10-year old son set & forgot Windows password

Hewlett-packard / Evo d310
August 16, 2010 at 22:38:57
Specs: Windows Vista
My 10 year old son decided to set a log in password for XP Pro on my Compaq EVO 310 and then can not remember even doing it (he says). What are my options to save family photos from this drive without erasing everything with a fresh OS install?

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August 16, 2010 at 23:46:31
If it's just a password to access your user account, then try restarting in Safe Mode. This will give you access to the (normally hidden) Administrator account - as long as there isn't a password on that you can log on and remove the password from your account. Failing that there are numerous programs that can be used to alter/remove passwords using variations of Linux. Post back if the safe mode option doesn't work.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..."

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August 16, 2010 at 23:46:34
Download and burn a Linux Live CD.
Start your computer with this Linux Live CD.
You can access the windows drives and copy all your files to e.g. an external USB hard drive or burn the files on CD.

The original poster should always write the last response !!!
Let us know, if the problem is solved !!!

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August 17, 2010 at 00:14:58
expanding on post-2 a little more...

knoppix.com and ubuntu.com both have a freebie ISO download of their respective versions of Linux. Save ISO to a hard-drive; then burn it to a DVD; boot with that DVD. Linux will then load into RAM and the entire HD in the system is merely an asset/resource to the Linux OS on the DVD and in RAM...

Boot order will of course have to be CD/DVD first - then HD...

You can then copy all those pics and other files to optical-media (and/or another external HD). Verify those disks are truly accessible too on another working system,

Also useful - and wise - to have copies of all such files/pics etc. (and regularly updated too) on optical etc. media; so you can't lose them in event of problems

If the suggeston in post-1 doesn't work out OK than do post back; there are options various - as alluded to by "johnr".

Also ensure that all users do not have Admin level access. Create non-admin accounts for all users; yourself too. That way no-one can lock you out in the future; merely screw up their account only, or lock themselves out...

Use Admin account for maintenance and installation of software/hardware only. And often useful to have two Admin level accounts - with separate/different passwords. The default Admin account (which will become one of the two suggested) when a new system arrives usually has no password set; or with it set to be Administrator (or even Admin). Know which it is and remember it... (maybe note it somewhere safe - but not easlily found... by 10yr olds etc...?) And then create an additinal user-account in your name (or something like?); give that Admin level access and keep that password safe etc (and not too widely known...).

And of course have your own user-account (with no Admin level access) for general use.

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August 17, 2010 at 23:29:52
Thank you very much for the ideas and tips. Sorry for the delay in getting back with you.

Johnr: Using safe mode ... I don't think we've tried that one yet. Sounds like the best bet. I don't think he was that clever nor knowledgeable to set an admin password too.

paulsep: Making a Linux CD to at least get the family pictures off should work, as long as I can figure that out. But I'll think I'll attempt this as a last resort.

trvlr: The computer in question is (IMO) on it's last leg anyways. But setting up user accounts without Admin rights is an ideal solution. Your very knowledgeable advice hearkens back to my old days of programing ... Save, save often. Thank the ex-wife for letting the computer savvy boy onto Mom & Dad's computer, when they have an OLD computer of their own to wreak havoc upon. They are always messing their computer up. IDK why she thought it would be a good idea to let them use (what is now) her desktop computer.

Thanks again for your ideas. I'll work on getting in via the safe mode, since I don't imagine he was THAT complete in setting up passwords.

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August 18, 2010 at 00:29:50
If you can get into safe-mode likely you can copy files, pics etc to DVD that way; no need of linux variants... Failing which the knoppix or ubuntu disk approach is the simplest and actually very straightforward to use...

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August 18, 2010 at 04:43:26
Hi Neo,

Don't worry, all of your data etc will be safe, you simply restart your system and at the time of booting just press F8 key for OS menu. Select Safe Mode and then let the system go on and then user selection screen, click on the administrator tab, go to control panel -> User Account -> Administrator account, follow the instruction for removing password from any user account and then restart your system. You will login your same account without any password.


Mark Alter

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August 20, 2010 at 05:41:23
Incidentally... the reason I often advise safeguard data - as a first stop on the road to recovery - is just in-case sumat doth go amiss when doing whatever to recover the system etc.

Even if it is a simple as safe-mode password reset.. things could go amiss... So before resetting any password (be it via safe-mode or otherwise) - unless one is really and truly, "absolutley certain" one can do it all safely - and things will be OK afterwards (which means data acccess is preserved etc...) - copy those precious files etc. off the system first...; again just in-case...

Not unknown for the simplest of tweaks to go wrong - even when by the hands of the cognoscenti...

And as a matter of course... regularly ensure one does have copies off the system... (to optical media or another external HD)?

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August 20, 2010 at 08:13:04
Good news! The Safe Mode via F8 during boot up worked! Her computer is back up and running again.

This is a desktop computer that is clearly Moms Computer, and has internet access. The boys have their own computer to play with and load down with silly games, but no internet access. So when she lets them use her computer, it's with the understanding that they don't download games .... and don't change any settings, wallpapers, or anything like that. So Moms computer does not have any user accounts or passwords protecting it.

When I got into safe mode, there was the ONE user account that had been set up (with the unknown password) and the Administrator account. Yeah :) And as we did not set a password for the "Administrator" it was just a click and we were back in. We removed the "new" user account and upon rebooting her computer ... it went straight to the desktop screen like it always has. She's happy. Her computer is now back at her place. I'm happy. The boys have seen the efforts we had to go through to get it up and running again ... I'm sure they learned something from this as well.

Now I'm thinking that she should set up a non-admin type account on that computer for the boys to use when they are messing around on her computer. And to put a password on the Admin user account. Or maybe just do some of that "parental supervision" thing. :)

Thanks for the help everyone !!!!

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August 20, 2010 at 08:15:56
Oh, and I told her to USE that 20 GB external USB hard drive that she has had connected to her computer for years to save her data on to so she will not have to worry about losing pictures and stuff like that ever again. Well. As long as that hard drive doesn't crash. :)

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August 20, 2010 at 09:08:40
she shouldn't be going on the internet as the administrator


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August 20, 2010 at 10:52:05
Agree no Internet access at Admin-level.. Use the Admin access on any PC - only when you need to do things at that level; install utils, apps. etc.; maintenance etc..

"Everybody" use a standard user-account overall; some may have more privileges than others of course...

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January 9, 2011 at 09:23:07
Thank YOU all for the advice

I had already FOUND the F-8 SAFE-MODE

And discovered the previously "hidden" ADMINISTRATOR log-in

But had overlooked the DELETE User Password feature in the:


Thanks Again


PASSWORD eliminated

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