General discussion

Can't log in as administrator -can only access guest account

windows xp home edition service pack2.

Here is my problem....

i am now logged in as guest only and it logs in automatically with no welcome screen and i cant get out of it into admin mode HELP!

a couple of changes occurred on my computer ie sql debugger and appeared as users on my computer which was causing the welcome screen to appear every time i logged in to windows where i just wanted my administrator account to log straight in.

to avoid displaying the welcome screen i went to run and typed CONTROL USERPASSWORDS2 and a menu appeared with a list of users (i'm saying this from my memory because i no longer have the priveliges to check exactly what i did)

the users list being something like....

administrator - admin
guest - disabled

so i highlighted dennis (which has always been the name i have logged in using from the welcome screen to log in as administrator, i have never set a password because we all just use one account to avoid any problems like this, we never needed a password)

i highlighted dennis and unchecked the relevant box to do with displaying the welcome screen and applied the settings to log straight into dennis without displaying the welcome screen.

it worked fine. but i started to discover problems wen i tried to run anti spyware and when i tried to check the time and date, it said i needed to log in as administrator, i tried to go onto user accounts etc but as a guest im limited to what i can do how can i get the pc to boot straight into admin mode - i cant use system restore or anything. when i go to run and type
CONTROL USERPASSWORDS2 again it says to use the feature i need to be admin and asks for admin details to be entered, i have tried USERNAME administrator with no password, with admin etc as password and tried dennis as user name but it wont let me in.....

can anyone help

i tried system restore, it wont let e because of limited rights, i cannot get it to display the welcome screen when i boot up because it is set to auto log in to dennis and from in dennis it wont let me alter the settings.
i booted into safe mode and tried to access the user accounts but still have the same limitations and i cannot reg edit or anything...

am i locked out for good??

i have also clicked log off and gone back to a screen where it asks for username and password but it will only accept dennis and logs me back in as a guest. also i have booted into safe mode which also logs straight into the same guest account and i cannot get out of it..

by default i think my admin account is called 'administrator' with no password and i have tried several variations but i still cannot get on.

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And Have You Tried??

...restarting in Safe Mode, then selecting the "administrator" log in? Try using the Welcome Screen for the "administrator" login in safe mode and if there is no password, then simply click on the administrator icon, leave the password space blank (it shouldn't appear but if it does, leave it blank), then press the Enter key..

You should then be able to boot to the administrator login and make any changes necessary.. You might need to change the "Dennis" account back to one with admin rights, etc.

On the other hand, if all of the profiles are damaged and you can't access an administrative account, you may need to reformat and reinstall Windows.

Hope this helps.


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im not sure i get you....

i have logged in in safe mode but that takes me straight into the dennis guest account, the traditional windows xp welcome screen does not appear. if i log out of the accout i do not get the xp welcome screen with a list of users and which one i would like to log in as, i instead get a dialog box in the centre of the screen which asks for username and password.
if i type administrator and leave password blank it does not log me in.

any more suggestions, thanks for trying to help.

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In Safe Mode...If There Is A Login Window...

...type in "administrator" as the user name, leave the password box empty and press the "Enter" key.. Does that work?

Hope this helps.


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log in screen only accepts dennis...

no i am sorry this does not work. i have already tried it unsuccessfully.thanks though.

could a computer wizz have a piece of software, like a boot disc that would log into dos on startup and detect the partition and allow you to reset the admin rights or passwords? (effectively hackinig it?)

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Nope..NO DOS In XP

I've never seen a login screen that wouldn't take any username you typed in AS LONG AS you had the correct password for that particular username.. It is possible the "administrator" login in fact, has a password.. If that's the case, then that would explain why it's not working.

All avenues require you to be able to log in to the computer with admin rights. If you can't do that, then your best bet at this time is to reformat and reinstall using your original Windows CD or a recovery CD. It appears like all your profiles have become corrupted..

Hope this helps.


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ok then

thanks for the help, ill see if there is anything else i can do before i format and reinstall. on the subject of farmatting, can i back up all of my programs and photographs and music and video etc etc into a file which the computer will save when i reformat or will it erase everything? and if it is going to completely erase everything how do i save all my programs etc?

also im not sure i can find the xp disc, i think it may have accidently been packed with my brothers pc when he moved to canada a month ago. i may never see it again. what is the best way to get another xp disc? i doubt very much that i would still have the reciept.

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after booting up and auto logging into dennis, if i then log out and get the dialog box -
if i type administrator and leave password field blank i get this message -

"unable to log you on because of an account restriction"

if i type dennis and make a password up or administrator and make a password up i get this message -

"the system could not log you on. please make sure your username and domain are correct, then type your password again"

if i type dennis and leave the password field blank it logs me back in a dennis as the restricted user.

