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Windows 2k Lost Passwords
donv Aug-03-02 04:44 PM
We have a small network at work, 2no. win2k pro machines, 3no.win98. My partner's machine, one of the win2k's has seemingly lost his admin level user's password (following a power cut), he cannot remember his "Administrator" password.

I can log on to his pc as a plain "user" but obviously without admin privelidges. I can obviously log on to my pc as Administrator.

Windows Knowledge Base says "tough you'll need to reinstall windows!" or words to that effect, but I'm sure I've read somewhere that all the passwords can be found in the registry, if you know where to look - but I don't. I can understand that Microsoft don't want to make hacking in to a system as another user too easy, but cannot believe that a reinstall is the only way out of this.

As an alternative, can I use any admin tools from my pc remotely?

Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.


1. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
DJ Net2Infinity Aug-03-02 06:08 PM
In response to message 0
Of course Microsuck wont tell you, I do know how to get back into it , but I will not post the solution without Larrys permission because of the nature of the information.

2. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
donv Aug-04-02 12:27 PM
In response to message 1
Hi Brian, thanks for your post - at least there's hope! If Larry thinks this is too sensitive to "broadcast" might it be o.k. in an email, I wonder? .

Spose I could always give up and install Linux instead Did try a year or so back, at home, Redhat v5.2 I think, but setting up the hardware was like pulling teeth and I gave up in the end and used Windows again. Is it any more friendly now, it felt like going back to dos, but without knowing any of the commands or syntax.

Looking forward to your/Larry's response.


3. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
DJ Net2Infinity Aug-04-02 12:50 PM
In response to message 2
Red Hat is at version 7.3 now and it runs great its hard for the normal user though.... we will wait and see Larrys response.

5. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
lbyard Aug-05-02 04:31 AM
In response to message 3
Post it. If it does not violate the copyright laws. If Microsoft doesn't like it, tough! Larry

6. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
DJ Net2Infinity Aug-05-02 10:34 PM
In response to message 5
Aight, I was more worried about security .. but if anyone lets a stranger mess with their pc I guess that is a larger issue. I hope you are using NTFS, its much easier believe it or not to recover a password. I have a simple program that you use as a bootdisk (it runs Linux) that allows you to go in and edit the SAM file which contains users and passwords. Message me your email address and I will send you the image. If you have FAT32 you can use a boot floppy and delete the SAM file which is located at >:winnt\system32\config\SAM. It allows you admin rights to that box but also deletes all your other profiles which contain your users, so its a last resort kinda thing. Another way is, that if you have another computer that has the same users, you could copy the SAM file and rewrite the other.

The disk is the best way to go, it edits the SAM file and a slight tweak to the registry ... it only touches the admin password. If you need more assistance just post here.

7. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
lbyard Aug-06-02 08:54 AM
In response to message 6
I thought about the security thing also. Then I thought, if you can do it anyone who is determined can do it. Larry

8. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
donv Aug-06-02 07:41 PM
In response to message 6
Hi again - thanks for the advice. We are still using Fat32 file structure, as files are shared with the Win98 pcs - next upgrade step. I guess this rules out the magic Linux disk. I'm going to try copying the SAM file from my office machine to a dos boot disk and then copying that to the other pc.

I can understand your reluctance to release this information, it sounds very easy, but I guess someone would have to have the time and access to do this and a strong motive. Not exactly something to do instead of solitaire!

I'll post with the outcome. Thanks again.


9. RE: Windows 2k Lost Passwords
donv Aug-09-02 05:27 PM
In response to message 8
I don't mind admitting that it's with some trepidation that I use dos, on a windows machine, to do anything! Particularly at work.

....but I copied the SAM file on "my" pc to a floppy, and booted the other pc from a boot disk, deleted the original SAM file from the other machine, and copied mine from the floppy, to replace it.

Rebooted, seemed to take longer than usual - pulse rate increasing - then logged in as administrator, using my password and "bingo" I'm in!!

Reset passwords, had them tatooed onto the inside of another's eyelids, to make sure they're not forgotten again, problem solved.

Major improvement over the prospect of a full re-install - especially as we're already on service pack 2 - 3now arrived 70 MB download, that's some patch!!.

Thanks Brian and Larry too, keep up the good work.

Until next time;

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