Frustration. My mom asked me to help her pick out a Dell. I advised her to get a Dell Inspiron 17" Notebook with Windows 7 and Office 2007 preloaded. The machine came and she set it up by answering the few questions during the first boot of the machine. She claims that after logging in she ran a few programs and left it on and went to dinner. When she returned, the machine was off. No explanation as to why it would have shut down.

Now when it boots, she can't log in. Her username is displayed on the initial login screen as the sole user. But her password doesn't work. Now, she's in her 70's and I wouldn't discount that she forgot her password -- even after this short a period. She's tried everything that she thinks might be her password -- with and without the caps lock key on -- and nothing works; she can't get back in.

I'd be happy just to reset the machine back to it's factory configuration -- just as it arrived -- so that she can start fresh. There is no data on the machine yet. I had her hit F8 on boot and choose the repair option to reset the machine. But it prompts you for credentials of an administrative user. Catch 22. She can't log in.

Any ideas on how to proceed? Thanks for any help.


the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor works for Windows 7, it will reset/clear the password.


Boot from the DVD: How to use System Restore to log on to Windows 7 or Windows Vista when you lose access to an account - MS KB Article

  • That method still requires knowing the password! "Click a restore point that will return the computer to a state where the logon is successful." – harrymc Nov 22 '09 at 10:25
  • You're right; brain freeze on my part. It's possible on OS X to reset the admin password by booting from the DVD. – markratledge Nov 22 '09 at 15:09

The F8 menu is related to the currently installed Windows and not the Dell utilities.

Put in the recovery CD/DVD and make sure you boot from the disk, it should be able to format the machine and start from factory settings.

Apart from that, you may want to try NT Password and Registry Editor - burn it to a disk and boot into it.

I used this all the time with XP and loved it - I know Windows Vista and 7 use a new password system and I honestly have no idea if this is compatible, a few friends say it still works, but I have not tested it.


I think Dell machines have the Administrator password set as blank (i.e. no password at all) by default. Try that and see if it works...


The LoginRecovery utility might be worth a try, although advertised as tested only up to Windows XP. You download a utility that you burn to a boot CD, boot this CD which recovers and reports the password hash. You then upload the password hash to their server to crack.

The article How To Reset A Nt Password Using Knoppix-std described a method of using the Knoppix live CD to delete the password on an account and set it to blank.

And finally, the utility John the Ripper password cracker free version can be useful for a weak password.


Try OPH Crack, just boot it. It says it supports up to Win Vista i have yet to use it under a Win7 environment. Hope it works


I recommend my Emergency Boot CD. It's very straightforward and easy to use (available as a shareware demo or $39.95 for full version).

It can:

  • Backup and restore files without Windows
  • Reset password of any Windows user
  • Edit Registry even if Windows is not bootable
  • Fix boot problems and reassign drive letters
  • Manage partitions: create, format, delete, wipe, backup, restore
  • I would bring your attention to this part of the faq - you might want to add that you are the creator/compiler of this tool to your answer. You might also want to add that the free version dosen't write to fixed disks, and as such may be of no use for someone with the same issue. – Journeyman Geek Nov 11 '11 at 23:16
  • ok -- fixed it according to your recommendations – Mikhail Kupchik Nov 13 '11 at 18:58
  • 1
    @MikhailKupchik Can't really be called 'shareware', if you're selling it! – AStopher Jul 1 '14 at 17:57

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