Windows Legacy OS forum


how to unlock a XP PC which starts up in Internet Explorer

by swanlake0492 / April 8, 2013 10:00 PM PDT

The windows XP PC starts up in Internet Explorer and is locked after that. Now other actions are possible. How to avoid this locking opeartion=

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All Answers

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Re: starts in Internet Explorer
by Kees_B Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 10:09 PM PDT

- Not even ctrl-alt-del to end Internet Explorer and go back to the desktop? If that works, you can try to find out what's causing this and correct it.
- Does it happen also if you boot into Safe Mode?
- What changed since it last worked OK?


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locked PC
by swanlake0492 / April 9, 2013 6:00 AM PDT

May be some extra info is necessary:

-cntrl-alt-del is locked also
-booting in safe mode has the same problem.
- this PC is used for several years in a museum and used for some Internet Explorer links only to be used by the museum visitors. The rest is not accessable by the user. This PC is configured by a person who is not working for us anymore and there is no documentation (what's new?). So the PC starts up (O.S. is XP) and just one appication starts up (I.E.). In I.E. some links are defined and that's all. Now I need to change and add some links but I do not know how to do that since I can't startup in the nomal windows mode or even in DOS mode.

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So then
by Jimmy Greystone / April 9, 2013 6:02 AM PDT
In reply to: locked PC

So then take it back to the museum, have them restore it to factory condition for you and take it home. They should have done that before letting you take off with it in the first place in case there's any software on there licensed to the museum, or even just issues like you describe.

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this is not the way I will do this
by swanlake0492 / April 9, 2013 6:13 PM PDT
In reply to: So then

Hi Jimmy,

I promised the museum to help them so I will do my best to solve this. There are no IT people in the museum.

Regards , Jan

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Then see if it will boot from a Linux cd.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / April 9, 2013 6:18 PM PDT

If so, you can change whatever you need to change, assuming those linksyou need to change are in some html-page in the hard disk, and the html-pages you need to add links to are also.


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If it's locked down by some company or IT?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2013 10:53 PM PDT

Then my answer changes but if it's stock the old control+alt+delete then the Task Manager and new task button works for me.

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Sounds like it is set to run ...

and boot into kiosk mode.

1. Press Alt+F4 to close Internet Explorer.
2. Press the Windows key () to see the Start menu and taskbar, where you can launch other programs.
3. Hold down the Windows key and press Tab to see all your open windows, as well as your desktop, displayed as thumbnails. Keep pressing tab until you've highlighted the window you want, then let go of the Windows key.
4. Press Alt+Space to bring up a menu letting you minimize or close the window.
5. Hold down the Windows key and press D to minimize all your windows, letting the desktop come into view.

Other useful shortcuts can be found here -

it is likely started from a shortcut in your startup folder for Internet Explorer and will have the following command -
"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe -k"

It is also possible that it was configured to boot to a specific account and with Kiosk Mode as the default desktop which requires you to do a little editing of the registry keys involved. This link should offer enough detail to help you there.-

And if it isn't configured to auto logon to a specific account this shorter version should take care of the shell change -

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tried several possible sollutions without success
by swanlake0492 / April 10, 2013 8:13 AM PDT

1 ALT+F4 is not working. probably disabled.
2. the only thing under the SART button are
- logoff user
- startup I.E.. It starts the following file: C:/site/index.html
3. I suppose this should be the ALT + TAB keys? This shows just I.E. thumbnails
4. After using ALT + SPACE, minimizing ang maximizing is possible but closing the window is prohibited.
5. The desktop is empty.

I agree that it is some kind of kiosk mode.

I can't startup the regeditor. There are a lot of good hints in the links provided but not getting at the DOS prompt or in the regeditor makes all hints useless. Sorry.


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Time to wipe and install the OS of your choice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 10, 2013 8:16 AM PDT

The entire idea of locking down Windows is to thwart any way to let the user do anything but what you allow.

I think the person who did this, did a very good job,.

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One last gasp before ...
by Edward ODaniel / April 10, 2013 2:04 PM PDT

giving up and wiping the drive.

Try to boot into Safe Mode by pressing the F8 key repeatedly while the system begins booting. Once at the Safe Mode logon screen log into the default ADMINISTRATOR account which hopefully was never assigned a password ( if it was follow this link and read about then download and use the offline NT Password editor to REMOVE the password for the ADMINISTRATOR account - )

From there you should be able to make necessary changes per the previous links. I would also suggest creating a new Admin account.

You might also have some luck opening Windows Explorer through Internet Explorer. If the following keyboard KIOSK key combinations work give it a try:
CTRL+L Open Location dialog box
CTRL+N New window (opens in non-Kiosk mode)
CTRL+O Open Location dialog box (same as CTRL+L)

Try any or all of those key combinations to see if the dialog box opens or the new window opens. If it does type C:\ into the dialog box or the address bar of the new window. Press the enter key and Windows Explorer should open allowing you to browse to regedit.exe ( C:\windows\regedit.exe ) or to regedit32.exe ( c:\windows\system32\regedt32.exe ) - you could just as easily type the full address to the registry editor but when you specify a file Internet Explorer starts asking you about downloads which might be confusing.

If none of that works re-install Windows 'cause this horse gonna stay dead.

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last try
by swanlake0492 / April 10, 2013 4:39 PM PDT

Thanks Edward for your help. I will do a last try with this. Later more.

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Re: last try
by Kees_B Forum moderator / April 10, 2013 5:42 PM PDT
In reply to: last try

Did you notice my Linux suggestion above?That's an alternative way to try.

And then, of course, you can take out the hard disk, connect it to another PC as an external disk (via an adapter or in an enclosure), change all you want and put it back. Just to be safe: make a clone or a disk image first!


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