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Cannot get past windows logon screen booting windows 2000

by rxplsb3 / August 2, 2004 5:09 PM PDT

I was helping a friend set up a wireless network so that he could access the internet from another room. It is a homemade computer sporting Windows 2000 Professional, P4 1.6GHz and 512MB RAM. Only around 2GB of the hard drive have been used so far.

In trying to get the wirless network card recognized, I went thru a wizard that required a reboot at the end. Upon reboot, I was got a screen called "Log on to Windows". "Administrator" is filled in on the "User Name" line and the "Password" line is blank. Prior to using the wizard, no password was required when booting up Windows. I have no idea what the password could be and no matter what I try, I cannot get past this screen and log into Windows. I have tried hitting "enter" without entering a password, I have tried putting a new name in the "user name" field and hitting enter. I have tried booting in safe mode and tried the above to no avail. I attempted "last good configuration" with no luck. Nothing I seem to do will let me get past this screen and therefore, the computer is currently useless. I do not have a Windows 2000 OS disc.

Can anyone help me get past this problem? I feel real bad as this is not my computer and have managed to make it unusable to anyone!

Larry

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''I do not have a Windows 2000 OS disc.''
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 2, 2004 10:53 PM PDT

I can't help you since the last time I fixed this was to boot the 2000 CD and use the REPAIR option. After that I had to reinstall the video driver and maybe another driver then run Windows Update. But it's all better now.

I've had to do this more than a dozen times over the past year, so the 2000 CD is a critical part of the solution.

You won't run an OS very long if you don't have the CD.

Bob

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Re: ''I do not have a Windows 2000 OS disc.''
by rxplsb3 / August 3, 2004 12:43 AM PDT

Thanks for your input, Bob. The guy who put this computer together is in Yosemite and I think my best bet is to wait till he gets back and see if he knows the password or if he can provide the OS that he installed on the machine.

I came across the following while searching the forums and wondered if you thought this could help (as a last resort):


"I will mention a boot CD that can be made that has "chntpw : reset passwords on a Windows box (including Administrator)" from http://www.knoppix-std.org/tools.html but must tell you I mention it with a full disclaimer that I can't tell you if it works and offer no support for it or recovery from any damage it may do."

You had posted this in response to another question. I downloaded it last night and burned it to CD but have not tried it. What are your thoughts here?

Thanks,

Larry

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I'm a bad person today.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2004 3:02 AM PDT

Sorry, I read it a certain way and thought you need to repair the OS.

NOT SO!!!

You just don't have the administrator password and don't know the user's name to login.

Sorry about that. Let's see what can be done.
----------------------------------------------

I would boot up that CD and look over the hard disk to find the USERNAME of that AUTOLOGIN account.

It's likely to be the NAME OF THE DIRECTORY in...

C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAMEHERE

Then you can try booting into 2000, use the USERNAME from that investigation and a blank password. Maybe?

-> ABOUT chntpw. "I again tell you I mention it with a full disclaimer that I can't tell you if it works and offer no support for it or recovery from any damage it may do."

It's a tool of last resort. It may or may not work.

For business, I use http://www.lostpassword.com

Bob

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Re: I'm a bad person today.
by rxplsb3 / August 3, 2004 3:47 AM PDT

Maybe a silly question but just to be sure.......

"I would boot up that CD"

Do you mean the CD I created when I downloaded the Knoppix-std? I have not put that disc in the offending computer's CDROM drive yet and don't know what to expect. I was hesitant to do so since the "chntpw" is a last ditch effort but maybe you are saying that I can boot into Windows (or at least have access to the hard drive) from this disk without necessarily using "chntpw"?

Thanks again,

Larry

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Look, but don't touch.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2004 4:45 AM PDT

What we need to sniff out is the USERNAME to put in the login box. Any KNOPPIX should be find for this. Just don't write or alter the content of the hard disk.

Bob

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Re: Look, but don't touch.
by rxplsb3 / August 3, 2004 4:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Look, but don't touch.

I'll give it a try when I get home from work. I'll post the results.

Thanks your all your input!

Larry

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Re: Look, but don't touch.
by rxplsb3 / August 3, 2004 5:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Look, but don't touch.

I was able to boot to that CD which presumably started a Linux session. I couldn't make heads or tails of it all. What I think I wanted to do was access my C drive and look for the password file. The user name is already filled in at the logon prompt for Windows and it reads Administrator. I need the password associated with that user name. Assuming I could figure out how to view my C drive within the Linux environment and then locate the password file, wouldn't the actual password be encrypted? I was reading some KNOPPIX user forums about this and there was mention of copying the SAM data from the offending computer to a portable USB drive and then loading that info on a different computer and then using a brute force program to decrypt the password. Is this what I'd need to do?

I know KNOPPIX is not your program but I have been unsuccessful in finding any tutorial or help file on how to enter commands (and what command to enter). It reminds me alot of the command prompt within Windows (which I am not very good at!). Can you provide any insight as to what I should be doing once the OS boots up?

Also, in regards to chnptw, if I wind up having to use this, how do I make it work from the CD? What command would I enter and where? I fully understand the potential risks involved and that you and CNET would not be responsible for any damage that may occur.

