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This is a question on behalf of my friend.
His kid brother installed a password on his windows 7 home premium desktop and now he forgot. How does he get in?
Since the data is backed up into a flash drive, i suggested nuking using DBAN and reinstalling OS.
To complicate matters further, his CD drive doesn't work. In that case, what options does he have available to recover his password?
Can DBAN be run from a bootable pendrive?

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4 Answers 4

I made a bootable USB drive with Offline NT Password http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ You can then just locate the user profile he logs in with and blank the password. Just make sure the BIOS of the PC is set to boot off USB first. (Or whatever you decide to put Offline NT Password on, if you burn it to a CD then make sure the BIOS is set to look at the CD first)

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The instructions look pretty daunting with having to load drivers from floppy. Simplify them please or maybe they're not needed? –  Fasih Khatib Nov 27 '12 at 16:54
    
On the website under this link is has a method of downloading the USB files under the Download section. Directly under the Download section it has How to make an bootable USB drive pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/bootdisk.html –  j_bombay Nov 27 '12 at 16:56
    
@FasihKhatib - Sounds like you should just replace the drive in question. –  Ramhound Nov 27 '12 at 17:16
    
This method works really well and is easy.... (the destructions are a little less intimidating then they appear...) Believe me, if I can figure it out, then so can you :-D –  TheX Nov 27 '12 at 18:37

How-To Geek suggests in How to Reset Your Forgotten Windows Password the Easy Way to exploit the StickyKeys feature to reset your password.

Steps:

  1. Boot from the installation disk and choose Repair your computer*.

  2. Select Command prompt.

  3. Backup the StickyKeys executable:

    copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\
    
  4. Copy the Command Prompt over the StickyKeys executable:

    copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
    
  5. Reboot the PC.

  6. When asked for the password, press Shift five times.

  7. When the command prompt opens, reset your password:

    net user YOUR_USERNAME NEW_PASSWORD
    
  8. Login using the new password.

  9. Restore the StickyKeys executable:

    copy c:\sethc.exe c:\windows\system32\
    
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I can't do this because the bootable USB with OS says there's some boot error. I knew his trick :) :) –  Fasih Khatib Nov 27 '12 at 17:09
    
Then download some LiveCD image (e.g. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS) and burn it to a flash drive. Use the file browser (Nautilus) instead of the command line if you don't know your way around Linux. –  Dennis Nov 27 '12 at 17:15

Hiren Restored Edition has some tools that will allow you to do that.

And that can be run from a Pen Drive.

If it's a desktop, can you take the HD off and install on a machine that has a working CD drive, can't you?

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Don't see why you have to be so drastic as doing a complete reinstall. And why would you need to empty the drive first? The installation of the OS does that for you.

Anyway, I haven't done it with Windows 7, only XP, but Hiren's Boot CD has a password recovery tool that should work.

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I forgot to mention that he tried making a bootable USB containing OS but computer flashed an error saying there's some problem with boot –  Fasih Khatib Nov 27 '12 at 16:48
    
Well, that could be anything from faulty BIOS to incorrect boot order to USB not created properly to USB broken to... well, I think you get the drift. It' very hard to say what's wrong with out seeing a specific error message. –  Sandokan Nov 27 '12 at 16:55
    
@Sandokan - This answer really needs more information. When compared to the answer by Dennis this answer doesn't help the lack of technical knowlege by the author ( based on his earlier comments ). –  Ramhound Nov 27 '12 at 17:18

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