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I understand this sounds incredibly shady, but I'm hoping someone can help me out.

I have a Windows 8 laptop from a family member who recently passed away. I would like to be able to login to this computer to get some information on things that need to be taken care of.

The laptop has only one user, which is a Microsoft account (hotmail) not a local account.

When trying to boot into safe mode, only that account is available, no local admin. When trying to boot to a command prompt, Windows 8 first requires I login to the only account, the aforementioned Microsoft account.

It's been a long time since I've had to do something like this so I'm out of the loop. On an older PC I'd throw in Hiren's boot disk and use one of the password utilities to just blank the password. I imagine things are very different with having a "cloud account" or whatever the heck Microsoft is calling it.

Can anyone assist?

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Do you need to log in or would it be sufficient to be able to retrieve their data files? – nhinkle Jul 22 '13 at 21:21
Logging in would be preferable. If I can't, I'll pull the drive and throw it in an external drive. – Joe Jul 22 '13 at 21:23
I would start by trying to reset their Microsoft account password the official way. If that doesn't work, then pulling the data off directly will probably be the easiest solution. – nhinkle Jul 22 '13 at 21:27
You could try Locksmith with the latest MSDaRT… – Jul 22 '13 at 21:33
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As it's a Microsoft account, then I would recommend contacting Microsoft and try to explain the situaion and try to retrieve the user details or changing the email and resetting the password, so you can login.

The easiest way would ofcourse just be to pull out the HDD and get the data you need.

Maybe this can help you: How does a family member access a deceased family member's account?

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This seems like the most reasonable and proper way to go. I'm going to accept this as the correct answer. – Joe Jul 22 '13 at 21:35
I don't think there is any other way and I hope you get what you want :) – Jesper Jensen Jul 22 '13 at 21:37
I think you may need to reconsider. Per the Microsoft documentation, they will NOT reset/give you the current password. They will dump email contents, address book contents... and mail you a CD. The documentation required is also a bit hard to fulfill. – Blackbeagle Jul 22 '13 at 22:12

You can actually use a password reset program, as the Microsoft accounts link up with "local" accounts. Try with Hiran's boot CD. Remember though, you need to disable EUFI booting, and Secure Boot, when you blank the password; before starting Windows 8 again, you'll need to re-enable them (if they were enabled before)

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The login details of Microsoft account is also cached in the SAM database c:\windows\system32\config\sam, this makes users capable of logging into Windows 8 using Microsoft account without internet connection.

PCUnlocker Live CD is the unique software that can reset locally cached Microsoft account password so you can then log back into Windows 8 with a new password.

If that doesn't work, take out your hard drive, put it into another computer, backup your data.

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