Windows Vista forum

General discussion

Vista password recovery.... are the files permanently gone?

Friend's company had a primary employee become unexpectedly ill and quit without giving notice. No one knew her computer password. The company needed to access a file today, and tried logging in to her company (sadly, they had no file backups anywhere else).

The company called a HP helpdesk today, and was guided through a Windows Vista Password Recovery. They were told to press F11 three times during setup, etc. They saw a screen that said "backup files?" and selected yes. They successfully were able to reset the password for the sole user account.

The files are all gone. I searched all partitions for them (there's two: C drive, and "HP Recovery.). I tried using BizConnect's file recovery software to no avail.

Are all the company's documents gone due to this password reset? I would appreciate advice.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Vista password recovery.... are the files permanently gone?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Vista password recovery.... are the files permanently gone?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Let me share this.

In reply to: Vista password recovery.... are the files permanently gone?

Here is the FREE tool I use to reset passwords. -> NTPASSWD

Please look it up on google and then call HP to ask where they saved the files. May my grim thoughts not rain on your parade.

Collapse -

In reply to: Let me share this.

Thanks for the reply.

I'll tell them about the problem for future use. Sadly, it's too late for this time around.

HP guided them over the phone to the recovery tool-- they then let the tool run and checked the "backup my files" link within the Vista Recovery Tool (name?) itself. So, I'm afraid HP might not have the answer.

Is there a default destination in which the Vista Recovery Tool/password reset backs up a user's files?

My first guess was that Vista "removed" the files from the account to "protect" them as the password was being reset. But, I can't figure out where to find any recovery tools. I've tried clicking on "Restore files" or "restore from backup" but Vista says no backups have been made.

I'd like to give them hints, but unfortunately I don't even have Vista and haven't had these issues. If they clicked "back up my files," the files must have been somewhere.. right? Will they ever be able to access them without knowing the former employee's orig. password?

Collapse -
Sorry, what tool is that?

In reply to: hm..

Collapse -

In reply to: Sorry, what tool is that?

If there is not a recovery tool in Vista,.. I suppose it could have been built into the HP itself by HP.

Everything on their computer appeared to have been reset-- no documents, favorites, custom program settings, etc. existed. All folders had an edited/last modified date of today (the day they did the 'recovery.'

It really appeared to be 'factory fresh.' Would something like this be possible through the "System Recovery Tool"-- ?

I've never seen anything like this for a password reset. It looks like a new install, but it's not. They didn't insert an install CD, either. That's what makes me wonder if, when doing a force reset of an unknown/forgotten password in Vista, Vista doesn't "hide" the files for security/privacy issues...?

Collapse -
unknown tool..

In reply to: ah.

I wish I knew the name of the tool they used. The company did it themselves and are sadly not technical. It's a small office with no IT support to speak of.

After they did this, they called me. I remote logged in from afar after they panicked and saw that there were no files. I ran BizConnect to see if it could pick up any files from the hard drive or partition drive and got nothing. I'm guessing they're out of luck, but it's a shame and I wish I could come up with something to help them (and the client's that they help out so much).

Collapse -
Maybe time for the real experts.

In reply to: unknown tool..

Call up and see how much. Then it's a business decision to see if the files are worth it.

The longer the machine is in operation the chances of getting files back is reduced.

Sorry but it's very sad that HP was called and not a post here about resetting the password. It's a free tool (NTPASSWD) and downright trivial.

Collapse -
No, but...

In reply to: ah.

The default Vista repair tools do not include the ability to reset a password (without a password disk), backup the user's files, etc. In fact, it's not possible to access those Vista repair tools remotely as they'd have to boot from a Vista DVD. Further, the built-in backup utility can only be run by someone who has administrative access to the computer and has the user specify a location to store the backup, so that's unlikely unless you/they had another account to log into. (The hidden "administrator" account, perhaps?) From the current state it sounds like they performed an HP system recovery, which can be done from a hidden partition containing the software/files instead of from disc, but that cannot be done remotely either. Thus, I'm at a loss for what they did.

Tell me three things:
1.) What makes you say "It looks like a new install, but it's not." What remnants from the previous state are left?
2.) Do you see a windows.old or any new files/folders in the root directory (C:\)?
3.) Can you perform a system restore to a previous date?

There may be hope, but it doesn't sound good.

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Sublime suburban chariot

High on style and technology, the 2019 Volvo XC90 is an incredibly satisfying everyday crossover.