Startup Password / Issue

I asked this a couple months ago, not sure if I got this one question answered :
What causes this error/issue?

This computer is configured to require a password in order to start up.  Please enter the Startup Password below.
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Got a 2nd laptop encounter this.
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Thanks
LVL 4
mvalencia2003Asked:
Who is Participating?
 
VB ITSConnect With a Mentor Specialist ConsultantCommented:
FYI this is not a security setting within the BIOS, it is in fact the SysKey feature built into Windows which has been around for some time. It's just that nobody bothers to use it. Have a look at this article if you want to see it in action: http://windowsitpro.com/systems-management/security-stepsuse-syskey-windows-7-encrypt-sam-stop-someone-resetting-local-admin

syskey.png
Is this something that can only be set by a user (physically) ? ..
Not by some kind of virus / attack??
There have been some cases where a scammer claiming to be from Microsoft has called up a user, gained remote access to the machine, then locked the user out of their machine using the SysKey feature. So to answer your question, no. This feature can be enabled by a malicious attack from a third-party.

If you know when this problem occurred, you can try and do a System Restore using Windows 7 Install media to the point in time before the SysKey password was implemented. If no System Restore points are available then your only other option is to rely on backups of the machine (if there are any) or manually restore the registry hives from the C:\Windows\system32\config\regback folder.

The regback folder is a place that Windows periodically copies your registry hives to. Follow the steps in this article to perform a manual recovery of the registry hives: http://www.nullskull.com/faq/49/recover-windows-registry-when-no-restore-point-or-backup.aspx

If both the System Restore and manual registry hive recovery methods fail, you will need to do a reinstall of Windows. You have no other options to get back into Windows I'm afraid.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If the password is a hard drive password, the only solution is to replace the hard drive.

If the password is a BIOS password, turn off, remove the battery for a couple of hours, replace and try again.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Just to help you remember, this the the solution to this problem that you accepted
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_28568180.html
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
I mean , would it be caused by a virus?
clicking a web site? -
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would other PCs in same LAN (network) be at risk?
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KCTSCommented:
It sounds like a BIOS password has been set. Refer to your motherboard/technical manual for details to how to reset it. Sometimes is can be set by opening the case and setting a jumper but the process varies according to the motherboard.
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mvalencia2003Author Commented:
Is this something that can only be set by a user (physically) ? ..
Not by some kind of virus / attack

?
?
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