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Usernames do not appear on XP startup screen

Posted on 2007-04-05
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Last Modified: 2010-03-05
There is no username on my windows xp home logon screen.  The issue is described in the following EE thread:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_20838198.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+ha+login+screen+usernam+xp

The accepted solution to this question was reference to a microsoft article:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302346/

I followed the steps in this microsoft article, slaving the hard drive to another computer to edit the registry, but the registry key that the ms article referenced doesn't seem to be in my registry at all!  When I go to the hkeylocal machine\software\microsoft\windows nt\currentversion\winlogon folder there isn't anything on the right side of the screen relating to "ginadll" at all!  Is this my problem?  If so, how do I get this entry back?  

Any other thoughts on what might be causing my issue?
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Question by:mattbiel
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Expert Comment

by:sirbounty
ID: 18862016
What happens if you hit <ctrl>+<alt>+<del> twice in succession?
Are you presented with a logon box?
If so, try logging on at that point and post back...
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Author Comment

by:mattbiel
ID: 18862059
Thank you for replying.  Yes, I tried that and the box comes up but no matter what I type in for username and password (administrator with blank password included) it says "username or password invalid.

This is an interesting development.  I tried running recovery console from my xp disk.  It asked me to log in to a  user account and defaulted to Administrator.  my administrator password is blank but it wouldn't accept blank.  So then I put in this tool I have to reset xp passwords, and it loaded up the SAM and said that "there are no usernames found" to change a password on.   the directory it listed was \SAM\domains\account\users\name  

????
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by:Merete
ID: 18862063
mattbiel which verion of xp are using?
xp home or xp pro sp1 or sp2
xp home is different from xp pro.
Also you should be running sp2.
All accounts should be administrators
By default Windows XP displays the Graphic login screen with icons and usernames at startup.

If you would like to use the more traditional Windows NT login screen you can get to that screen by pressing Ctrl Alt Del (Reboot key sequence) twice.

If you would like to change to the traditional screen at login, instead of the graphic login screen, do the following:
Log in with administrator access.
Click on Start, Control Panel, and select user accounts.
Click on Change the Way Users Log On or Off.
Click on the Box "Use the Welcome Screen" so that there is not check mark.
If you would like to switch from the traditional login screen to the more graphic screen just click on the box in step 4 above so the "Use the Welcome Screen" box is checked.

How to automatically log on to a user account in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/KB/282866
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/admins.htm
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by:sirbounty
ID: 18862068
As for "Is this my problem" - apparently not, if that key doesn't even exist.
Do you still have the capability of slaving it?

I'd be curious what's under
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList

When did this start?  Any idea of what happened?

A repair install would probably sort it - but I don't know that the recovery console route would...
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Author Comment

by:mattbiel
ID: 18862131
Yes, I have the capability to slave it.  Here's what's under the key you asked about:

(default)
HelpAssistant
IUSR_
IWAM_
NetShowServices
SQLAgentCmdExec
TsInternetUser
VUSR_

Thanks for the fast replies SirBounty!  

How do I do a repair install?  From the XP disk?  Will I lose data?  Let's not go down this road unless it's last option.

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by:mattbiel
ID: 18862141
I can't do a repair install because when I boot into the recovery console it asks me which installation I want to repair (i only have one), so I choose that one and then it asks me for the Administrator password, and that's where I get stuck.  

This just happened overnight between restarts.  I may have installed some old 1998 software yesterday that may have done it.
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Expert Comment

by:sirbounty
ID: 18862142
No - you won't lose "data" - but you may have to reload software (potentially) and most certainly reload the service pack/hotfixes/updates that Microsoft has installed on your system.  Here's a instruction link to look over if you'd like...http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

What about the cause?  Any idea on that?
Are you importing those hives to view them?  If so, can you also look under HKey_Users (ignore the 'short' SID entries - those are default accounts).
I'm more interested in the 'long' entries...any like:
S-1-5-21-321748132-227514204-735315643-1003
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sirbounty earned 500 total points
ID: 18862151
No, that's not the 'repair' method I'm referring to...it's also known as an in-place upgrade...you won't need to know the Admin credentials to accomplish it.

Agreed that it's normally a last-ditch effort, but if you've got no accounts, what else can you do?  Presumably you've tried booting into safe mode - and that fails, so you can't do a rollback/system recovery (which may not 'fix' this anyway).
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by:Merete
ID: 18863361
if you want to run a repair>>> dont do it from recovery<<
you will not loe your files
you will need the COA key  on the back of your tower,
perform a reinstallation of Windows XP, sometimes called a repair installation?
Configure your computer to start from the CD-ROM drive.
Then insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer.

When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
 
Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
 
"" Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console. ""
 
In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
 
 Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, this is typically C
and then press R to repair Windows XP.
 
 Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.



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Author Comment

by:mattbiel
ID: 18867608
SirBounty, thanks for working with me on this.  As it turns out, I was able to fix this issue by slaving the drive and then grabbing a registry snapshot from a few days ago and putting the files from that snapshot into the c\windows\system32\config folder.    This is a method I learned from the following MSKB article:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545/en-us

Of course, I couldn't do it exactly as it was written in the above article because I couldn't get in to recovery console.  But slaving the drive enabled me to do pretty much the same thing.

Unfortunately, I am still at a loss for what caused this issue in the first place, but the good news is that I am up and running and everything works perfectly as it did before!  

Do you know of any issues that might arise out of what I did (taking "snapshot" registry files from a restore point, renaming them, and placing them in my system folder), or does that sound like a good fix to you?  If it's legit, it seems like a good way to fix a lot of different registry issues.

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by:sirbounty
ID: 18867700
No that's perfect...which files did you overwrite?  "Should" have been only the SAM file that was needed, unless something else was corrupted.

I can't think of any side effects using this method - except if you had overlaid the software file and you'd recently installed some software (oh yeah, you did... haha!).  That may need to be reinstalled, in that case - if you're willing to risk it again. :^)  Good luck!!
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Author Comment

by:mattbiel
ID: 18868042
I did overwrite all 5 registry files:  Default, SAM, Security, Software, System.  I don't understand enough about the registry to have known that my issue was only in the SAM file...but now I will know for future if this happens again...thanks for that!
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