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Without a professional IT background, what is the easiest way to recover my admin password on Windows XP Home edition?

I ask the question in the title because I'm concerned if the password is reset, I won't be able to access my files. Is this true?
I don't want to go through some lengthy process of moving my hard drive to another computer. After reading other incidents here, I know that is not necessary.
Isn't there some method where another program can recover my lost password within Windows XP Home edition? No, I didn't create a password recovery disk before this happened. I will after this though.
Can John the Ripper really be used for Windows XP Home edition? If so, does anyone have an example command I would type in? If not this program, is there some other program I can use with explanatory text not meant for someone with an extensive IT background?
I appreciate your help.
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mbiedrz711
Asked:
mbiedrz711
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7 Solutions
 
r-kCommented:
You can use the ntpasswd utility to reset any password on an XP system. It is free from:

 http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/

and worked very well the one time I had to use it.
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mbiedrz711Author Commented:
In my original question, I asked if there is any negative aspect to resetting the password as opposed to an attempt to recovering the password.
Will I still be able to rename my account login back to the original name? Will all of my files be accessible afterwards and will all my personal settings remain?
Thanks.
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tonyteriCommented:
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r-kCommented:
Quote:
"In my original question, I asked if there is any negative aspect to resetting the password as opposed to an attempt to recovering the password.
Will I still be able to rename my account login back to the original name? Will all of my files be accessible afterwards and will all my personal settings remain?"
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Sorry, I did not read your question carefully. Assuming you've not done anything special like encrypting your files, resetting the password should not have any negative impact. It will not change the username, nor other personal settings. Your files should be accessible (assuming you did not encrypt).
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Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
No, the password reset posses no threat to you losing any data. You do have to realize your resetting at your own risk, if the program messes up or something, but I've used it for years, and I recommend the CD version rather than the floopy, I've not gotten the floppy to work for some time now.

Your also not resetting the name, it's just the password. Here are some of my previous comments on this topic, and how the reset password will not do harm.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Security/Q_21281595.html#13093290
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Security/Q_21223219.html?query=efs+syskey&clearTAFilter=true
-rich
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Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
BTW, even if you encrypt your files with EFS, they will know no different, EFS looks for the SID not password, although the password may have encrypted the files, your able to still view them, so you can even rename the account and you can read your EFS files. There are also 5 other recovery methods for EFS.
-rich
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mbiedrz711Author Commented:
I appreciate the help so far. Before I try the reset, I’m wondering why this is the best approach Vs a password recovery? No one had answered my password recovery questions in the beginning.
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davidis99Commented:
The reason it's easier to reset a password vs. recover a password is due to how Windows encrypts passwords, and this applies not only to third party utilities, but to Windows itself.  Passwords in Windows are encrypted to prevent other users from having access to them;  even users who function as administrators on a PC do not have access to other users' passwords, they only have the ability to set a new password for non-administrator user accounts if needed.  The NT password reset utility r-k mentioned works in a comparable manner - it can create a new password entry in the correct location for any selected account, but does not have access to the existing stored passwords.  I've used nordahl's reset utility a number of times, on NT4 Workstation, Windows 2000 Pro, and Windows XP (Home and Pro) and have had no problems accessing the user profile of the account that's been reset afterwards.
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Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Cracking the pass can be fast, if you precompute all possible hash's using RainbowCrack or OphCrack. Using JohnTheRipper, or L0phtCrack will take much more time (john is the faster of the two, espically on a linux machine)

The password reset utility is faster, and has worked for many of us over and over again. The only risk involved is the possiblity that it will mess up the SAM, which shouldn't happen, unless you elect to disable syskey, which is never a necessary step- i wish he'd remove that functionality altogether.

To obtian the Hash's you must use a utility that reads NTFS, and open or copy the SAM to a floppy or to a network share to crack. If the machine is booted, you can use Pwdump3v2, Pwdump4, NTdump or the many other SAM readers- you must have ADMIN priv's to do so however.
With regard to recovery
Recovery is a probably the safest way to do this, technically speaking. But from an experience standpoint, the reset utility works very well, again I recommend the CD-Image as opposed to the Floppy.
There are guides out there to help you, we cannot tell you john's cmd line but it's easy to use.
http://www.antsight.com/zsl/rainbowcrack/
http://lasecwww.epfl.ch/~oechslin/projects/ophcrack/index.php (if you do get the hash, this site let's you run it against their tables for free)
http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/ntfsdos.shtml
http://packetstorm.linuxsecurity.com/NT/hack/
ntfs20r.zip
Boot from DOS and access an NTFS file system.
-rich
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mbiedrz711Author Commented:
I’m currently attempting a password reset using http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/
However, I’ve run into a problem. I’m communicating to you through the only other account on my pc. This account is obviously a non-admin account. For some reason under this account I am not allowed to write to a CD. The program I have to do this is Nero.
So, now I’m trying to get the floppy to work instead. No luck yet.
Any Comments or tips welcome.
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mbiedrz711Author Commented:
I was able to get the floppy method to work.
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