Windows 7 can't login

I have been gave a PC laptop which has Windows 7 Professional as the operating system. My problem is I don't have the password to login.

I don't need anything of the files on the laptop, I just need to get it working. How do I do this?

Another problem is I don't have the original cd / dvd to reinstall the operating system. So my questions are...

Can I get passed the password login with out reinstalling the operating system?

If I need to re-install the operating system I assume I just need to buy cd / dvd to re-install from or can I just download the operating system and do it via a external hard drive, etc.
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This site allows you to download files needed to create a bootable floppy disk or CD-ROM which contains a program that can be used to reset passwords on a Windows NT-based OS (such as WinXP and Vista and Windows 7):
Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

It is a rather "geeky" tool; not a nice Windows graphical user interface.  You might want to check this page for a demonstration of its use, with screenshots provided in the article:
Reset lost Windows passwords with Offline Registry Editor

There is also a video about using this tool here:
Video: Reset Windows passwords with the Offline NT Password and Registry Editor

And if the above articles are not enough, you can see detailed screenshots and instructions from these two websites:

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Does the machine have a recovery partition?

If it does, there will be a key combination to restore it to factory defaults and it will then be reset to as if it were new out of the box.

Look up the machine model number with a search about how to access the recovery partition.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi Pete,
I second LeeTutor's suggestion of PogoStick. I used it recently to reset the admin password on a W7/64-bit system. Note these points from the Overview:

This is a utility to reset the password of any user that has a valid local account on your Windows system.
Supports all Windows from NT3.5 to Win7, also 64 bit and also the Server versions (like 2003 and 2008)
You do not need to know the old password to set a new one.
It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot off a CD or USB disk to do the password reset.
Will detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts!
There is also a registry editor and other registry utilities that works under linux/unix, and can be used for other things than password editing.

It worked perfectly for me. I burned a CD of it and keep it around in my bag of tricks.

Also, I was on a thread at EE a while ago where I recommended PogoStick, but two other experts had these suggestions:

I haven't tried either of these other two ideas, but am passing them along for your consideration. Regards, Joe
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
We tell people how to break into computers now?
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> We tell people how to break into computers now?

Only if it's legal and legitimate. For example, suppose you forgot your own password on a machine that you use sporadically...believe it or not, it happens. In my case, I purchased a W7 Pro laptop on eBay (with a COA sticker), which was sent to me with password-protected logins, but without the passwords! I wrote to the seller numerous times asking for the passwords, but he never replied. That was when I discovered PogoStick. Perfectly legitimate, don't you think? Regards, Joe
I still think it's better to restore a machine to factory defaults.   If you have been given a PC by someone else, you will not need any of the data that remains and you will have the opportunity to set the machine up as you see fit.   Instead of having to clean out all the junk you don't want.
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
"Only if it's legal and legitimate."
How does one know the poster's intent?
What make/model is this laptop? I'm also saying the Recovery partition is the most obvious way to do this as its a 'factory reset'

Dells you press F8 and 'Repair Computer' - in there is a Factory Restore option which will do the trick

Not familiar with HP's or other models but they'll usually be the same - just need the correct function key to get into recovery mode
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> How does one know the poster's intent?

I choose to believe that posters here are behaving in a legal, legitimate fashion, unless behavior to the contrary appears in their posts. My experience in three years here with the EE community has given me a great deal of respect for the capabilities and integrity of the members. Regards, Joe
petewinterAuthor Commented:
Thanks all for your help! However in the end I did not need to do any of the suggestions as believe it or not I guessed the password. It was "pa55word"! I wonder how many people in the world use this! ha ha

joewinograd - Thank you for also defending my reasons for this request. And yes my reasons are legal and legitimate. It's a shame that people like "paulmacd" immediately think the worst of people. The information that has been shared is openly available on the internet anyway! I have simply been passed on a company laptop from a colleague that has left the business and is no longer contactable. I'm sure that happens quite often!
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome. Glad you got it sorted without any effort. That's good guessing! :)   Regards, Joe
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Windows 7

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