"Forgot" brand new Windows 7 password

I booted a Win7 computer for the first time so that I could repartition the HD and install CentOS Linux.  That worked.  However, I tried to go back into Window and it says my user name or password is wrong.  (My user name is wrong?  I don't type that in...)

I very much doubt I forgot the password.  I used a trivial "default" password and also made the hint the password (I think).  (The concept is the actual user is supposed to change the password.)  I'm a fairly good typist and my right hand never left home.  My left hand moved to press the TAB key but it is very unlikely that I missed returning to home since I don't raise the heel of my hand to move my pinky over to press TAB.

What I think is wrong is the user name.  I used an apostrophe because that is part of the company name.  I have no clue about the name of the user.  I don't even know if there will be a user or if they will ever need to boot to Windows (instead of Linux).  (It's going to be a portable Linux based applications server for a small portable LAN.)  But sometimes that is necessary on notebook computers to debug a h/w issue.

Anyway, my guess is that a name like Foobar's is causing the problem.

I don't know what to do about it.  This is a pre-loaded computer, from Acer, and doesn't have a Windows CD.
LVL 13
Hugh McCurdyAsked:
Who is Participating?
Kevin HaysConnect With a Mentor IT AnalystCommented:
You can grab offline nt password reset cd/usb and reset it or just get the username.

Burn it to a cd and boot into it and follow the instructions, pretty straight forward.  You can also download ophcrack.  Keep in mind these are considered hacking tools, but if you need to reset a lost/forgotten password they do come in handy.
Here's a couple tools to recover your password.
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Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
I can try that but I suspect it will only work if the problem is that the password is wrong.  If Windows won't log in due to an invalid user name (which it accepted), I wonder if it will work.  But I can try it.
Kevin HaysIT AnalystCommented:
You burn it to a cd, then boot from the CD.  from there you select which account you want to reset, take the cd out and reboot and login to windows :)
If you boot into CentOS and then mount your windows partition, then look at the C:\Users folder, you should see the user accounts, and that is normally the user-name.

Apart from that there should be a recovery partition on that PC if you want to restore the system back to factory defaults. Check the manual for how that is used. Acer also has a utility included which is always the first thing you should use after having set it up the first time, and with that you can create recovery media (DVD's) which you can then use to restore it back to factory defaults should the HD break. So once you are back inside windows make sure that the first thing you do is create those DVD's and then store them in a place they are safe and don't get scratched.

If you still can't get into windows, boot the PC with the PartedMagic LiveCD, it includes an nt password changer in the extra's menu when it boots, or you can also boot the UBCD, it has a similar tool:

Nathan KaufmanCommented:
The comment before from kshays will work.  Here are some steps to use in order to remove the password. http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/

Password Reset Steps using pogostick password reset tool.

Boot: (hit enter)

Bunch of crap on screen

Please select partition by number or…. Bunch of crap

(Hit 1 then enter) [This is most likely your partition, if you have Windows 7 it would be disk 2]

What is the path of registry directory?

(Hit enter) [It should figure this out by default]

Select which part of registry to load….

(Hit 1 then enter)

What to do?

(Hit 1 then enter)

(Type in user you want to change password for, most likely it’s already on Administrator, if so then just hit enter, if it’s not on Administrator, type the correct user you want to change in, then hit enter)

User Edit Menu:

(Hit 1, then enter)

(Hit !, then enter) [Not a typo it’s !]

(Hit 1, then enter)

About to write file(s) back! Do it? (hit y, then enter)

You can try again if it somehow failed, or you selected wrong. New Run? (hit enter) [default is set to no]

CTRL-ALT-DEL then remove disk – password should now be blank and you can get into Windows.
Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  I've started by downloading the ophcrack live-cd.  If that doesn't work, I'll try something else.
Kevin HaysIT AnalystCommented:
Nice job Nate on giving the step by step instructions :)
That method has never failed me, although the ophcrack and a few others have in the past.

Good luck hmccurdy, let us know when you get it reset.
Pogostick's PNH has worked numerous times for me, and the method I've found that works best is to enable the Administrator account (option 4 at "What to do?" if I recall correctly), then blank its password (does no good to blank its password if it's not enabled, because unless it's enabled it won't appear at the logon screen).
Logon using the Administrator account, open User Accounts in control panel, and reset the user's password that was forgotten/fat-fingered.

Before logging out, disable the Administrator account again:
click the 'start' orb
type cmd in the search box
hold down Ctrl+Shift and hit Enter
(or right-click the result that appears at the top of the start menu, under Programs (1), and choose Run as administrator)
answer Yes to the UAC prompt
In the command window that opens, run the command
net user administrator /active:no

"The command completed successfully" should appear.

Close the Administrator window and reboot.
Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
Update on status.  Ophcrack didn't crack the password.  I still doubt the problem is the password since it's not that complicated.  

I will try ntpasswd from pogostick next.
Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
The solution that worked was   http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/

I split the points between the first person that answered because ntpasswd was on the list to try and the second person to reply because ntpasswd was specifically recommended.

I still believe the problem was the apostrophe in the user name.  (If so, Microsoft should have rejected it when I tried to added a user name with an apostrophe.  I'm guessing apostrophe is used as a delimiter in the login context.)

ntpasswd allowed me to clear the password.  Then when I booted, Windows automatically logged in without asking me for user name or password which skipped the authentication test (which I also believe to be broken by design).

Once logged in, I was able to change the user name.

Thanks to everyone who participated.
Kevin HaysIT AnalystCommented:
Glad you got it fixed.  Like I said, NTPassword has never failed me, not to say it won't sometime though.  I always have a copy of NTPassword on a CD or something when I go work on a workstation for someone just in case I need to get in.

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