If you receive the subject error while copying a profile in Control Panel / System / User Profiles, you may be able to fix it by setting registry permissions on the \SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider\<SID> key in the approriate hive.
To set permissions for the profile you are currently logged on as, use regedt32 to select:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider\<SID>
To locate your SID, see tip 295.
Use the Security menu to select Permissions and Add Read permissions for Administrators.
To copy the profile of a user that is not logged on, use the technique in tip 182 by starting with the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key and loading the hive ( Ntuser.dat ) of the appropriate user and setting permissions on:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\<key name>\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider\<SID>
If this does not work, you can just copy a profile (either the whole UserName directory or just the NTuser.dat) if the user is not logged on. To copy your profile, you will need to boot to an alternate instance of NT.