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Windows XP Start Up Password

Posted on 2012-09-01
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Last Modified: 2012-10-02
A colleague has a real problem here. She fell victim to someone who hacked into her PC and she now has a screen which is asking for a Windows Startup Password. It is not the normal Logon screen but carries the message : "This computer is configured to require a password in order to start up".

I have run a password reset program and successfully reset the password to blank. I have done this for all accounts. However, it does not seem to work for this particular problem and the same password screen keeps coming back. Help please! Thanks.
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Question by:bledington
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by:m4nd4li4
ID: 38358230
Looks like it's a virus. Can you describe the logon screen, please?

Try using the Kaspersky Resecue Disk from http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208282173

It's Linux based program & it's great for removing trojans, viruses, etc...

Good luck.
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by:NetExpert_pl
ID: 38358236
This can be Syskey
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by:RGRodgers
ID: 38358242
Could the message actually be a BIOS password prompt?  Does Windows actually even begin to boot?  ...RG
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by:NetExpert_pl
ID: 38358250
Does the computer allow you to start in safe mode?
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by:RGRodgers
ID: 38358251
If this is a BIOS password:

http://www.technibble.com/how-to-bypass-or-remove-a-bios-password/
http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000235.htm
http://www.tech-faq.com/reset-bios-password.html

Obviously, some recommendations are duplicated.  If this doesn't fix it, please post additional information about the system.

...RG
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38358253
I will try the Kaspersky disk. Yes Windows does actually begin to boot, it gets through the BIOS screen OK
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38358255
No I cannot start in Safe Mode .
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by:RGRodgers
ID: 38358259
Please do describe the login screen you are seeing in detail.  ...RG
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by:MAS
ID: 38358266
Please try repair windows XP by booting with the windows XP CD and press 'R' when you see the currently installed OS screen
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by:nobus
ID: 38358308
look if this helps - if you can boot in safe mode -  :  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Your_win_xp_user_password_has_been_changed_by_virus
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Expert Comment

by:NetExpert_pl
ID: 38358331
Show your colleague some screenshots from syskey set up (here). It would be perfect she could recall the password (if made by accident). If she cannot, crack it. See this link for guidance (text and video).
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by:NetExpert_pl
ID: 38358333
Of course you could copy any data and reinstall the system too :)
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38358346
Intried to run Kapersky but got the message that the machine was shutting down as the temperature was running at 95gegrees! She has decided to buy a new laptop as this one is nearly 7 years old.... Thanks for all the advice
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by:perolin
ID: 38358353
This is a good reason to replace the hard disk (hd) an install windows 7 and some security software.  
Use the old hd as second hd (internal if space left, with USB-IDE for Notebook) and move after installation the data to the first hd.  This is the only way to be sure that all “shit” is removed.
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Expert Comment

by:m4nd4li4
ID: 38358356
Laptop running at 95 deg does not account for the the password prompt. You could always remove the HDD from the laptop, put it in a external caddy & run the Kaspersky. Also, may want to look at the air vents and see if it is dusty ot clogged. If you're feeling brave, remove back cover & look at the state of the CPU fan.
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38358374
She was anyway planning to get another laptop so this has created an ideal opportunity to ditch this one!
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by:NetExpert_pl
ID: 38358535
Set a password for administrator on a new laptop so noone will make her "jokes".
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by:m4nd4li4
ID: 38358607
Is there anyway you could/can salvage the old laptop?
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38358914
Not really it is in very poor condition!
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by:RGRodgers
ID: 38359024
Out of pure curiosity, since we have been working on the issue, can you describe the login screen you are getting in some detail?  Thanks...RG
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Expert Comment

by:m4nd4li4
ID: 38359042
Oh well. At least you can remove the RAM modules & HDD & make use of them.
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38359309
If you refer back to my post that will give you the text which appears in a small box in the centre of the screen with the heading "Windows XP Startup Password" with OK and Restart at the bottom of the box.
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Accepted Solution

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RGRodgers earned 2000 total points
ID: 38359476
Okay, I found two references that refer to this, just to try to close it for others that may run into this in the future.

The first is a program called syskey, mentioned above.  It configures the Accounts Database to enable additional encryption to protect it.  Caution that once this is done it cannot be undone.  However, it seems the key can be stored so it doesn't have to be re-entered upon startup.  I would be careful not to lose it though!

run > syskey > update > password startup
 
You can choose the "store startup key locally" option and the computer starts up without me needing to type in the startup password.  The reference is http://forum.soft32.com/windows/Windows-XP-startup-password-ftopict347689.html.

The other reference seems to be what you hit, and that is either a virus or corruption that corrupts lsass.exe.  System Recovery should be used to resolve this situation.  The reference is http://forums.techguy.org/windows-xp/545957-computer-prompts-windows-xp-startup.html.

Hopefully, someone else will find this useful.  I had never heard of the XP syskey encryption option and hadn't seen this error.  Syskey is also available on Windows 7.

...RG
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Author Comment

by:bledington
ID: 38360007
Thank you RG!
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