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Can not login to Windows XP after switching from domain to workgroup

Posted on 2012-03-15
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We bought a used piece of equipment from an auction and it was set up for domain name login. I swtiched the computer workgroup to match our existing network and can no longer use the user id or password to log in.

Is there anyway to undo what I have done. Or what should I try next?
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Question by:scangroup
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flubbster earned 2000 total points
ID: 37726525
You really don't have access anymore. What you need to do is log in as administrator and create and/or reset the existing usernames. I would create new user and copy from the old profile to the new. This is the most widely used admin password reset tool. Extremely easy to use. Download the iso file, burn it to a cd (burn an image) and boot the system with it. Just follow the prompts (usually the defaults are perfect) and select to remove (blank) the admin password. Do not select to CHANGE IT. Once you have made the changes, reboot the system and logon as admin (no password needed, just hit enter) and do your thing.

http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 37728718
The account/password reset tool is excellent advice, and here is why.

Think of it this way, when you login (to Windows) you're either logging in as DOMAINNAME\Username or else as LOCALMACHINENAME\Username.  When the machine is a trusted joined member or a domain, you can logon as either, the default is the domainname.  When machines are "standalone" workstations, you're logging on as "local" accounts.  Now even if the Username is the same, even if the password is the same (odds are often that they're different) they are different users with different GUID unique identity numbers.

The tricky part is the domain or machinename is hiding, does not seem to be there, but trust me it is always invisibly there, implied as either one or the other.  When you look under Documents and Settings there will be Username folders, and if there are two users with the same username, one of those usernames will have it's folder as dot extension "Username.DOMAINNAME" or "Username.MACHINENAME"   One of the folders contains the files for the domain-based user account, and a different folder has the different local machine based account.

When in a domain, the machine verifies logins against a central server (domain controller), and those credentials get "cached" so those previous users can still logon even if connectivity to the domain is lost or the workstation (laptop) is offline.

Your workstation had to be changed from being part of the domain to being workgroup, that was unavoidable.  Now you need to get a handle on what/which only "local machine" accounts exist if any.

By default every machine has built-in system accounts, and 99% likely there is a built-in "Administrator" account.  Often if you boot to "safe mode" then that user will be more evident and more obviously accessible.  To improve security Vista/7 keep it more hidden and more secure than XP did.

Or, by booting the above referenced http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ CD or USB boot stick, you can use the tool to access the SAM and the users and security branch of the registry of the machine, and you'll get to see what localmachine username accounts exist, including the machinename "Administrators", and change the password and/or unlock any accounts that are locked due to too many bad password attempts.  Then reboot and you should be able to login as an account that has administrative priviledges (ie local machinename\Administrator) and then go into Control Panel, Users, and then create your OWN accounts.
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by:cantoris
ID: 37734542
If you've bought some used second-hand kit, you want it nowhere near your network until you've formatted its hard drive!  It could be crawling with who-knows-what viruses!
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