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Password Put On Stolen Laptop

by jpedicord / May 19, 2009 3:58 AM PDT

My house was broken into and one of the things taken was a HP Media Center laptop (XP Media Edition SP1, I think), which miraculously, was recovered and returned to me by the police this morning. The scum who stole it replaced the only user account I had (not password protected) with their own, so, obviously I cannot get into the computer now. Is there a way to hack the hack and get to where I can delete the user and maybe get back to my content? There is nothing irreplaceable on it, so I could reinstall from the recovery disk (if I can find it), but I would rather not have to spend the time reinstalling everything and reinstating all of my customized settings.

First thing for sure, I will do a virus scan, Spybot check, etc.....

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Recovery
by jeff_windows_team / May 19, 2009 4:09 AM PDT

Who knows what else he/she has put on your computer. To be absolutely safe I would use you recovery discs and start fresh. If you do not have the discs you can usually get them from your computer manufacturer.

Jeff
Windows Outreach Team

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Unsafe at best.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 19, 2009 4:39 AM PDT

While NTPASSWD is worth mentioning the machine is unsafe even with every known scan. Time to consider NTPASSWD to get in, get a few files out and then start over.

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I am basically lazy....
by jpedicord / May 19, 2009 5:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Unsafe at best.

... but I guess you are right, a clean sweep probably makes the most sense in the long run. It's just a matter of figuring out which of 200 places in the computer room I put the manual/disk package for that machine.

Thanks to both of you!

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A followup....
by jpedicord / May 26, 2009 3:14 AM PDT

After what seemed like a zillion tries, I finally got the menu to come up where I could select Safe Mode, I got into Admin, killed the user (still hoping to do it for real, not just the scumbag's account/password) and set up a new user. (All done without plugging the machine into the network, and the wireless switch has stayed off.) Rebooted, got in and found the guy had installed World of Warcraft and Limewire, so I called the detective on the case to see if he thought they might be able to get any info from those things that would help them. He said not to delete anything or use the computer for now, so I'm pretty much back to square one. I still can't use the computer....

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lol
by Nightmares0nwax / May 26, 2009 5:24 PM PDT
In reply to: A followup....

ha! then that guy is screwed, if he has been using your pc for personal use then a forensic team will be able to turn up his details. nothing is ever ever truely deleted! fileslack reveals all =P

btw, his wow account name, was it in the client when you started it up? i wonder if blizzard would turn over his details to the popo.

i wouldnt use the computer for now as he said, even by general use you could unintentionally overwrite important data.

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I have a feeling....
by jpedicord / May 27, 2009 2:55 AM PDT
In reply to: lol

... the guy(s) are already screwed and the cops may figure they have enough evidence that they won't have to spend the time and effort to get into the guts of the hard drive. They caught one of the fools trying to sell my stereo in school and he ratted on the others, I guess figuring he didn't want to have strangers for cellmates. I had serial numbers.....

I didn't start anything, like you said, concerned that the OS might overwrite something important with a temporary file or who-knows-what. Since I already got a replacement laptop before they called and told me they had some of my stuff, I can let it slide for a bit. The main thing I want to get it going again is for the Lightscribe DVD writer which I do not have access to elsewhere.

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