How to reset the password for the local Administrator account (or enable it) using Linux

If you have a personal computer maybe this is nothing you encounter very often.

If you have a computer in a network, in a domain maybe, you will definitely need at some point the local Administrator password. This occurs with various issues like the computer going out of the domain or user accounts problems.

There are 2 common situations:

  1. You know the Administrator password but the account is disabled.
  2. You don’t know/forgot the Administrator password.

The method below will help on both problems.

The Linux command used is chntpw.

Note: HirenBootCD uses the same application.

chntpw is not installed by default on Linux distros so you have to install it from your Package Manager.

I have it on a bootable USB flash with Puppy Linux. Here is my presentation of Puppy Linux.

DISCLAIMER!!! Resetting the Administrator password with this method is considered brute force cracking and not permitted in networks. It might be illegal in your area. The method below is only for educational purposes and you should never do that. System Administrators will detect that. If you can’t access a computer, always ask help from the System Administrator.

How to use it (i assume we use Windows XP but the method is use for other version of Windows):

  1. Boot the machine with the Puppy Linux USB flash.
  2. Make sure the Windows partition where the Windows folder is mounted.
  3. Open a Terminal and navigate to the location of your SAM file (in Windows XP is here: C:\WINDOWS\system32\config). For other versions of Windows find the SAM file location first.
  4. Type this at the prompt, without quotes: “sudo chntpw -u Administrator SAM“.
  5. Here you will be given some options. The 1st one is to reset the Administrator with a blank password and the 4th is to enable the Administrator account.
  6. Depending of your situation, enter a number and press [Enter].
  7. When the app asks you to write the SAM file, choose [y] and press [Enter].
  8. Reboot and login. If you enabled the Account, login with the password you knew. If you reset the account, use a blank password.
  9. Always remember your local Administrator password and disable the account after you did your job.

Happy day!

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Windows 10 not showing in GRUB boot menu of Linux Mint

A rule of thumb for dual booting Linux and Windows is to install Windows first.

But as anomalies in the Matrix exist, doing so may cause to have only Linux in GRUB boot menu (the linux boot menu that let you choose the operating system you want to boot into).

There are GUI programs to fix this but i will show you the Terminal way. I know the linux Terminal is scary but you’ll se you have nothing to worry about.

Look at the bright side, it’s an exercise for linux Terminal and editing a text file.

So, it’s simple as that:

  1. Open a Terminal.
  2. Type without quotes: “sudo nano /etc/grub.d/40_custom”
  3. Enter your password.
  4. Add this to the file:

menuentry ‘Windows 10′ {

set root='(hd0,msdos1)’

chainloader +1

}

5. Save and exit the text editor.

6. Also on the Terminal, type without quotes: “sudo update-grub2”.

7. Enter your password.

8. Restart and enjoy.

 

Windows: File associations per user

If file associations are messed up on a specific user and the File Associations in Folder Options are correct, do this:

  1. Press [Win+R]
  2. Type regedit and press [Enter] to open Regedit (the registry editor)
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes
  4. Find you file type and see the software opens it. Usually the path to the software is messed up. Correct it and restart the computer.

I had a problem with .xls files on a single user like double clicking the file and nothing happened. If I opened Excel and did an Open for the file, it worked, but no double clicking.

NOTE: System wide file associations are in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes.

Windows 7: Create new domain profile with the same name as an existing one

Original thread here and original of the original thread here. ^-^

  1. Rename the user’s profile folder to Bob.old
  2. Logged in as an admin, go to Control Panel → User Accounts → Manage User Accounts. Domain accounts show there after an initial login.
  3. Delete the account for Bob
  4. Open regedit and make sure that the user is no longer in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList. Delete it if present, even if it is followed by “.bak”.

Then you can login as bob to recreate the local user profile, then copy your user data into it. “

How to choose a Cloud service

As a technology user, it comes a time when the services you use have grown in numbers, so you may end up with: a Dropbox account, a Gmail account, a Facebook account, an Evernote account, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, even an Apple account (if destiny turn the back on you 🙂 ), forum accounts maybe, and the list goes on. That’s a lot of passwords to remember. Of course you can have the same or similar password for all the apps but may be a serious risk in case of an identity theft. If an account gets hacked, you can lose all your other accounts.

