Long-time subscriber Ed Pilarczyk wrote to ask about a problem he’s having with an XP password:
Terry, I have received your great newsletter for quite a while, now, and enjoy and learn from each one. On your recommendation, I purchased several Sunbelt products and they work great.
I work at a small not-for-profit organization, which assists people who have developmental disabilities. We recently had a change in personnel and found that the XP (I believe Professional) user password had been changed. After booting, and as windows loads, the “administrator” does not appear, only the user’s login icon appears.
To prevent the loss of programs and data, we would like to avoid re-installing windows. I had taken it to out local vo-tech’s computer instructors (who help us with our computer and network needs), and they report that there is no way to reset the XP pass words with out accessing “administrator.” Is there anything we can do short of re-installing windows?
Thanks for your consideration,
Depending on which password was changed, it’s possible that the fix could be pretty easy.
Normal user IDs show up on the main login screen for Windows XP. Some of those may be “administrator-type” users. I used that wording for a specific reason.
There’s another type of administrator user, who shows up at the login screen in Safe Mode. The “Administrator” user in Safe Mode has the administrator password that was set when the Windows copy was first run.
For most Windows XP installations, this Administrator password has never been set. So, if this didn’t get reset, you’re home free.
If it has been set, you could look into something like Bart’s PE (Google search for it), which will let you creatte a bootable XP disk which will then give you edit capabilities to the computer, while bypassing the computer’s password system.
I’m pretty sure you can reset the XP passwords from within Bart’s PE. There are also some Linux utilities that could help, but they won’t be nearly as user-friendly.
On the other hand, since Windows XP Pro will also let you set up an encryption of the entire drive, if that’s the situation and you don’t know the password, you would be totally out of luck .
I hope these ideas help.