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I have a computer I use from time to time and the old admin made it impossible to do anything with this computer other than go on the internet. It's a windows xp system. the usual gpedit.msc tricks don't work because on the "only" profile there is has no admin powers. There is an admin acct, but it is hidden from the log in screen and the password is unknown to myself. Software restriction policies prevent exe files from being installed or used off a flashdrive, cmd prompt is disabled. batch files wont work, etc. Is there a way to unlock this computer without a full reinstall of windows? Too add one last thing, the start menu is even limited (no run, ctrl panel, etc.) and the only thing accessible is the current programs.

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re-install XP should do the trick – Logman Nov 20 '13 at 1:56
pretty sure there's an admin password unlocker boot utility floating around for xp. I'll see if I can track down the link.... – Chris Nov 20 '13 at 2:08
OPHCrack is one of such tools that Chris mentioned. To brute force the administrator account password usually. – Darius Nov 20 '13 at 2:24
The traditional solution (if you're not allowed to modify the OS) is to boot a Linux live CD - that will give you total control without touching the hard drive... – user55325 Nov 20 '13 at 5:52
Thankyou for the help. I will look into all of these and see what I can get to work. @user55325 Booting with a Linux live CD would open with the Linux OS would it not? – Zac Nov 20 '13 at 7:01

I recommend Offline NT Password Editor. It allows you to clear passwords and enable users, e.g. the admin user. You will need to load it onto a USB drive, or CD if you prefer, and follow the directions in the Download section of the link provided. Once you make the disk bootable restart your computer and boot from that drive. Then follow the on screen instructions.

Note: This only works if the drive in unencrypted.

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Thank you Peter. Quite helpful information. Might give that a go when I have the opportunity. – Zac Nov 20 '13 at 7:04
You're welcome. Let me know if you have any questions. – imtheman Nov 20 '13 at 7:06
This works only if disk is not encrypted. – week Nov 20 '13 at 9:00
@week Yes, that is correct. I forgot to add that. – imtheman Nov 21 '13 at 21:20

use Hiren's boot cd.Burn hiren image file to a disk. boot to hiren and select “Offline NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 Password Changer”. once entered select the windows folder and select user, then change password.

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i think we can try some command line alternative. in your case to enable admin account:

open command prompt, & execute the following command

net user administrator /active:yes

Now admin account will be visible on Log in Screen. if you forgot admin password then use

net user <username> <password>

will reset the password.

if still its not working try How do I reset the Windows administrator password? Sticky Keys Method.

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