A month or so ago, HWTFM’s laptop developed a bizarre problem of randomly shutting down, usually during the boot process. Â Since it was out of warranty, he decided it was time for a new one, so the old one sat around on the kitchen table ever since. Â Now that summer has arrived, I have a little time to tend to things around the house that need fixing.
Last week, I took apart the old laptop. Â I didn’t actually FIX anything, but what appears to be the ritual “laying on of hands” probably includes snugging up connections that have worked loose over time. Â Also removing gobs of cat hair, attracted to the inside of anything electronic because of the electrostatic charge. Â But even after I was able to get it to boot successfully several times, we were still stuck: HWTFM had forgotten the administrator password (the only account on that machine).
I tried 437 times to guess at it, then gave up. Â This morning, after again fixing Delta’s laptop via the “laying on of hands” method (it was her keyboard cable), I started googling for an XP password crack. Â There are several out there for $34.95-ish, but I wasn’t in the mood to spend money. Â Finally, I happened upon the Ultimate Boot CD, which contains quite a few excellent tools, including a password reset.
That’s how I know I tried 437 times to guess: the password reset tool told me how many times the incorrect password had been attempted prior to my reset. Â The utility also includes a variety of hard disk tools, partition tools, a registry editor, anti-virus and anti-malware tools, and a bunch of other stuff.
MOST people probably either remember their Windows password, or just don’t use one. Â But occasionally one is called upon to fix a machine where the password is unknown, or even one that was changed via malware. Â This tool isn’t for rookies or the faint of heart, but it’s a good one if you can follow directions and sort of know what you’re doing at the command line interface.
Next up, I’m running a full scan on the old computer, because I’m suspicious that that’s how the password got messed up in the first place. Â Once that scan is done, then we’ll have one more working laptop in the house, probably destined for Gamma going into her senior year of high school.
Another nifty freebie: BurnCDCC from TeraByte Unlimited is a small, fast ISO-burner to create bootable CDs.
If only I were as proficient in auto repair.