everything. I have to do this at home all of the time.

The bigger concern is: “Why does this happen at all?”

The only thing I have found (fairly) consistently is that it occurs whenever we use “Switch Users”. Recently, I have noticed that whenever one user is logged on and then computer “sleeps”, the next user will “lose” their settings, even if they properly log off the previous user. Executing the fix above always brings the desktop back.

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