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Startup Password / Issue

Posted on 2015-01-16
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Last Modified: 2015-01-26
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
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Question by:mvalencia2003
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6 Comments
 
LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40554469
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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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40554565
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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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mvalencia2003
ID: 40554572
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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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:KCTS
ID: 40554646
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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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:mvalencia2003
ID: 40554682
Is this something that can only be set by a user (physically) ? ..
Not by some kind of virus / attack

?
?
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LVL 24

Accepted Solution

by:
VB ITS earned 2000 total points
ID: 40554762
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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