How do I crack my Windows XP user profile password?
July 18, 2006 12:06 AM   Subscribe

How do I recover a user profile from a previous Windows XP (Professional) installation? Old user profile is still there, but keeps denying me access.

So my wife calls me up at work, telling me that lsass.exe is gone and she can't log in. She brings the computer to a repair shop, which tells her that we have no other option except to reformat the disk. We pull it out and attempt a repair; no go, we're prompted for a password that I don't remember installing. Next, we reinstall a newer build of Windows XP.

The folders from the previous user profiles are still there; problem is, mine was the only password-enabled folder, and now I'm locked out of my own data. unlocker.exe can't do anything more than rename, move or delete the folder. Security settings turn up zip.

How the hell can I crack that folder and get my data out of there? Help!
posted by micketymoc to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you mean the Windows XP Recovery console asks for a password (and you didn't set one) just hit enter. You can reset windows passwords for a simple boot disk very easily. But I'm confused. If you reinstalled are the old folders there? Do you mean you're accessing the old data from a backup or another machine or something? You will need to go to the security tab (make sure simple file sharing is off in tools->folder options->view tab in my computer) of the folder properties, click advanced, go to the owner tab and have the user you are logged in as now take overship of the folder and subfolders. If you mean the files were encrypted (they should show up green colored) then you're SOL without recovering the original password.
posted by crypticgeek at 12:22 AM on July 18, 2006

Take Ownership. This is possibly the most commonly asked question on Ask Metafilter.
posted by majick at 1:07 AM on July 18, 2006

Use this service:

It works; I've used it before. You have to be willing to wait a few days if you want the password for free. Alternately you can pay $20 and get it immediately.
posted by markcholden at 7:22 AM on July 18, 2006

When you setup windows you more-than-likely setup an administrator password this time.

What you need to do is:

i. Reboot your computer

ii. Just before you see the windows splash screen hit F8

iii. Select 'safe mode'

iv. At the login screen when windows boots - you should either get
a) Press ctrl-alt-delete to login
b) Your normal welcome screen with a user list

If you get 'a' press ctrl-alt-delete and login as 'Administrator' with the password you created upon install of windows. If you get 'b' you'll notice a new user, 'Administrator', that you can select and log in as.

v. Once logged in as administrator, in My Computer browse to the folder, right-click it and properties.

vi. In the security tab there should be an 'Advanced' button - click it and go to the 'Owners' tab.

vii. Select the box to change the owner and select administrator as the owner.

viii. Hit OK all the way out.

This should have made your current user account the owner of that folder. This means, regardless of permissions, you OWN it and can do with it what you wish.

Now - there is one 'caveat' if you will. If you ENCRYPTED this folder as an old user on the old system, and are now trying to get into it as a new user, tough cookies. You might have noticed when logged in as an admin before and changing another user's password that big warning about "IF YOU DO THIS, ALL DATA ENCRYPTED WITH THIS USER'S CREDENTIALS WILL BE INACCESSIBLE"

You guessed it - without an original user account it gets even MORE inaccessible.

I hope this helps a little.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 11:20 AM on July 18, 2006

Additionally - if the poster (or anyone) has an EXISTING local account on their machine that they do not have the password for (i.e. the local administrator account) - download this tool and follow the CD burn instructions:

Emergency Boot CD

There's an option to reset a windows password. It works. I tried about 6 different ones to come to this one which actually works.

Use a '*' when resetting the password. This will reset it to a blank password - which is always safer. Login with the blank and change it.

It's very easy to use, very straightforward.
posted by jimmy0x52 at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2006

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