How do I change the Administrator password when using the Reinstallation CD?

Posted on 2007-10-11
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
When the PC tries to boot into Windows home, it goes to the blue screen of death and gives me an error that says: Window cannot load the hive file or its log or alternate. It is either corrupt, damaged or missing. It then does a memory dump and reboots.
I have tried to use the Dell Reinstallation CD to repair the windows installation, but it keeps asking for the Administrator password. The PC owner did not even know he had one. We have tried every possible password that he would use, all to no avail.
Is there a way to bypass this password so I can repair the system. Last, last resort would be to reload XP.
Thank you

Question by:eoconsulting
    LVL 66

    Accepted Solution

    Take a look at buring one of these below tools (UBCD4WIN is ready to burn once it is downloaded). It gives you a Windows Graphical environment to make these changes...

    Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD


    Boot to one of those utilites above, and go to the a43 Explorer utility. Navigate to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

    Rename the following files....DO NOT DELETE THEM....

    Rename system to system.old
    Rename software to software.old
    Rename sam to sam.old
    Rename security to security.old
    Rename default to default.old

    Go into the "System_Volume_Information" folder (if you get a "Access Denied", right click the folder and select the Security Tab, and once you highlight Everyone at teh top, select "Full Control" in the bottom. )
    Select the "Restore Folder"
    Then you will see folders with RP50, RP51 etc... Look for the highest number, as it is the newest one. Go into that folder and copy the following files to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.


    Now, go back to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory.

    Remove the "registry_machine_" from the 5 files you just copied.

    Restart the machine, and remove the bootable disc you were using....

    If it boots successfully, go to "System Restore" in the Help menu, and do a full restore to a few days back.... This will ensure that all of the files are restored to the proper restore point, not just the registry files you fixed....

    Of course, if you just want to go through this process with just the SYSTEM file, you can do it by itself if you want. If you still get the error, or a Blue Screen of Death upon the next boot, simply go back and redo the other 4 files....
    LVL 66

    Expert Comment

    That is for fixing the restarting, which loks like a corrupted registry...

    To remove the password prompt in the recovery console....

    (first of all, did you just try hitting enter, with it blank?)

    Create one of these tools.....

    Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD


    Boot to one of those utilites above, and launch Regedit. In Regedit, eselect File>Load Hive, and navigate to the "C:\Windows\System32\Config" directory, and select the Software hive.

    Create a friendly name for it and go to the following key in the loaded hive....


    Set the SecurityLevel dword value to 1

    Select File>Unload Hive, and unload it.

    Exit the Booted OS, and retry the recovery console...

    And FYI, this is possibly a known error...

    "The password is not valid" error message appears when you log on ...
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    If you want to run a repair, you need to boot to the cd itself, so you need to hit F12 when you see the dell logo and then select the optical drive option and hit enter. When you see a message to hit any key hit any key directly so that we can boot to the cd. Then it will start to load the software you will be prompted there to select R for recovery console or enter to continue w/ the installation just hit enter because we need to run the repair for windows, no need to worry because we just need to run the repair option for windows, just in case windows is still repairable. After hitting enter you will prompted to hit R for repair this time if windows is still repairable if windows is no longer repairable then you will see the list of partitions there. If you see the R option for repair just hit R and should run the repair for your windows to repair windows.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    Have you tried a blank password ?

    Some other methods here
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    try to start with the xp installation cd. try the repair option (press R to do repair ----   not the one for recovery console).then when the device loading stage (GUI mode) comes,press ctrl+shift+f10, then comes one CMD window. please type "control userpasswords2".then it opens the user accounts windows.there select administrator and reset password.

    thats it

    try and let me know
    you wont lose any program or any thing installed there.

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