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Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

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Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Old 09-15-13, 07:30 AM
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Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Long distance PC tech support for elderly parents:

My mom and dad live a few hours away and know NOTHING about operating a PC. I set up their computer for them a couple of years ago so they could experiment with email and the web. I did not set a log in password for them and they wouldn't have the first clue about how to set one.

The other day they called saying they couldn't get into their computer because it was asking for a password when they turn it on. I am at a loss to explain this. I ran down some routine guesses and none worked (blank, password, their email name/password, others)

Later they said it wouldn't turn on at all. I am not sure if this is related, because they've left the laptop plugged in 24/7/365 and the battery is now worthless. I think they somehow had unplugged it and that's why it wouldn't turn on. However, since it happened immediately after the weird password thing, I mention it for completeness.

So I guess either someone changed it -- either locally or remotely(?) -- or the computer is getting defective. I've never heard of a computer defect involving thinking it has a password, but I don't do tech support for a living so maybe that's a real thing.

I do not believe anyone locally would have set a password, so I am wondering about the possibility of someone doing it remotely. I installed Microsoft Security Essentials on it and it should have been updated. Is this something someone could do through a virus or other malware?

So what to do now? I never set a password recovery disk, because there wasn't one. Is there a way to bypass the screen? Do I have to physically remove the hard drive to copy the data off it and nuke the installation?

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks
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Old 09-15-13, 09:06 AM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

make a recovery disk that includes a password reset utility

http://www.ubcd4win.com/

mail it to them (keep a copy for yourself) walk them through how to change the password step by step, now they have a password

it looks harder than it is, there are probably simpler disks out there (or ones you can 'buy' premade off ebay) but this is the one that comes to mind for me at the moment.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:53 AM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Yes, someone could remotely set a password, and no antivirus program is going to catch every possible malware.

There's a few places during boot where a password could be asked for: POST, HDD access, and Windows login. Does Windows load up before they see the password prompt? Is there a login name they can see?


For remote desktop support I use either Logmein Free or CrossLoop for remote desktop. Of course, these would've had to have been installed while they still had access to their PC.
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Old 09-20-13, 06:20 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Thanks very much for your advice ... would the Ultimate Boot CD work better, or something like the Linux System Rescue CD work better? Which would be easier?

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...tem-rescue-cd/
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Old 09-20-13, 06:24 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Originally Posted by c-moon View Post
Thanks very much for your advice ... would the Ultimate Boot CD work better, or something like the Linux System Rescue CD work better? Which would be easier?

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...tem-rescue-cd/

Also, in the instructions, it makes it sound like you have to have access to your Windows system to create the UBCD, is that right? If so, that won't work for me. Or is it something I could create with the "recovery" partition? If it helps, the computer is a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge. Will UBCD work with a Win7 machine?
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Old 09-20-13, 09:29 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

You'll need a PC in order to burn a copy of UBCD (which is the disc I'd recommend) to a CD, or to create a bootable USB drive of it. It doesn't have to be made on the affected PC though; in most cases you'd be burning the disc on a working PC, then putting it into the affected PC.

For resetting the Windows password, I've used the "Offline NT Password & Registry Editor" tool on the UBCD. Here's a walkthrough on using the tool:
http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/walkthrough.html
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Old 09-20-13, 10:10 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Thanks, Jay. I do appreciate your assistance.

I was able to make a UBCD using the Windows XP disk and a Virtual Box installation of XP on my MacBook Pro. It all seemed to run smoothly, I guess we'll find out this weekend when my parents bring their non-functioning PC over.

Anyway, I was planning on following the instructions here:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...d-for-windows/

Does this look the same as the one you referenced? Also, if I used XP to create the UBCD, will it work with their Win7 computer?
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Old 09-20-13, 10:28 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Originally Posted by c-moon View Post
Does this look the same as the one you referenced? Also, if I used XP to create the UBCD, will it work with their Win7 computer?
If you need to reset the password to Windows 7 on your computer, you may use AppGeeker Windows Password Reset.

I know it works up to the Windows7 family tree. You can find it at:

Good luck.
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Old 09-21-13, 07:48 AM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

c-moon

the link you posted - http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...d-for-windows/

will work fine on windows 7, even if you created the boot CD from an XP source. You should be all set.
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Old 09-21-13, 09:36 AM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Originally Posted by c-moon View Post
Anyway, I was planning on following the instructions here:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo...d-for-windows/

Does this look the same as the one you referenced? Also, if I used XP to create the UBCD, will it work with their Win7 computer?
The instructions you linked to are for the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4Win), which is different than the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD). Both of them will get the job done, but UBCD4Win is certainly more complex to create.

I should've linked to the Ultimate Boot CD site:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

It's more DOS and Linux-based tools, while UBCD4Win obviously uses Windows tools.
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Old 09-21-13, 10:41 AM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Thanks, guys ... I will report back how it goes.
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Old 09-21-13, 12:16 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
For resetting the Windows password, I've used the "Offline NT Password & Registry Editor" tool on the UBCD. Here's a walkthrough on using the tool:
http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/walkthrough.html

OK, having a problem ... using the instructions you linked to for the "Offline NT Password & Registry Editor" tool, I have gotten to Step Two:

================================================
Step TWO: Select PATH and registry files
===============================================
What is the path to the registry directory? (relative to windows disk)
[WINDOWS/system32/config] :


When I hit Enter to accept the default location, I get the follwing gibberish:

EXPAND [Ww][Ii][Nn][Dd][Oo][Ww][Ss]/[Ss][Yy][Ss][Tt][Ee][Mm]32/[Cc][Oo][Nn][Ff][Ii][Gg]


Then is re-asks me the same question about what path to use to the registry editor, so I stay in this loop. Is the path different in Windows 7 than Windows XP?
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Old 09-21-13, 12:48 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

Success!!

I found another very good web tutorial for using the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor program HERE that had this little nugget of wisdom:

Windows 7 Note: Every Windows 7 PC will have more than one partition listed. In many cases, the right partition to choose will be number 2. The 100 MB partition labeled BOOT is never the right choice.


After I switched to partition "2", everything went as planned.

Now I kind of wished I'd used a different software to actually find out what the password was, so it might have given me a clue about who changed it.

Ah well, water under the bridge, my parents are back in to their PC. Running Malware Bytes as we speak. Also, for remote troubleshooting I get VERY frustrated doing it over the phone and installed LogMeIn on their computer some months ago. Could this be the source of the breach?

Many thanks for your advice!

Last edited by c-moon; 09-21-13 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 08-26-14, 11:03 PM
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Re: Windows 7 PC requesting boot password, but I never set one

You can remove it, please login and click start->Control Panel->User Account to change Windows password, if you can't login, please do as this guide on how to remove Windows 7 passwrod: windowspasswordsrecovery.com/remove-windows-7-password.htm
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