TechSpot

Recovering files from XP Guest account

By chammy
Jan 22, 2012
Post New Reply
  1. This new work place I am at gave me a computer with Windows XP. Since the old guy forgot to give them the password before he left, I could only use the Guest account on my first day. I saved my 5 hours of intense work in a huge zip file and uploaded it to bitshare.com for downloading from home. Some stupid mess up on bitshare's side says the file does not exist any more! Here are my questions:

    1. In Windows XP, are all Guest account's files deleted when the Guest logs off? Or does this happen when the Guest (or Admin) logs in again? One webpage page hints that the data actually is deleted only when the Guest logs in again and can be recovered by logging in as an admin.

    2. Going through Safe Mode let me log in using an account named "Administrator" without any password on a few XP computers earlier. Is this option available on all computers? If there can be a password for it, how can I reset it so that I can back up my data or use recovery tools?

    3. Are there any alternate methods other than those mentioned above or using live CDs to recover my data?

    Folks here seem very knowledgeable and I hope to get a solution for my problem before I go to work on Monday.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,406   +314

    Only on systems where the user is careless,
    eg: on my system(s), that's the first backdoor I close by adding a password
    (and even disabling Guest login).

    Try explaining your problem to the site Admin and giving him/her the name of the file to be recovered.
    Using the Admin login, they can get to it and move it to some other location, eg :Shared Documents which usually is found at
    \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents
  3. chammy

    chammy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I hope the guy was careless. I wouldn't want to wait for the system admin because I have a deadline. If there is a password, my best bet would be a boot CD that helps me get in or remove password. Do you know if the Guest files would be deleted each time a Guest logs off or logs in in XP? I know it happens in Windows 7 (I think when the Guest logs in again)
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,406   +314

    No, I have no idea of when the files are deleted.

    BTW: If this were my company and I caught you booting non-windows and deleting passwords, I would fire you on the spot. This is unethical and unprofessional behavior.
    You best learn to play well with others and not mess up systems which are not yours.
  5. chammy

    chammy TS Rookie Topic Starter


    You are so right. I got too carried away by the problem and the approaching deadline. I better take my boss' permission before I use any of my creativity! Network admins are on a totally different building and I heard they almost never come on the same day of complaint :(
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,406   +314

    Yea, the help desk frequently is less than helpful.

    I'm please to see your response - -

    "Go in peace and prosper" :)
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,406   +314

    Experiment: Test conditions for deleting Guest user files

    Summary: Files created by a user on the GUEST account of XP/Pro SP2 never get deleted.

    Setup:
    Enable the Guest account and log in.
    Create one well named file in the My Documents\ folder
    (\Documents & Settings\Guest\My Documents\)
    log off

    Now evaluate conditions of if/when the file gets deleted.

    Using the Admin Account, the well named file still exists; ergo: files not deleted upon logoff

    Log on to the Guest Account, open My Documents
    well named file still exists

    Conclusion: For systems using WorkGroups at least, the files created from
    one Guess session to another persist.

    If there is an exposure for deleting said Guest files, it is implemented by some
    script from the Domain Controller
    OR installed by an Admin (say at a hotel with a common-use system in the lobby).
  8. chammy

    chammy TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Good info! You are right. I discovered that myself before I saw this message. I went to Safe Mode first through default Admin account and backed up my file. Then I got in as Guest and it was still there! This thread should relieve the tension for others who still use XP and run into this situation.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.