Syskey + no syskey disk and no administrator password = fubared??

Posted on 2004-10-21
Last Modified: 2013-12-04
I have a PC that I am trying to get back up and working, unfortunately the fact that I don't have the Admin PW nor does anyone else.. AND the fact that it looks like this machine was using Syskey.. it's turned into a mess!

I ran one of those Linux boot disks utils (Petter Nordahl-Hagen's Offline NT Password & Registry Editor) and tried to disable syskey then reset the Administrator password to blank.  Then when I booted back into windows, NO accounts would work: the admin using a blank PW or previously, the Guest account which USED to work before I ran the util.  Oops!...

Anyone have any ideas?
Question by:aconway
    LVL 65

    Expert Comment

    Hello aconway =)

    Have u read here yet ??

    Forgot the Administrator's Password?

    Author Comment

    Yes I have.. that's where I found the utility I ran.  I ran two different unix boot disk utilities, neither of them is working.
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    It sounds like it might be easier to retrieve your data and just resetup that computer.  We've never used or encountered syskey, but normally, you can just slap that hard drive in another windows xp box and access it.  You may have to take ownership of folders and files before you can access them, but that's easy.  My understanding is that syskey just secures the sam, it doesn't encrypt everthing, so this should work, in theory.  

    If you need to do a more forensic-like recovery, I've heard good things aobut knoppix ( from one of my students who does some forensics work on the side.  I've not personally used it, so I can't give you any guidelines, but it's free.  We use commercial forensic utilities here that cost money.

    There's also a collection of free tools here:

    I'd still start with slapping that hard drive in another computer and seeing what you can pull off it, first.

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