Startup Password

Hello,
How can I fix this error : This computer is configured to require a password in order to start up.  Please enter the Startup Password below.

Password:  ______________

OK , or Restart buttons
,,

How can I fix , short of re-image / wipe drive ,, re install Windows
,,
?
?

Thanks-
LVL 4
mvalencia2003Asked:
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andreasSystem AdminCommented:
After you tried the above solution you should backup your important files and do a reinstall if possible to be sure you have a clean system. Windows XP isnt maintained by Microsoft anymore and so it does not get important security updates which makes it more easy for viruses to enter your system.

If above solution isnt working as the regback files are not good anymore, you can try to restore them from a RECENT backup of your system if you have one. Restoring from an old backup might not help much as the system has changed to much since and registry might not reflect the current configuration anymore.

To reinstall windows, just boot up from your XP-CD, choose the reinstall option. Once it askes for the partitions to install in choose the one that was your previous C drive. and Mark that partition for formating (quick, NTFS) to wipe out all files on that drive prior to reinstall.

If reinstalling is not an option for you you should at least do a malware scan from an anti virus boot CD not from the affected windows itself.
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McKnifeCommented:
What you see is a startup password that has been configured in the bios of your machine. Depending upon what technology is used, it may be unbreakable.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
This is NOT a BIOS password, this is SysKey - a Windows component.

Not that it's any easier to fix though - there are a few exceptional ways to repair this but generally it's too late to undo the damage done.

See http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_28526013.html
For similar cases
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McKnifeCommented:
Correct, syskey. I haven't seen that text for ages...sorry.
Syskey can be reset using the famous boot disk http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ - at least it worked when I last did it. This is also linked in a link of MASQ's link.
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
What was deleted ,
?
???
?????
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
Can syskey password be removed with UBCD
?

,
What are steps ,,???
Thanks
- -
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McKnifeCommented:
http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/walkthrough.html are the instructions for the disk I mentioned and syskey is mentioned inside, too.
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
selected : 1 - Password reset [sam system security]
,
then tried : 1 - Edit user data and passwords ,, got error = SAM registry file is not loaded , !
-


only one available is : 9 - Registry editor, now with full write support!
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McKnifeCommented:
Did you select the correct partition? Before you get to the "reset password things", you need to load the registry just as the walkthrough shows.
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
I did now ,, but now I do not see option for :
2 - Syskey status & change

?
?
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
when I first select Windows partition , next step I see :
-rwxrwxrwx  1  0        0        262144   Nov 17  21:55      SAM


,
?
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
Step 3 : Password or registry edit ,,

<\SystemRoot\System32\Config\SAM>
,
ROOT KEY at offset : 0x001020 * Subkey indexing type is : 666c <lf>
,,, ,,, ,,, ... ... ...
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McKnifeCommented:
"when I first select Windows partition , next step I see :  -rwxrwxrwx  1  0        0        262144   Nov 17  21:55      SAM" - do you only see that one line? In the walkthough (also in my experience), you see much more lines. Anyway, at that point you would select "1" for password reset and in the next step "2" for changing the syskey status.

Is that possible?
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
2 - Syskey status & change , , is NOT available

,
?
?
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McKnifeCommented:
Maybe you could do a couple of screenshots to illustrate what is going on instead?
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
mvalencia2003, have you checked for restore points first?

Although ntpasswd will disable SysKey (it doesn't recover it) by disabling you will significantly damage the Windows install.  Don't forget the function of SysKey is to maintain system security, even though the SysKey password has been maliciously changed the function it is still doing that job.  With SysKey disabled you will damage the Security Hive and lose:

   - All locally stored encryption keys
   - Access to Terminal Services
   - Any system services (will not start as no longer authenticate)
   - Any service running not as LocalSystem will not start.
     (You’ll need to reset the credentials cache for each)
   - Scheduled tasks
   - All EFS-encrypted data (permanently lost)

This is a recovery method of last resort, it will allow you back into a crippled system that ultimately you will need to reinstall.

If you have no backups/restore points you will not be able to bring this system back to normal function.
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McKnifeCommented:
Masq is right, after resetting syskey, we might have unwanted side effects (and I have seen those myself years ago). If those render the machine unusable beyond repair would have to be evaluated on a test system.
But right, I should definitely have mentioned it.

mvalencia2003, what is the purpose? Would you simply like to get the data off that drive and reinstall anyway or would you like to continue using that OS "at any cost"?
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
get the data out
,,
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
If you just need the data off loaded can you see it when booting from another system connected to the drive?
If you have encryption it's lost anyway but if you can read the files you should be able to copy them to a safe location even though you may have to change the file permissions/ownership at some point.
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
can I get data by booting from Knoppix ,
?
?
- - -
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
If unencrypted, yes. Knoppix can read NTFS.
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
Thanks,,
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Windows XP

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