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need to reset adminstrator password on Windows XP workstation

I am at one of our branch offices today and we have an old WIndows XP workstation that is believed to have some valuable data on it. The trouble is it has been removed from the network so long I cannot log it back in without a security violation. It probably has to be removed and rejoined to the domain. My bigger problem is the IT people that built this machine are nowhere to be found or do not remember the old password. I cannot get in as a local admin. I need a password reset application I can boot to, I not mind spending a few bucks if it will get me out of this, but not sure what to get and I do not want to buy something for nothing. My other concern is the hard drive is configured by McAfee safe boot encryption software and I am concerned the routine admin password hack will not work. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions
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Thor2923
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Thor2923
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1 Solution
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Unfortunately, if the drive is encrypted, then you should be out of luck (afterall, if you aren't then your encryption software absolutely stinks).

You'll have to remember the password to gain access because offline access required to reset the password won't be available.
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Thor2923Author Commented:
that is exactly the answer I expected and the answer I did not want to hear LOL. but you are probably right. I do not see how I could or should be able to reset the admin password in the state it is in now
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Sean JacksonCommented:
Yeah, you'll just have to start over when you upgrade this machine to Win7.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I would say how valuable is the data?  If it's worth thousands, than it may make sense to contact data recovery services.  There are techniques that can POSSIBLY be used to get that the data... if the system is XP and has been offline for a while, there may be "hackers" who could use an exploit to gain administrative access to it and run a tool like disk2vhd to create a copy of the drive, unencrypted, that would then allow you to access files.

I want to stress, the data recovery services would be expensive *IF THEY EXIST* (If the NSA can do it, you'd figure commercial entities can probably come close... if you can find the right commercial entity).
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McKnifeCommented:
How is the encryption configured? Preboot authentication? If so (which is advisable), then there's no way but to break that encryption by brute force. If the encryption is transparent (using a TPM without a PIN), then there are ways to get in. With McAfee, it is possible that a TPM is used, but transparent? You will have to boot it to know.
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Gabriel CliftonCommented:
Yes, Lee W is correct in that if the drive is encrypted you are out of luck. You would not even be able to add the drive as a slave in a different system and read the data. That is why you encrypt it, to prevent anyone else from accessing any data.
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Thor2923Author Commented:
I basically am supposed to pull an NK2 file off of it so a user can retrieve some old email addresses he had stored in his cache. No, it is not worth thousands or even hundreds. I think this machine is ready to be marked down and given away
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McKnifeCommented:
Please give feedback on my question, it might be the only way.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I'm guessing you cannot log in as the user either?  Can you log in as ANY user?
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McKnifeCommented:
Dear Thor2923,
please be aware that it is rather unpleasant for experts like me, who try to help, to be ignored until the question is closed.
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