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I found an Acer Aspire T180 desktop next to the dumpster in my apartment complex. Looks in good shape, took it in to tinker with it. I managed to get it to boot, but it loads Windows 7 and I don't have the password. I would like to reset the password rather than reformat, because I don't own a copy of Win7 to re-load onto the machine.

Tried "Offline NT Password and Registry Editor", but when I get to the part where it's supposed to mount the disk, it says:

Mounting from /dev/sfda2, with assumed filesystem type FAT/VFAT/FAT32 and similar
Trying to mount FAT / VFAT / FAT32 etc

mount: mounting /dev/sda2 on /disk failed: Invalid argument
ERROR: Mount failed

fdisk -l shows the system as FAT16, but since Win7 is on it, I'm pretty sure it's not? Tried doing a manual mount (mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/ntfs, also tried using the flags -t ntfs and -t ntfs-3g) but I get these errors:

mount: mounting /dev/sda2 on /mnt/ntfs failed: Invalid argument (without -t flag)
mount: mounting /dev/sda2 on /mnt/ntfs failed: No such device (with -t flag)

Also tried the Ophcrack live CD. This time, the partition doesn't mount automatically BUT if I try manually it mounts fine, and I can view the contents of the drive.

How can I get the Offline NT program to mount my drive, or alternatively, is there a program I can use to reset the password from the Live CD once the drive is mounted? Can't seem to install chntpw either...

UPDATE (solved): Booted into Ubuntu live cd and opened up disk manager, which lets you change the system filetype. Changed it to NTFS, and rebooted using Offline NT program which worked its magic--Windows 7 booted up fine. Hope this helps someone!

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I think this is a good lesson on why you should never dispose of a hard drive with a computer. –  horatio Jun 17 '11 at 16:27
    
Completely agreed, though I wasn't trying to be malicious here, I just wanted a copy of Windows. –  Jeff Jun 17 '11 at 16:33
    
Not meant to be an accusation. –  horatio Jun 17 '11 at 16:55
    
+1 for finding a computer next to a dumpster that works! –  paradd0x Jun 17 '11 at 17:53

2 Answers 2

After getting into Windows 7, I would install a program such as Belarc Advisor or Magical Jelly Bean key finder to find your Windows 7 key. Then you have a free copy of Windows 7...

If you could reformat and just start over, it will give you a brand-new machine and you won't have to worry about files left on the machine harming you, say a virus or etc...


Don't know if you have tried Kon-Boot, but that is another alternative...You mentioned Oph-Crack which is really good for a lot of passwords.

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Haven't tried safe mode yet, I thought you still need a password to get into safe mode? This certainly isn't my primary machine, so I'm not worried about viruses or anything. Just looking for a computer to mess around on. Will probably dual-boot with Ubuntu, but I would like to get more acquainted with Win7 as well... –  Jeff Feb 1 '11 at 1:59
    
@Jeff: that's the problem, in WinXP, you could get in via the hidden Admin account, but it is disabled by default in Win7. –  studiohack Feb 1 '11 at 2:01
    
Fixed! I'll update the original Q. Thanks for the suggestion about KON-BOOT, that looks good, but didn't end up needing it. –  Jeff Feb 1 '11 at 2:23
    
@Jeff: glad you got it fixed! Have fun! and welcome to Super User! :-) –  studiohack Feb 1 '11 at 2:29
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Solved: I booted into Ubuntu live cd and opened up disk manager, which lets you change the system filetype. Changed it to NTFS, and rebooted using Offline NT program which worked its magic--Windows 7 booted up fine. Hope this helps someone!

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