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How to override lost password

Posted on 2008-06-09
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
My employer's mom was given a computer by her grandson who lives some distance away.  The PC is password protected and she can't get in.  I haven't seen it so I don't know if it's the hard drive or the windows operating system.  I'll be seeing her this week to help her so I'd like some assistance for either scenario.  Is there a way around the windows password other than reinstalling windows?  If it's the hard drive, what needs to be done to remove the password?
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Question by:BonnieW
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17 Comments
 
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:MidnightOne
ID: 21745749
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 21745830
The HD password you can't reset without you knowing the password.

The windows password you can use the link already provided above. I prefer using the UBCD, as it includes other very useful tools for PC diagnostics. At least one of the tools on the UBCD can be used to reset windows passwords. Also the UBCD4WIN can be useful.

http://ultimatebootcd.com
http://ubcd4win.com
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:alikaz3
ID: 21746170
You can always try the infamous default admin account:

L: Administrator
P: <blank>

You'd be surprised.....

If you can't get the admin account to show on the login screen (shows welcome screen), hit ctrl-alt-del twice at that menu and it will bring up the "classic" login screen. From there you can type in the admin login.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:andyms56
ID: 21746360
hi m8
the best way wood be to phone the grandson and ask for the password
andy
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Author Comment

by:BonnieW
ID: 21746922
Thanks for the respones.  Unfortunately, the lady has been asking for months for the password and neither the grandson nor his dad can provide it.  She's up in years and confused about the whole thing.  Naturally the first thing I'll try is Administrator but  I believe they already tried that.  I may try Guest.
I downloaded the ubcd and don't see where it has password support.  I've also downloaded ERD Commander and EBCD but haven't made the bootable CDs yet.  
A long time ago I read that the hard drive password could be removed by taking out the battery...would that work and where is the battery?
Thanks for your suggestions.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:alikaz3
ID: 21747003
The battery would help if it were a BIOS password.
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 125 total points
ID: 21747011
The password resetting tool on the UBCD is under filesystem tools, NTFS Tools, Offline NT Password and Registry Editor.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 21747027
No. HD passwords can't be removed by taking out the battery. Those passwords are stored directly on the HD itself, and only specialized companies can remove such passwords.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:aces4all2008
ID: 21747079
The CD version of the following will work for just about any Windows system including Vista (prior to SP1)

http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 21747102
If I'm not mistaken, it's the same utility as is on the UBCD. The advantage of the UBCD is that you get a lot more tools, and since you have to make a CD anyway, why not utilize more of the space on it for those other tools too.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:aces4all2008
ID: 21747540
Rindi's right all the way around.  It is the same one and you might as have tools you may not need instead of not have tools you do.
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:andyms56
andyms56 earned 125 total points
ID: 21747649
hi m8 if the password is on the bios and it is a desktop pc then you can open it up and remove the small battery for 10 mins and press the power button a few times with the power lead out that shod reset the bios if its a laptop then most have a different chip to store passwords which you can't remove with out a key disk
if the password is just to log on to windows turn on the computer and as soon as the bios finishes loading tap the F8 key a few times this will bring up the safe mode menu select safe mode and chose the admin account when you get in to windows open control panal user account and remove the password from the main user account reboot back to normal mode
andy
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Author Comment

by:BonnieW
ID: 21747664
Thanks everyone.  I have my bootable cds and I'll be seeing my friend on Wednesday.  I'll let you all know how it goes.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 21747775
I found this article awhile back, seems to cover your situation but I have never tried it.
http://pubs.logicalexpressions.com/Pub0009/LPMArticle.asp?ID=305
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Author Comment

by:BonnieW
ID: 21748226
Thanks, sparkmaker.   That's very helpful but  I wonder will any xp installation disk work or does it have to be the same one that installed windows originally.  I doubt very much that she has the original software.   I'm very optimistic that one of these options will do the trick.
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Author Closing Comment

by:BonnieW
ID: 31465518
I learned a lot about resetting passwords.  I'm splitting the points because your solutions were the most informative.   Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:BonnieW
ID: 21772674
Well, as it turned out there was no password on the woman's computer.  A neighbor had wiped the pc and installed a new operating system.  She was clueless, but very dear.  Her problem is that she needs a new modem to get online which I can install for her.  I'm very appreciative of all the help I received here.  I'm armed and ready should the next password emergency arise.  Thanks everyone!!
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