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Locked out of Vista can't reset administrator password

Posted on 2010-11-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I rebuilt a machine for a friend (HP running vista Home).

They renamed the administrator account to her name - sue and set a password.

now she can't log in with admin rights?  There'a a standard user account she can log into with, but can't do administrator things.   the 'administrator'  account is disabled by default, right?  And to add insult to injury, she's not sure she knows the password on the administrator account!  she wasn't looking at the keyboard when she typed it the 2 times you need to set it!  DOH!

She tried lophtcrack and ntpassword to reset the password on administrator account, but still can't get in.

any advice?  She has a restore partition on the hard drive for vista and doesn't have an install CD.  

I'm miles away, so I can't help her much / just phone support.

thanks!
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Question by:ThisIsAToughOne
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Accepted Solution

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John Griffith earned 167 total points
ID: 34146507
Boot into Recovery using the HDD recovery partition and select "Windows System Restore".  Choose a restore point prior to the renaming of the account.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940765

Regards. .  .

jcgriff2
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Author Comment

by:ThisIsAToughOne
ID: 34146811
being an older / underpowered celeron, I turned off unneeded services including  system restore : )
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Author Comment

by:ThisIsAToughOne
ID: 34146870
when it boots up, you get the welcome screen with administrator and bob as the 2 accounts.

they can get into bob, but it's not an admin
they can't get into administrator - can't get the password right

this started when she renamed administrator to Sue and set a password

over the phone I walked through with her using ntpasswd, a linux bootable disk for password reset.

it shows an account administrator in the administrator group (not Sue)
guest
Bob which is a standard user
Bob2 which is an administrator

She promoted bob and rebooted - the bob on the welcome screen does not give admin rights.  Tried resetting administrator password - it says it's blank so we can't reset it to anything else.

when trying to do something like ad / change users, it asks for an admin login.  it hs a username / password and username is filled in already - sue (and doesn't let you change it).  and it fails using the password she thought she set it to.

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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:RootsMan
RootsMan earned 333 total points
ID: 34154390
That's interesting that ntpasswd does not show users Sue or Administrator.

Are you able to log in as "Bob2," since that is the Administrator level account?
If not use ntpasswd to clear the password for Bob2, and login as Bob2.


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Author Comment

by:ThisIsAToughOne
ID: 34154422
clear password for bob2 - tried that.  the only users on welcome screen is bob and sue.

isn't there keystrokes to switch from welcome screen to they older 2 or 3 line login for windows?

we tried control alt delete 2 times.  that's not the keystrokes?

is there something like that for vista?

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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:RootsMan
RootsMan earned 333 total points
ID: 34154645
Unfortunately since Bob or Sue are not members of the Administrators Group, you won't able to make an changes to how you log into Windows.

Try this:

1. Open a Command prompt
2. At the Command prompt, type runas /u:bob2 cmd
3. Press enter at the password request

If Windows doesn't let you start the new Command prompt as user Bob2, because the password is blank, then you'll have to use ntpasswd to set a password for Bob2, and then try again.

Once you can open a Command Prompt as Bob2, then you can run secpol.msc to open the Local Security Policy Snap-in.

Use the Command Prompt as Bob2 to Enable Username and Password Logon
1. In a Command prompt, type secpol.msc
2. Navigate to Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options
3. Enable, Interactive logon: Do not display last user name
4. Exit from the Local Security Policy Snap-in
5. Reboot the PC

You should now get a prompt from Windows to enter a username and password, which should get you in as the Administrator Bob2.



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