General discussion

Ghost in the Machine for Halloween

After 4 years I finally cleaned by HD and reinstalled everything on the Compaq desktop(SA 4000T). After using the recovery disk, removed the crapware, installed antivirus and Office, and then downloaded updates for XP, Office and drivers. I did not want to repeat this 6 hour process in the future so I backed-up the ?core? install using Acronis Home 2010.

Following that, I added 2 users Me and Wife, installed Windows Home Server and backed up the ?core? to the server. Added all our misc. applications, games and backed up to the server again nice and clean.

Now I wanted to recover my old music, picture and Office files from the old server backup files. That?s when WHS would not open a backup from the desktop just locked once at 97% complete requiring a power-down reboot. Yet I could grab the same files from the notebook.

Now I?m in WHS/XP hell. Both see a Compaq_Owner as a user. The desktop downloads default to Compaq_Owner and are saved there (internet files, local pictures, or Office files). While WHS nags me that passwords for Compaq_Owner do not match.

? In Control Panel/Users three entries reside: Me, Wife (admin rights and password protected) and Guest which is off. There is no Compaq_Owner.
? When either of us is logged on, Windows Explorer under My Computer shows folders only for Shared Documents, Me Documents and Wife Documents.
? When I logon under C:\My Computer\Documents and Settings I have folders for: All Users, Compaq_Owner , Default User, Wife, LocalService and NetworkService but not Me or Admin. None of these folders have a sub-folder for Me
? When Wife logs on under C:\My Computer\Documents and Settings she has All Users, Compaq_Owner, and Wife. And in the Compaq_Owner folder she sees a folder for the Me Documents.
? Windows Task Manager shows Compaq_Owner as the user when I logged on as Me but Wife shows properly when she?s logged on.

I need to find a way to remove the ghost user or I?m facing another complete install because the Core backup ? has the Compaq_Owner. After much internet searching the only conceivable help I?ve found is Microsoft Support Article 811151 3/28/08. But before I do anything I thought I would ask if anyone solved this before.

Sorry this is so long and after a week of head knocking any help would be appreciated

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Account naming issues are legendary.

But this is why I never rename an account or do anything but create new users and then check to see if the home directory matches. You learn why I do that!

The abbreviation WHS might be Windows Home Server. I can explain why XP locks up on some but not all restores. It has to do with a long standing bug in Explorer. Let's find 2 examples and leave it at that. Explorer and Windows locks solid on AVI files it can't decode as well as JPEG files it can't render.

This bug was first noted in Windows 3.0 and continues to this day. There is no sign of a fix.

For the AVI files we can install a CODEC PACK but I never suggest one in particular but ask the owner to install the one they used. Some owners have forgotten and have to try a few.

As to WHS as backup, that's a great idea but where's the backup? We need 2 copies to really be safe. WHS's problems are known so simpler backup systems are what I suggest.

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Ghost in the Machine

I have not renamed any users yet. I need to remove the default Compaq_Owner and all I can find is the one Microsoft article - looking to find if someone knows if it worked.

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Seems easy.

Create your new account, check that your files are not in the old account and folder then remove the account with that home folder and you're done.

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I wouldn't try removing that Compaq_Owner account.

When you installed, (reinstalled) XP onto this machine the very first account, the one that let's you access Windows, is what I call the "System Administrator" account. Does Compaq call this the "Compaq_Owner" account? What I mean is, is this the same as the default System Administrator account?

If so, it would not be wise to attempt to remove it.

When you create other Admin accounts the System Administrator account disappears from the Welcome Screen and cannot be accessed other than through the Safe Mode options, and that is by design.

It seems that you successfully created an Admin account for your wife, but the Admin account for "Me" failed. That's why there are no "Documents and Settings" for account "Me".

If User Accounts and Documents and Settings shows no account for Me, then that account doesn't exist. It is likely you installed software whilst in the System Administrator account.

There is a way around this. Treat that Comnpaq_Owner account as a corrupted profile, and use Microsoft's guidance for creating a new profile, (account), and copying the data from the (treated as) corrupted profile to the new one.

How to copy data from a corrupted user profile to a new profile in Windows XP.

You will have to carry this out in your wife's account.

Whatever you do, do not attempt to delete this System Admin/Compaq_Owner account.


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