September 26, 2004 7:31 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend took her work laptop (running XP Pro) home, and I thoughfully messed with the settings when she left it on the table.

I switched the computer from her work domain to our home workgroup in an effort to transfer some mp3s from our central computer. Of course, the settings wouldn't take effect until I restarted. So I did. Now, I can't get past the login screen-- it tells me that it can't log in and to make sure that the domain and password are correct.

What do I do, besides make her call tech support first thing tomorrow?
posted by Mayor Curley to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
She may really be only a domain user with no local account (this is common in corporate setups for non-tech users), in which case she can't do anything except call tech supprt.
posted by falconred at 7:45 AM on September 26, 2004

is that true? i lost my root passwd on win2k, downloaded some snazzy doodah from teh intarweb, burnt it to cd, booted from said cd, and changed the root passwd. from there, changing the config should be possible.

of course, then she'd have to explain how the root passwd was changed.

i hope you had to do something suitably humiliating as an act of contrition.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:19 AM on September 26, 2004

You might be able to boot in safe mode (hold F8 at boot) and log in as Administrator.
posted by reklaw at 8:24 AM on September 26, 2004

andrew - I'm not sure if that trick works in XP any more. Plus, the corporate IT people would be less than amused if she overwrote the Admin password.
posted by falconred at 8:31 AM on September 26, 2004

you DO have a backup girlfriend, right curley?
posted by quonsar at 9:26 AM on September 26, 2004

1) Offer to cook or buy dinner.
2) Flowers and/or a card.
3) Suffer the shame of becoming the new poster boy for the RIAA. "If this person had bothered to buy CDs instead of downloading music off the net, the relationship might've been saved."
4) Lie to your girlfriend about upgrading to SP2.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:35 AM on September 26, 2004

aaah... also known as, "Why corporate IT locking down Windows PCs in weird ways sucks for the users'...
posted by SpecialK at 11:34 AM on September 26, 2004

What I would do is sneak into her work, go to the domain controller, boot to the Admin reset disk, then use that password to boot to Domain Recovery mode and give yourself a domain admin account, and make another account with rejoin privileges, and use that.

Alternately, try booting to Safe Mode as mentioned and running a System Restore (although I don't know if this will restore Domain settings, since I don't use System Restore).

Other than that, you don't have many options (except Smark Dalek's solution, which is very crafty).
posted by j.edwards at 11:40 AM on September 26, 2004

Is it too late for "I found it this way"?
posted by jpoulos at 11:59 AM on September 26, 2004

The nifty password changer does not work for XP, although it is very nifty for Win2000.

In Safe Mode, you might be able to log in as her. Worth a try. Sometimes the userid's local account password is old, so try any older passwords gf can remember.

Make her call tech support and fess up? Well, it is her fault for giving you access to her work computer, after all.

The only way to get it back on the domain is to be connected to the domain and rejoin it. That will likely require logging in using dial-up networking to connect to the domain, or having tech support give her the local Administrator password.
posted by theora55 at 12:17 PM on September 26, 2004

maybe this rough draft would be helpful:

dear sysadmin,
i am the naughty naughty boy that was very very stupid and fiddled with -------'s computer, changing the workgroup so that it would no longer work. i am very sorry. i am writing this letter to you to explain that it is not the fault of --------, to plea that you do not blame her in any way, and to promise that it will not happen again, ever. in abject apology i remain, forever,
mayor curley
ps i include, for your pleasure, the line "i will not fiddle with ------'s computer again, ever" written 100 times in red crayon.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:50 PM on September 26, 2004

Try this or this.

Good luck.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:40 PM on September 26, 2004

Civil_Disobedient's suggestions are good. Do them. That's what we do on systems (even XP) that come to the shop for repair when the user doesn't bother to tell us the system password.

Although, if you're smart, you'll make a backup of the hive. If you do that, you can restore it when you're done your... uhhh... covert usage. That way everything will look like you've never messed with it (assuming you don't change any more settings!)

BTW: You won't be able to access encrypted files if you do this until you restore (and find out) the original password. This is a good thing and is the ONLY reason windows' password security is useful.
posted by shepd at 2:50 PM on September 26, 2004

This happened to me with a laptop running win2k - I used a Linux bootdisk (just Google for "windows password recovery" and you'll find a bunch). And it worked... BUT - after booting I went to the Control Panel to set up another user account, and then the laptop battery ran out. Now the damn thing claims a bunch of files have been corrupted and won't get past the first boot screen.

Sadly, the laptop in question belonged to my girlfriend's father...

*bashes head against desk*
posted by Krrrlson at 2:55 PM on September 26, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice. Fortunately, my adverse reaction to tech support is only that I don't want her to lose the time tomorrow-- we haven't violated any policy and the mp3s were all the legal kind that I ripped from our collection.

Or so I claim because I never actually got to transfer them.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:25 PM on September 26, 2004

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