Can't Logon to Windows XP in Safe Mode

By seighmand ยท 14 replies
Aug 27, 2005
  1. Trying to eliminate a hijack by running some programs in safe mode, I set XP to safeboot (minimal) using the msconfig program. Now it will ONLY start in safemode and I can't logon using my normal username and password. I tried starting in safe mode with network - but still can't login. This is a network computer and I can logon to all other network computers using the same username and password. Can anyone help me?? Thanks.
  2. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    use the username 'administrator' in safe mode. you may have to get a password. is the machine in question on a domain by any chance?
  3. seighmand

    seighmand TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have tried the administrator user with our network password and with a blank password without success. The start up will NOT change to anything but the safemode - so I think it is not connecting at all with our network and therefore the usernames and password are not valid. I can not change the sign on page to reflect a change in domain either. Any other suggestions?
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Check the network cable on both ends. Is the green light lit up on the network-card?
  5. seighmand

    seighmand TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes it is. I also tried it at different network connections (that are working properly) throughout our office without success.
  6. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    a viable solution would be to access the harddrive (boot to another media), and remove the "/safeboot:minimal" command from the boot.ini file.
  7. seighmand

    seighmand TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can not get to a C: prompt or anything else but the logon in safemode - which does not recognize any passwords because I think it does not go into the network at all. I've tried using F8 at start up to change to other starts but it still goes into safe mode. Can I get to another media?? How do I do this? Thanks.
  8. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    First off, the "administrator" user account is a local account and should not be validating user/pass over the network. If you absolutely cannot find or guess this password, then zephead's solution is next easiest. Edit the boot.ini file. You'll have to pull the HDD out and slave it up to another NTFS PC to edit it. As you don't have root access in Recovery Console.

    Another, much more drastic solution, is to use this particular Linux-based boot disk to reset the Administrator password to blank. I have had 100% success using it, however there are some issues. If you reset the password, the user loses his security key, or whatever it's called. Which means any files that were encrypted with that user account will not be accessible without having the original key. But if you think that no users use that account or encrypt or "hide" files with it, it should work. You can read about it (and download it) at

    The boot.ini edit is your best bet. Or figure out the password!

    good luck
  9. seighmand

    seighmand TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here is what I don't understand. The users/passwords (from the network) I have been using all along are no longer valid. The administrator user/password I have used all along is no longer valid. Is this because the administrator password belongs to the network? Is there a different administrator password for my particular computer, even though it was pre-loaded with Windows? I called IBM, who originally loaded the software, but they were not any help. Does this information help any?
  10. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    If you have used the same user/pass and now they don't work, chances are good you've been hacked, or hit with some kind of virus.

    The user names and passwords don't/won't validate over the network UNLESS you are on a Domain. This is easy to tell because on startup you'll have the 3 boxes for user/pass/domain.
    To log in locally, you'll have to choose your local PC name from the Domain drop down box. Or type it in directly.

    Even regardless of that, if you ARE on a Domain, XP caches user/pass for a certain number of days. So even if it's offline, you should still be able to log in.

    Also keep in mind there is a different between THE administrator account, and others. The actual "real" Administrator account can only be logged in from Safe Mode, otherwise you don't normally see it or can use it.

    It really sounds like you may have been hacked or some such. And we probably need a clearer understanding of your network. Is it a Domain? What do you mean "using from the network"?
    All we are interrested in is logging in locally with any administrative account. The network matters not at all, unless you have a Domain. In which case you need to tell it NOT to log in to Domain, but log on to local pc.
  11. seighmand

    seighmand TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think I understand what you are saying AND I need to explain myself better. The user/passwords and the administrator/password I have been refering to is our company issued logon for our network and NOT for my computer as it's own entity (refering to as local). My computer is on the company domain but I don't have an option to choose a domain from the way it now boots. So, I think what you are saying is, I have to track down the person who set this computer up on our network and see if they recorded the original local administrator password before assigning network passwords. Am I understanding or still off? And do you need better information from me?
  12. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    do a search on internet for password removal software
    its free don't remember who the guy was the wrote it or I would give him credit.
    put this on floppy and it will lead you through removing all password sam files from pc
    this has got me out of a lot of jams.
    now I hope thats the protect you are referring to not on boot password setup in bios.
  13. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Yes, Samstoned, the best password recovery I already posted the link.
    It's a bit technical, and if there is file encryption, those files will be lost.

    Seighmand, there HAS to be at least one LOCAL user account, that has nothing to do with the network or domain or whatever. BUT you can't use it if the PC doesn't give you the option to log in locally with the "3rd" box I was talking about. And from the sounds of it, it isn't giving you that option. Which comes down to policy issues and NOT just a missing password.

    Besides all of this; the PC being part of this domain network of your "company's", where is the Domain admin at? Cause really he can just get into the domain and change your password. And if you can't get out of Safe Mode booting, edit the boot.ini file.
    If you can't edit the file, try pressing F8 on startup before Windows loads so you can get the startup menu. If it comes up, is Normal Mode one of the options?

    There is also a special way you can log in to your local PC by putting your computer name in the user name box itself. I forget the name of this syntax. But for example you can log in with "computername//username" or maybe it's "username@computername". Something like that. You can specify the system to log in to from within the login box itself. That is, if you know your computer name.
  14. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    doesn't your company have a technician? an unexperienced person messing with a business network can prove very costly. but it's your call, i just don't want you having a really bad day.
  15. OMRomero

    OMRomero TS Rookie

    Sorry to bring up such an old thread but I am experiencing a similar problem on my desktop. I set my computer to boot into safemode using msconfig and now I am unable to get into my computer. I believe zephead stated what I would need to do (access boot.ini outside of windows xp). How can I go about doing this?
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