09-16-2011 6:01 AM
I have a five plus year old HP desktop PC with XP Media Center Edition (SP2). Yesterday, the wifey noticed that no web pages were loading. Once in a great while, I have had to restart the PC to remedy this issue.
I had an errand to run, so I told her to restart the PC. I got a cell phone call from her and she stated that some screen came up, wanting a password.
I came home and it was a Windows login screen. There was a user account (one I must have created) and Administrator. I have never had to log into windows like this before (maybe since I bought it). I tried the user one (we'll call it "dhpc") but the icons, background and such were not what I had been using.
So, I must have always ran the PC in administrator mode. I do not ever recall having an admin password but I sure can't get into the admin user.
So, how is the best way of cracking, resetting or deleting this admin password? One free tool from MS requires SP3 which I don't have.
Many of the free tools that I have seen here, require a boot CD being made. Is there any other free way of cracking, resetting or deleting the admin password?
09-20-2011 7:11 AM - edited 09-20-2011 7:15 AM
Assuming you already guessed and it didn't work (pw could be your name, the spacebar and enter, or admin)
Is your user account an administrator account? If you just need to recover shortcuts, you can find them in C:/Documents and Settings.For reach user, there should be a favorites folder (you can open it to check what the favorites are) and copy that to whatever user account you are using. (that is for the internet favorites). There is a desktop folder where you can copy the desktop shortcut icons.
If you don't see these folders, you might need to enable vewing hidden files. (Control Panel, folder options, View, Show hidden files & folders.
I tried a real generic "abcd" type of pw and it worked. I do not ever recall setting it but I tried that and within minutes I was back to my old desktop, faves and such. Apparently my main account used is the admin. Thanks for all of the great suggestions.
I honestly believe that my wife must have invoked a setting by cleaning the keyboard that reared its ugly head on restart.
09-21-2011 10:19 AM
Thanks. Still has issues on restart.
It gives an error on start up about not being able to log in and then I am greeted with the screen to select users. Not bad since I know what the password is but I want it to auto log in.
I will copy that error down or snap a photo.
09-21-2011 2:53 PM
It may have been the House manager when she was cleaning the kepboard or the computer just changed a 0 to a 1 in the Password Admin field on a startup. Glad you kind of got it fixed.
09-21-2011 5:37 PM
The only way I have been able to get a computer to auto login is to only have one user.
I thought it was a single user PLUS the administrator. Again, I am probably wrong as accounts on Windows PC's are a foreign topic to me.
09-21-2011 5:39 PM
No. I made the single user an administrator. My desktop pc auto logins because there is only one user for it.
09-22-2011 12:53 PM - edited 09-22-2011 1:12 PM
You can make a PC with more than one account auto-login, but it requires a registry edit.
I will check that out, SJ. Thanks.
But, riddle me this. Can XP shut down without logging a user off? i.e. What is the normal shut down (or restart) sequence for XP? I did a restart after all of this happened and I paid more attention to the screens. I noticed that it said something like "logging off" or "logging off user" and then "windows is shutting down." I'm not sure if I ever saw a that "logging off" screen before. If so, that may be part of the issue.
09-22-2011 9:47 PM
The "Logging off" prompt has always popped up on my computers whether I had a single user or multiple users.
09-23-2011 11:48 AM
09-23-2011 12:49 PM - edited 09-23-2011 12:57 PM
No, XP (and all NT-based OS's, including Vista and 7) all must log off the current user (or users) to shut down. All of these OS's actually boot up with no one logged in, then they log a user in. To shutdown, the user is logged out, and then the OS shuts down.
When a user is set to auto-login (either because that's the only user set up on the machine, or the registry change above has been used), then the boot-up and login process run together and you won't notice that they're actually separate functions. Same with logout and shutdown processes.
I will try to snap a picture of the error box that pops up and hopefully someone can guide me from there. Again, I know how to log in (now that I know the pw for the main admin account), but I don't want to have to worry the wife with logging in.
OR maybe I could remove that "dhpc" user account. How do I do that? See below!
EDIT: OMG, I think I know what happened! I tried to install VPN software. It required a login to the admin account and since I didn't know that pw at the time, I created the "dhpc" user to try it from there and now the autolog-in won't work as there are two accounts. Bada-bing!
So I can
1. Delete the "dhpc" user (not sure how)
2. Follow SJ's link to fix the registry.
Which one is easier?
Thanks again, Nan007, RC, SJ and everyone else!
09-23-2011 1:09 PM
Now just don't do that again! j/k
What I found in my old Windows book was to delete the password file and do a regedit hack, but keys are probably different in XP.
Glad you found the source and got it fixed.
09-23-2011 2:01 PM