Thanks again for your time and insight,

Larry

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Try the other KNOPPIX
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2004 8:57 PM PDT

The other KNOPPIX from http://www.knoppix.net doesn't act like that. I can boot it and have a windows-like exploration of the hard disk.

ALL WE NEED IS the username, which is the name of the directory I noted. KNOPPIX would be nice to have onhand to do this with ease. But you have "KNOPPIX STD" which is another version with all sorts of power tools that is for people to learn about.

Read http://tips.oncomputers.info/archives2004/0401/2004-Jan-11.htm

Bob

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Re: Try the other KNOPPIX
by rxplsb3 / August 4, 2004 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Try the other KNOPPIX

Thanks, will give it a try and let you know how it goes.

Larry

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Re: Try the other KNOPPIX
by rxplsb3 / August 4, 2004 7:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Try the other KNOPPIX

I got the other KNOPPIX this morning and was able to boot from it and explore the hard drive. As I mentioned earlier, the PC has an 80GB HD that is mostly free space (only a few GB in use) so there wasn't alot to look at. In the directory you suggested (C:\documents and settings\usernamehere) I found 3 folders that might seem to be user name folders. One was called All Users, another was called Default User, and the other had the name of my friend (Kevin McKean). None of the folders was called Administrator. I poked around the contents of each folder and did not see anything that seemed useful. I then went on to look in the Windows folder, the winnt folder and the system and system32 folders. Nothing found there that jumped out at me. I then rebooted to Windows (at least as far as the Windows logon screen) and tried to input the above user names into the user name field while leaving the password field blank and hitting enter. I kept getting a message that I could not logon. So, now 3 days into this, I am still not able to boot up to windows.

As a side (and maybe important note) is that my frieds CRT is acing up and I could not get a clear view of the Windows Logon diaglog box. I played around and am sure that I got the passords into the proper fields, however, there is no tellinfg for sure.

I believe I am coming to the last straw and am considering running chnptw. Unless you have some other idea of what to do next, can you please tell me how to access chnptw from either of my KNOPPIX DISCS?

thanks again,

Larry

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They are in the dreaded "single user" trap.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 4, 2004 10:43 PM PDT

"Kevin McKean" is the administrator logon.

Let me explain (badly) what I see happen in 2000/XP systems when an new user migrates to these OSes. They may COMPLAIN LOUDLY about all the clutter of user directories and then proceed to pare it down to a single login and delete the other user directories.

The last step of the process is to rename the administrator account to their name.

What they inadvertantly have done is welded shut the escape hatches in this submarine. As such, only the tools such as chpwnt and www.lostpassword come into play as well as the time tested method of installing a new hard disk, put on WIndows 2000, all the drivers and more then adding the old drive on the slave connector to see if the old files are still there.

They jumped into this trap, so it's likely their choice that they built the trap in the first place.

Always have a spare admini capable account on NT/2000/XP/2003 or you get this thrill ride.

Bob

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Re: They are in the dreaded
by rxplsb3 / August 5, 2004 1:25 AM PDT

Sounds like we are in trouble. When this guy gets back from his vacation, if he knows the password, we should be able to get in, correct?

Assuming he doesn't know the password or something else goes wrong, I'd like to try chntpw. I can't seem to find any "easy" info on the net on how to run this program. I was really hoping that I could just run it and it would automatically reset all passwords without any intervention on my part. If I am reading the info properly, it sounds like once invoked, I still need to manually tweak settings.

Thus far you have avoided any direct comment on this command (I assume because of the "disclaimer" and possible damage that can be done) but it may be my only hope. Can you PLEASE provide instructions on how I can run this command (chntpw) from one of the KNOPPIX discs I now have? Or maybe you could simply provide a link to a page that would have instructions for running chntpw that apply to my case.


Thank you so much for all of your input. It is always valuable. I just hope we can get this beast back up and running........

Larry

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It's your choice...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 5, 2004 1:37 AM PDT

Remember that data loss is your issue and not mine if the chntpw does something truly odd. Time and time again I will note that I will not support it. Nothing will change this.

If you want a supported method, then http://www.lostpassword.com

Link about chntpw -> http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/

Bob

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Re: It's your choice...
by rxplsb3 / August 5, 2004 3:31 AM PDT
In reply to: It's your choice...

100% understood!

At this point I am going to sit tight till Monday when this guy comes back from vacation, maybe he can give us the password and all will be well.

The software available at lostpassword.com looks ideal but the guy only paid $300 for the computer to begin with and the price of the lost password program is a bit steep!

Thanks again,

Larry

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Re: Cannot get past windows logon screen booting windows 200
by billzhills / August 4, 2004 10:36 PM PDT
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Re: Cannot get past windows logon screen booting windows 200
by rxplsb3 / August 14, 2004 4:21 AM PDT

Bob,

Thanks for all of your help on this issue. I was able to fix this problem with the help of www.lostpassword.com as you had suggested. I created Windows 2000 boot disks from www.allbootdisks.com and was able to boot in and then reset the password with the help of lostpassword.com. Simply amazing and easy to do!

Thanks again,

Larry

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Best of continued luck.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 14, 2004 4:28 AM PDT

The lostpassword.com is a known fix. But one has to determine if it's worth it.

Just my parting advice. Never use Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 with just one Admin capable account. I keep running into this issue and a simple second account to get in and set passwords would avoid all that.

Bob

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