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How to reset forgotten login password under Vista

My customer forgot their login password on a Windows VIsta PC. Please reply with a way to reset the password. PC is a laptop and does not have a floppy drive so we need s solution that does not depend on booting from a floppy.

I prefer a solution that is EASY and has a EASY interface and is NOT free (i.e costs $20- $50 from a small niche SW company) to a free harder to implement solution. Please do not reply with a solution involving a Knoppix CD. And please do not reply unless you are 100% sure your solution works with Vista. I have a solution from a $17 SW company but it does not work with Vista (although it works with beta Vista).

Regards-Mike
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mgross333
Asked:
mgross333
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2 Solutions
 
mgross333Author Commented:
NOTE; Vista provides a way to create a reset password CD or floppy (can't remember which) for when one at a later time forgets their login password BUT THIS MUST BE DONE AT A TIME ONE IS ALREADY LOGGED IN (i.e knows the login password). My customer did not create that CD or floppy so do not refer to that solution.

Mike
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thecomputerdocsCommented:
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mgross333Author Commented:
thecomputerdocs,

Thanks but as mentioned in my post I strongly prefer a product THAT YOU PAY FOR because it has been well tested BEFORE RELEASE. The remark at the link you provide about the author fixed the problem with NTFS Mount hangs after users complained IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO HEAR. Who knows what other bugs remain? THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH FREEWARE.

Also your link is for a registry editor that can be used for password reset. I DO NOT WANT BRANCHES IN THE ROAD. I just want to type in a new password and be done with this. SPECIFICALLY your link's instructions are...................
5. File select, which parts of registry to load, based on what you want to do.
6. Password reset or other registry edit.

WHAT?????  I do not know what "parts of registry" are used for password reset????  And yes I noted there is a link to a walkthru but I do not want to take the time to learn this. I want a product that creates a boot CD and I boot and the only interface is (other than maybe specifying that the OS is Vista) is TYPE IN THE NEW PASSWORD (for maybe a named login account if there is more than one). AND WE ARE DONE.

Can any EE expert find a easy-to use program that supports Vista and just works (which usually means it is not free).

Regards-Mike
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Justin MaloneSystem AdministratorCommented:
Winternals ERD commander is what i use. its bootable just like knoppix and has a password reset tool built in. just choose witch account you want to change and type a new password. the problem with ERD is the fact that it is a bit expencive. mabie you can find a copy to borrow from someone. it also has about a million other uses then just a password reset but it works on vista ive done it.

http://searchwindowssecurity.techtarget.com/downloadPage/0,295339,sid45_gci1212576,00.html

wow im glad i looked them up before submitting. microsoft has aquired winternals so in order for this to be a viable solution you would need to find someone who allreddy has a copy.
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CircleblueCommented:
Mike,

1) remove the hard drive
2) plug it into another system (either USB or direct connect)
3) copy the data off the drive
4) reinstall the OS

That meets your requirements of
1) No floppy
2) No Knoppix
3) simple instructions.

Otherwise you will have to use some sort of bootable program that is most likely UNIX based and comes on either a CD or a Floppy.  

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dreamyguyCommented:
mgross333: dude, just because u pay for a product doesnt mean its BUG FREE or it's better. Take windows for example. Take any major software, there's always bugs and room for improvement.
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dreamyguyCommented:
whether u purchase free or paid software, there's bound to be issues. If you mess your computer up by using a PAID software, do you think that the vendor is going to take the responsibility for the bugs in his software? I guess I made my point. There's always a DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY on any EULA which basically says that  THE SOFTWARE IS LICENSED AS-IS.  YOU BEAR THE RISK OF USING IT.  and that the vendor GIVES NO EXPRESS WARRANTIES, GUARANTEES OR CONDITIONS.
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rvhmCommented:
Mike

There is software available that you can purchase that will solve the problem, easily.

The program that I recommend is the first one, it has a one button to create a recovery disk that you can use on any Windows PC. These recovery programs usually cost about 30-40 USD.

A@PC: Windows Password Recovery Software. Reset Administrator Password. XP VISTA 2003 2000 NT.:
http://www.password-changer.com/

Windows Password Recovery Key - Resets the Administrator account password:
http://tinyurl.com/2qr7oc

Ron
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mgross333Author Commented:
rvhm,

I will try one of the two you recommend and assign points to you if it works.

