I have been having trouble with my Windows installation lately so I tried blanking a user's password using the Linux utility
chntpw. When this did not work, I tried promoting another user to Administrator, at which point I got a warning that I may experience strange behavior because this feature is experimental and changes the Windows registry.
chntpw anyway, operating on the file
When nothing worked, I googled around and found that Windows keeps regular copies of its registry hives in
C:\Windows\System32\config\RegBackup. So I used the
SAM file in there to restore user passwords to a sane (and functional) state. At this point, I could log in with my regular user account normally. Everything seemed fine until I noticed two very strange problems:
- Explorer opens a new window for each folder even though I specifically opted for "Open each folder in the same window" in the Folder Options.
.exefiles can't be run. Whenever I do that, I get a message that the file is not found. I get this same behavior even if I don't rely on the
PATHvariable and call the executable by absolute path from the command prompt. Now this question here and other Internet resources have suggested that this is due to a messed up registry key. I'm inclined to believe this in light of the earlier
chntpwwarning. The only problem is, I can't launch
regedit.exe: I get the same "Not found" error.
What I have tried
- I thought that this regular backup thing Windows does is nifty and I can thus restore all the modified registry hives from backup so I used my Linux's
findto get a list of the hives I had modified today and found that these were
DEFAULT. Restoring all of them from backup didn't help however, and here I am.
What can I do to restore my registry to a sane state so that I may run executables again?
- Some executables work. I tried
cmdand all work successfully.