Thursday, 24 April 2008

Linux rescues Windows XP laptop

Linux to the rescue again. I had an acquaintance who had inherited a laptop, due to this circumstance they were unable to get past the windows login password. Using the Trinity Rescue Disk again I was able to boot into a Linux command console and use the 'winpass' script to remove (overwrite) the admin password. After a reboot this enabled me to log into the machine as Administrator and remove the user password rendering the machine usable again without a complete re-build and any potential damage to the contents.

This won't work for all Windows machines, particularly avoid doing this if you the machine is using encrypted file system, as you might loose all the data. Basically only use these tools if you know what you are doing. For a totally non-destructive approach Windows Password Recovery claims to be able to crack 98.5% of passwords in a reasonable time without writing to the machine's disk, so that might be worth a try.

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