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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    Lost main password

    My daughter lost the password for her Windows 8 laptop.

    What's the best way, short of re-installing, to recover or reset the [main] password?

    Regards,
    Chuck Billow
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

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    Quote Originally Posted by CWBillow View Post
    My daughter lost the password for her Windows 8 laptop.

    What's the best way, short of re-installing, to recover or reset the [main] password?

    Regards,
    Chuck Billow
    Is this a BIOS password or account password?

    Joe

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Chuck,

    For Windows Passwords NT Password Reset and Offline Registry Editor has always been my go to tool.

    Of course first try booting into Safe Mode and the Main Admin account. If it isn't PWed you can reset the user account password from there.

    Note you can also find the NT Password Reset tool on the Ultimate Boot Disk. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    As someone said to me after I had recovered their password using the password reset tool above, "what is the point of a Windows password if it doesn't protect anything?"

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    As someone said to me after I had recovered their password using the password reset tool above, "what is the point of a Windows password if it doesn't protect anything?"
    It protects against only casual snooping, but in many cases realistically that may be sufficient. Most of us don't have our machines (at least desktop machines) in environments where people likely to have access to them are apt to be carrying around bootable password-reset tools or bootable Linux systems that could read our data, let alone where people are apt to remove our drive to read its contents in a less-protected setting. Edit: In some cases passwords can help contain the damage which a successful malware attack can cause.

    Also, it's worth noting that if someone DOES use a password-reset tool you'll at least be able to detect such use the next time you log in, since the password won't be what you expected it to be - which itself might be sufficient to discourage snooping via that mechanism by someone who didn't want you to know that they had done so.

    The only real protection against snooping is data encryption using a strong password, and even then you need to ensure that you don't leave the data 'mounted' or otherwise readable 'in clear' such that it might be read via the network or while your machine was unattended (and there's STILL the possibility that some of it might wind up 'in clear' in the paging file unless that's encrypted too).
    Last edited by - bill; 2013-05-14 at 03:26.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    As Bill so eloquently states, passwords help keep honest people honest and makes it much harder for the average person, as he states, who does not carry password reset S/W with them, to break into a found PC. Obviously passwords are easily bypassed for someone who knows what they are doing, but this is not the average user who might find your PC.

    Also passwords keep visitors to your home from easily snooping around your PC. I guess you can say they are one line of defense in our security schemes.
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    4 Star Lounger SpywareDr's Avatar
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    Note that if you reset the password for users with EFS encrypted files, those files will remain unreadable and cannot be recovered.

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    Resetting the user password should not affect their encrypted files as the user has not changed and their internal security keys are still valid.

    cheers, Paul

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Paul,

    Unless I'm reading this wrong resetting the password will not get you access to the EFS.
    From the Wiki on EFS:
    In Windows 2000, XP or later, the user's RSA private key is encrypted using a hash of the user's NTLM password hash plus the user name – use of a salted hash makes it extremely difficult to reverse the process and recover the private key without knowing the user's passphrase. Also, again, setting Syskey to mode 2 or 3 (Syskey typed in during bootup or stored on a floppy disk) will mitigate this attack, since the local user's password hash will be stored encrypted in the SAM file.
    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    4 Star Lounger SpywareDr's Avatar
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    Correct. You will need the user's original password in order to access the user's EFS encrypted files.

  12. #11
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    RG [All];

    NT Password Reset and Offline Registry Editor seems to be, as you say, just the thing.

    Thanks,
    Chuck
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Chuck ,

    Glad that you got it sorted. Now that you're back in I'd make two suggestions.

    1. Setup a good strong user account password and create a Password Reset Disk.
    2. Setup a Known Password on the Main Administrator account and also make a Password Reset Disk and you keep both! Since you're the guy expected to fix things this pretty much insures you can always get in.


    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Chuck,

    For Windows Passwords NT Password Reset and Offline Registry Editor has always been my go to tool.

    Of course first try booting into Safe Mode and the Main Admin account. If it isn't PWed you can reset the user account password from there.

    Note you can also find the NT Password Reset tool on the Ultimate Boot Disk. HTH
    RG, Last night I cleared a customer's forgotten Windows 7 password with this tool. Great tool!

    The hardest part was converting the ISO to a CD.

  15. #14
    Uranium Lounger CWBillow's Avatar
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    RG, in reading again this post, a question nagged at me: why would anyone have the Main Admin account un-pw-ed? Isn't that terribly risky?

    Regards,
    Chuck
    -------------------------------------------------
    "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment."

    ~ A(lan) A(lexander) Milne (1882-1956)- "House at Pooh Corner"

  16. #15
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Chuck,

    The idea here is to clear the password so you gain access. Remember the user FORGOT the password. Once access is gained it is ASSUMED a new password will be set. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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