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One More option for you

There is a form of Linux operating system that's called Knoppix. ( It's what they call a "Live CD operating system, whereas you download the program, burn it to cd, then use that cd to boot your computer. It's a completely different OS, but it will not affect anything that is on your hard drive because it loads only into memory (Creates a RAM drive). If you have the patience to look through the forums there, there are many dicussions on how to use Knoppix to navigate through you system to get to the ".SAM" files, which containt he user account information. You won't be able to see what the current password is but you can erase it from there. In effect, you will be looking at a dos type window, and use open source to browse through your system.
A little tricky and time consuming, but well worth it if you're worried about loosing photos, or other files on your hard drive.

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Do you have

The XP/OS CD and know about the recovery console?

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i do but i cant find it - im looking.

i do have the disc somewhere but im unable to find it, if i cant find it what are my options then? i will look for it again today, but no, i dont know about the recovery things on it.

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I believe you have a corrupt SAM file,

That is the file that holds all the user data and it is encrypted so no changes can be made to it. however there is one way to delete the bad SAM and replace it with a copy from the repair folder by using the recovery Console. You do not need the XP/OS CD as you can use the 6 floppy boot disks to do the job. It is somewhat technical but I will give you the instructions if you care to try.

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thanks that would be much appreciated

however i do not have any floppy boot discs and i still cannot find my xp disc (it may have inadvertantly been sent to canada).

so what do i do and what is a SAM file?

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after booting up and auto logging into dennis, if i then log out to get the dialog box -
if i type administrator and leave password field blank i get this message -

"unable to log you on because of an account restriction"

if i type dennis and make a password up or administrator and make a password up i get this message -

"the system could not log you on. please make sure your username and domain are correct, then type your password again"

if i type dennis and leave the password field blank it logs me back in a dennis as the restricted user.

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Sam File

is the file within windows that stores all the user information and it is not accessible for repair to anyone while windows is running so trying to repair it from windows cannot be done. here are the instructions for doing that using the Recovery Console. By doing this your XP install will revert back to the original desktop with administrator in place of Dennis so you will have to make another Dennis and transfer all the info from administrator to Dennis and re-setup your desktop.You can also use another XP/OS CD (Borrow one)
to run R.C NOTE, please read the entire text.

Recovery Console

A=Using Floppy's

1 Download the 6 disk floppy set from or

2 Set BIOS to boot from floppy first

3 Place first disk in drive and Re-Boot

4 You will see ''Setup is inspecting your computer hardware

5 Follow directions for changing disks and loading files

6 You will see welcome to setup. press ''R''

7 Enter digit corresponding to drive the OS is on

8 Type Admin Password (just press Enter if none has been assigned)

9 You will see ''C:\windows, at this prompt enter the command you want to have done.

10 Type ''EXIT'' to leave Recovery console

B=Using XP/OS CD

1 Set BIOS to boot from CD/ROM as first boot device

2 Place CD in the drive and Re-Boot
3 Watch for the prompt to ''Press any key to boot from CD/ROM'' (Do so now as you have only seconds)

4 You will see ''Setup is inspecting your computer'' and the files will load

5 You will see ''Welcome to setup. Press ''R''

6 Enter digit corresponding to the drive the OS is on.(Type Admin Password, Just press Enter if there is none.

7 You will see ''C:\windows, at this point enter the command you wish to have done.

8 Type ''EXIT'' to leave recovery console.

At the command promt type the following commands. Press ENTER after each command

delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
Type EXIT at the command prompt. and re-boot, remove floppies or Cd's.

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thanks for the help but a couple of questions

is there any potential harm that doing this could cause. ie will i lose any data/ files et etc??

also, this might sound obvious but im no expert so what do u mean about setting the bios, i could tamper with it and find out but i would rather know exactly what to do.

i hope this 6 disk technique will work, thanks for your patience.

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There is always a potential

for something to go wrong but i have not had any problems with it. The ideal thing to do is back up your data to CD/DVD in case it goes wrong.

As for the Bios or setup you can watch the screen while booting to get the key combination to enter setup usually it's the Delete key. You will have to navigate around and find the boot sequence and using the up/down arrows and +/- keys to set the floppy as first boot, save the changes and reboot.

Other than that there's not much more I can tell you Except i hope you can get it figured out and working properly again.

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thanks, not done it yet but will do soon

i am waiting to borrow a disc before i try this method but thanks. ill post how i go on.

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