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!

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.

 

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 ūüôā ), 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!

Google Keep as an alternative to Evernote

As our busy lives unfold day by day we are bombarded with new and fast information, there is a huge amount of things to be done, to remember, to solve. Keeping all in your head is not second nature for all of us so we have two options:

  1. Keeping a physical notebook.

Pros: – It’s more natural – writing with pencil on paper feels great. Although in 10 years from now writing on an electronic device will be natural. – It’s faster and accurate – i bet that you can write and draw better than on a screen. – it can be found and read (not password protected), long after you die, when your grandkids find your notebook in the attic, in a big box covered with dust. ūüôā Cons: – can’t set reminders – although using an agenda you can write new events on their specific dates and check the agenda regulary. – if you lose your notebook, all your planning is gone with the wind.

  1. Using technology.

Pros: – efficiency – use only one device¬†to write, draw, take pictures, set reminders, record sounds etc. – syncing – your data can be kept in the cloud and can be accessed anywere, on any devices that can connect to the internet. Cons: – if you lose your password or get hacked you can lose all your data. ~~~~~ We’re in 2016, everybody have a smartphone so using¬†one for note taking/planning it’s the most obvious way. I think the best and most complete¬†note taking/planning service is Evernote. I will not make a review for Evernote but the bottom line is the Evernote app, the online service, the desktop app are very intuitive and very powerful. But, as i never used high end devices a hundred pound Gorilla like Evernote can run seriously slow, so i searched for an alternative. The most obvious choice was Google’s note taking app Google Keep. It’s simple, intuitive and very fast. Now, you have to move/copy the Evernote data to Keep but the bad thing is that as for this day, Google Keep can’t import any data. So if¬†you have 2000 notes, you are pretty busy for the next 3 weeks. For a reasonable number of notes you can just copy/paste from Evernote to Keep. NOTE: One important thing is that the newly created/pasted notes in Keep will be at the top.¬†So start to create notes from the least used/important up. With all above said, maybe you managed to end up with important and frequently updated notes at the bottom of the list. DON’T WORRY!!! Tap and hold on a note and from the menu above choose Properties (the 3 vertical dots) and Make a copy. Now you can see that a copy of the note¬†in the depths of hell is now on top of your notes list. Now you can delete the bottom one. NOTE: You cannot select multiple notes and Make a copy! Google is such a step by step company. ^-^ This is not a VS debate, so please test both apps and see what app/service suit your needs. Have fun! ^-^

Grub rescue > and how to recover your boot menu and make changes permanently

A few days ago, after resizing some partitions on my hard-drive i did a restart and boom, no boot menu and i got this message:

unknown filesystem.

grub rescue>

What happened until now:

– i have 1 hard disk with dual boot setup with GRUB (linux boot menu) with Debian Linux and Windows.

Рthe Windows part has 2 partitions: C:\ with the system (bootable) and D:\with stuff.

– the Linux part have 3 partitions: root (/) (also bootable), home (/home) and swap.

Рi shrinked with gParted the D: partition and grow the root and home partition on Linux.

Рrestart and ran into the grub rescue> problem above. What happened was that when resizing the root partition i screwed up the boot part.

The solution is basicaly¬†to identify your linux bootable root partition and update the GRUB with the correct settings so that at the next boot, GRUB to be able to “read” all bootable partitions in your hard drive.

1. Make sure what is your Linux bootable root (/) partition. To do that, make sure you have the Debian Live DVD and boot into this DVD.

2. Go and try the Live image. Wait to load.

3. Open a Terminal.

4. At the prompt, type (the sudo -s won’t require a password):

sudo -s

fdisk -l

What i get was all the partitions and the bootable ones marked with *. I get something like:

Drive¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Bootable¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Type¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Mount¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Size¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Etc……

/dev/sda1     *                 ntfs

/dev/sda2                        ntfs

/dev/sda3¬†¬† ………… blah¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† blah

/dev/sda4                        ext4          /home

/dev/sda5                        swap

/dev/sda6    *                  ext4          /

5. So the Linux root bootable partition will be /dev/sda6. TRY TO UNDERSTAND THIS: so it’s on the first drive (sda) and on the 6th partition (sda6). At point 7. you will understand.

6. Restart and take the Debian/Ubuntu Live DVD out.

7. Back at the grub rescue> you should type each line followed by [Enter]:

grub rescue>set boot=(hd0,msdos6)

grub rescue>set prefix=(hd0,msdos6)/boot/grub

grub rescue>insmod normal

grub rescue>normal

8. You are back at the lost boot menu. ^-^. Boot into Linux.

Back on track, but if you restart the computer, you will be back to the grub rescue> problem. So to make the changes to GRUB that will be permanent, we should reinstall GRUB on the hard drive and update the GRUB menu:

9. Open a Terminal and type (Now for every sudo command you should enter your user password):

sudo grub-install /dev/sda

sudo update-grub

10. That’s it! Your changes to the boot menu ar permanent.

NOTE: If Windows won’t boot, use a Windows installer DVD and do a Stratup Repair.

Have fun! ^-^

The story of Nokia MeeGo by TaskuMuro

MeeGo Handset Launcher from MeeGo 1.1 ‚ÄúDay 1‚ÄĚ

MeeGo Handset Launcher from MeeGo 1.1 ‚ÄúDay 1‚ÄĚ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A very interesting read about Nokia’s MeeGo

Here is the article and no further comments.

I just love Nokia but i’m not happy with Windows Phone on their devices….i know they are!