Some questions for a Vista or is it windows 7 install that won't boot

I have a client that has a Dell desktop with a Vista COA on the box. It blue screens after a few seconds of "starting windows".  The error is 7B.

It boots and runs fine with Puppy Linux and we can browse the hard drive. WE have run various hardware tests and everything passes.  We have booted with boot log enabled, but we can't seem to find that file. It should be in windows folder? or the root? The file would be nbtboot.txt, correct?

Regardless, we got the files off the machine but the client wants the stored passwords. Normally we would use SIW for that. But that is when it is booted into that OS and the related registry.

We have tried repair installs. During that, it finds the OS but calls it windows 7. Repairs don't change the situation.

Would anyone know how to read the stored passwords from the registry on an install that you can't boot?  That is all we need at this point.

And would anyone know where to look in a non-bootable machine to see what OS is installed? Vista or 7? Home Or Pro? 32bit or 64 bit?

Thank you
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

x-menIT super heroCommented:
The /bootlog parameter records the names of drivers as they load during the boot process and saves the ordered list in the %SystemRoot%\ntbtlog.txt file.

connect the HDD to another machine and browse de disc. look for "Program Files (x86)", if is present, is a hint that its a 64bit installation.
look for \users\ (Windows 7) or \Documents and settings\ (windows XP)
Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
AS far as the passwords go

This utility resets the passwords to a blank which allows you to use that account to logon without any password. Works great use it a lot when people forget their admin password.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
@x-men, but that won't show anything about passwords.

I don't think there is a way to pull the encrypted passwords out of the registry.  If there was it wouldn't be a very secure system.

The passwords are gone.
Newly released Acronis True Image 2019

In announcing the release of the 15th Anniversary Edition of Acronis True Image 2019, the company revealed that its artificial intelligence-based anti-ransomware technology – stopped more than 200,000 ransomware attacks on 150,000 customers last year.

BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
the passwords we are looking for is website, etc. that are stored in the registry / popul;ate when you go to that site, etc.  not the windows password.

they all come up when you run siw
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Oh, they might be stored in the cookies files.  Have you tried those or are you sure they are stored in the registry?
Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
Check here

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms\Storage2.
x-menIT super heroCommented:
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
I have to look at that location but they are usually encrypted? that's part of the problem - I could likely read the registry, but the passwords for websites, outlook user passwords, etc are encrypted.  siw gets around that, but I think when it is running from that OS.  I guess I have to ask them.
Thomas GrassiSystems AdministratorCommented:
Yes that's it they are encrypted

They are not going to store passwords in a format that you will be able to read.

I use a program RoboForm and it keeps a database entry for ever web site visited and saves the userid and password url etc information.

There are others out there too.

But with out a add on program you will not be able to see the passwords.

If you have the userid to sign on the site with you can you forgot password and have a new one assigned.
installed version from :
If the file "Windows folder\System32\ntoskrnl.exe" exists, it is a NT
based OS, and not Win9x or WinME.

The to first entries in the version number for ntoskrnl.exe will tell
you what OS it is:

4.0: NT 4.0
5.0: Windows 2000
5.1: Windows XP
5.2: Windows 2003 Server or Windows XP 64-bit version
6.1 = windows7
6.2 = windows 8
Ok, you are looking for passwords from websites. Your browser stored those - but you did not mention what browser was used, please do so.
There are tools that can reveal passwords stored in browsers as long as we know the username and password of the user who had them stored. Example for Internet explorer: and one for firefox:
Again: you need to use advanced options to define the profile folder of that hard drive you mounted and supply a username and correct password.
Edit: in some cases when accessing a password protected web server, you are presented a dialoque like this
AuthenticationThese credentials are NOT stored inside the browser but in windows' credential manager and cannot be revealed using the utilities I linked. But before we open this second can of worms, let's see if you can name the browser and describe how those passwords were entered.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
thanks guys. The client is having me give up.  They haven't been using that machine for months now, so they are realizing they either reset passwords already or don't need them anyway. appreciate your help though!
Ok, next time please define your problem more closely in the first place, maybe you would have gotten better hints sooner.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 7

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.