 To solve that you can use:

  1. An app that can manage all your passwords.
  2. An ecosystem of apps and devices, like Google, Windows, Apple etc. The benefits of that approach is that you have a single account for all of your data, platforms, services and the tight integration of all your software between your devices: desktop, laptop, phone, tablet and so on. Eg.: You start an email on your laptop, you go out, reach for your phone, open the email application and boom, your draft is there and you can continue typing.

For what i have seen around internet involving everyday technology users, people split in two main categories with the associated top priorities:

1. Open people – likely to use and ecosystem.

– they are the majority of internet users these days and i’m not talking only about Facebook, Instagram and online games user, i am also talking about power users that really know their way around internet.

– they don’t care too much about privacy or how the service providers use their data. That doesn’t mean they are unaware, simply they want to get the job done fast.

2. Aware people – likely to use decentralised services:

– they care for their online data privacy. Not like they have something to hide, they just don’t want anybody to know their everyday life.

– they don’t want to have all the eggs in one basket. Lots of accounts for different services is better than 1 account to rule them all. If 1 account gets hacked, the others will be pretty much safe.

– they let fractions of their life with each service provider. Facebook will get the family stuff, Dropbox the work files, Evernote the planning, Gmail the emails.

– they don’t put their World Domination plans in the Cloud.

Now, what if you have a Windows desktop, an Apple phone and a Linux laptop?

You will try to use a combination of cloud based ecosystem and cross platform apps to sync the data between devices.

That is, you can access your Google/Microsoft account from any device using a web browser or the corresponding desktop/mobile apps.

So, what i recommend:

– an ecosystem account like Google/Microsoft/Apple, frequently changing the password – Good for speed, integration, getting the job done.

– multiple accounts for different services – Good for privacy, with proper management it will get the job done.

In the end, remember this:

  1. Nothing is free.
  2. Don’t put anything online that you will regret after a security breach.
  3. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want a stranger to get access.
  4. Personal things are not things you put on someone’s pocket. If you do that, be sure it’s someone you trust.
  5. BACKUP data on DVDs or other online services.
  6. SD cards can get epic fail! Don’t think if it’s on your phone that you treat with care it will live forever.
  7. Go outside more! Don’t waste your life in front of a screen for unimportant things.
  8. Have fun!

How to install memtest86+ on a USB flash drive

It comes a time when your computer starts trowing on you some errors, restarts, blue screens of death and the only thing left is to start checking what is causing the problems.

One of the first things you should check is if you have a faulty RAM module.

The best tool for testing memory modules is memtest86+.

Where you can find Memtest:

  • On HirenBootCD.
  • On almost every linux distribution LiveCD.

If you remember the previous tutorial on this site about Puppy Linux on a bootable flash disk drive, the thing is, we don’t have memtest86+, but we can install it on the good old trusty linux on a stick to use memtest on any computer that can boot from USB.

We assume you have the Puppy Linux installed on a USB flash drive and we start from there:

  1. Boot your computer on Puppy from your USB drive.
  2. Go to Menu > System > Grub4Dos bootloader config.
  3. Select your USB drive and press OK.
  4. On the next screen just press OK to install GRUB bootloader (GRUB is menu system that lets you choose the OS/drive/app you want to boot into).
  5. Open a web Browser and go to the Memtest download website.
  6. Download the 3rd link (as of Memtest86+ V5.01 (27/09/2013), the one that points to memtest86+-5.01.bin.gz
  7. On the bottom of your Puppy Linux desktop open the root of your Puppy USB drive (mine is sdf1). Leave this window open.
  8. At the top of the Puppy Linux desktop open the file app (the one with a home icon on a folder).
  9. Press the Downloads folder. Here you will find the downloaded Memtest file.
  10. Right click and Rename. Rename it to memtest.bin.
  11. Now drag the file from step 10 to the window on step 7 to move the memtest.bin file there.
  12. Now, on the location you moved the memtest.bin file (your sdfx location=the root of your USB drive) you can see menu.lst (the menu for the GRUB bootloader).
  13. Open menu.lst and after the entry for Puppy linux, paste this (without the 14.):
  14. # memtest+
    title memtest86+ v5.0.1
    kernel /memtest.bin
    boot
  15. Close the file and reboot Puppy.

 

After rebooting the Puppy Linux USB drive, you will get the GRUB bootloader with some entries:

  • Puppy
  • Memtest
  • Windows (if you have it installed)

All entries shoot boot the appropriate OS/apps but to test our installation select Memtest and wait until it checks your RAM modules. Press ESC when done.

There you have it, you can test the memory on any USB bootable computer in the world.

Have fun and if you have questions, please shoot!