Circleblue,
Are you kidding? Apply some common sense please.

dreamyguy,
   The odds of having no problems is a lot higher if the SW is NOT free. As for Windows, the job there is a lot bigger than resetting a lost password. Of course, there are going to be bugs and problem with any enterprise that large.

Mike
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dreamyguyCommented:
Who came up with these odds that just because you've paid for it, that means it's of a better quality? Is there a study/whitepaper behind this?

Look, there are bound to be issues with any software, whether paid or unpaid. It's just that when things go wrong, since you've paid for the sofware, you can also demand for help, right? But if it's free, then you're mostly on your own.

Bottom Line: Don't judge a book by it's cover!  Don't BLINDLY pick software based on its pricing. Look at quality, features, reviews, support.
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Justin MaloneSystem AdministratorCommented:
i agree with dreamyguy just because it is free dossent mean that it has bugs/viruses/adware
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CircleblueCommented:
Mike,

You're right.  What was I thinking?  Common sense would have told me not to offer a simple solution to somebody that is just flaming everybody on here and is not willing to put forth any effort to do his work.  At least I would have been done yesterday instead of making excuses...

Common sense also says you should be polite to people offering suggestions to help you out.  If you don't like their solutions, don't reply.  It is that simple.  Have a great day and I hope RVHM's solution helps you out.  

Cheers.
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thecomputerdocsCommented:
I"ll be sure not to waste my time answering questions to mgross333. He's a little too "angry".
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rvhmCommented:
I don't agree that the OP was flaming anyone? He expressed his opinion about free software and clearly stated what he was looking for.

I also agree with his opinion about free software, especially utilities. There are exceptions, of course but for the most part you are taking a chance when you use them. This is based on my own experience.

Ron

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dreamyguyCommented:
rvhm:

look at this comment made by the author

thecomputerdocs,
Thanks but as mentioned in my post I strongly prefer a product THAT YOU PAY FOR because it has been well tested BEFORE RELEASE.

Do you think that the statement made by him is right? Don't you think that its offensive to AN EXPERT who is just trying to help?
Just because you haven't had a good experience doesn't mean that others haven't. I have personally used the software which thecomptuerdocs mentioned and even I would recommend it to anyone. Is it bad to recommend a software based on one's experience? How does it even matter whether its free or paid if it's good?
Name one software whose EULA reads that if something goes wrong/bad after using this software, we shall take full liability.
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mgross333Author Commented:
350 points assigned to rvhm, 150 to thecomputerdocs (100 for providing a FREE solution -not my preference BTW and 50 more points (see why below)). NOTE: I never tested thecomputerdoc's solution beyond creating a ISO CD from the link. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I used rvhm's first link www.password-changer.com and eventually (after some problems) got it to work. This is a $39.99 (USD) product. It has a lot of bells and whistles and a good but complex interface (partly because it has many capabilities). It removed the lost password and the Vista laptop booted to the desktop. (It could have reset the password and changed a few other things too but I did not go that route). Then the user can setup a new password if they want from Control Panel>User Accounts.

An advantage to rvhm's $39.99 solution is (as far as I can tell) once the bootable DOS CD is created it can be used on an unlimited number of PC's with lost passwords. This is ONLY advantage for a professional like me who may get a call again to fix a lost password problem.

BIG PROBLEM: rvhm's first link FAILED TO CREATE A ISO BOOTABLE DOS CD; THE CD WAS EMPTY. MY OS is XP Home SP2 fully updated. (i.e the PC used to download password reset SW and create CD on).
I had to use the 2nd alternate procedure in the linked instructions to get the CD created.  I had to click the iso file (from full path provided in alternate directions). NOTE: As explained in the documentation for thecomputerdoc's solution, this approach only works if you have 3rd party (not part of Windows) SW that can burn an ISO CD (ex Roxio, Nero, etc). I assigned an extra 50 points to thecomputerdoc because this point was not well explained in rvhm's link-instructions although clicking the iso file DID CREATE A BOOTABLE ISO CD because Roxio Disk Copier popped up and did it.

Points assigned with grade B (not A) because the primary instructions (run program or (1st alternate) click this exe file FAILED TO CREATE A BOIOTABLE CD (wasting my time and almost causing me to ask for refund !!) and I had to go to the 2nd alternate instructions to get this to work.

Regards-Mike

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