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Thread: OK, babies, time to rally round to help out Ancient Maxx with Windows 10

  1. #1

    Default OK, babies, time to rally round to help out Ancient Maxx with Windows 10

    If I'm Ol' Maxx, that makes my dad Ancient Maxx, right?

    Here's the setup:

    Windows 10, HP All-in-One, forgotten or lost password.

    Constraints:

    Although Ancient Maxx is, if anything, more anal and by the book than Ol' Maxx, in the last couple months he has developed some memory issues. Not looking for medical advice. He has shoes older than Christ so shit happens.

    Since he can't trust his memory, my sister (who lives with him, and is completely illiterate as far as anything electronic goes, but can probably still bench press more than any of us...) is trying to get into the computer so they can make sure bills are getting paid and communists aren't stealing their life savings.

    The <politically incorrect term, if there is one, for people who are likely gay, ethnic, possibly illegal, ne'er-do-wells in Florida> employees at the Microsoft store at the mall where the computer was bought are less than helpful without what she is calling Microsoft ID and password.

    I've set her to searching for the Product ID for Windows...theoretically on a stick or Certificate of Authenticity. I have mine stashed, and know he wouldn't have pitched something like that. Looking through my own system, I'm finding a reference to something known as a Microsoft Account... which I'm pretty sure I bypassed making one since it looked like a plot by Microsoft to steal my life. If I bypassed it, its pretty likely my dad did as well.

    The mission:

    Ideally, get into the system, hopefully without buying an airline ticket or erasing whatever personal files are on his machine.

    If I can't save the files and have to nuke it, what numbers/details/processes will I need to follow to get that done? I've seen mention of a system reset option at the sign-in prompt.... do I still need product ID to make that work?

    I know the ultimate nuclear option is to ante up for a new copy of Windows and re-install, but I'd rather avoid that. Linux is not an option. He is, or was, a very smart guy, but that would really be a bridge too far unless I went down there and moved in.

    As always, if you are caught or captured, etc, etc.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    If I can't save the files and have to nuke it, what numbers/details/processes will I need to follow to get that done? I've seen mention of a system reset option at the sign-in prompt.... do I still need product ID to make that work?

    As always, if you are caught or captured, etc, etc.
    Generally a hammer will work in a case like that, data destruction is just wiping ones and zeros the drive a certain amount of times. Physical destruction of the drive will render the drive irrecoverable even by government agencies lol.

    Microsoft ID and password. would most likely be your Microsoft account. for example [email protected]


    Once activated the product ID / Activation is actually tied to the hardware, digitally in the case of custom built computers, or physically in the case of OEM computers, from memory I think it's actually stored in the bios or firmware.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJess View Post
    Microsoft ID and password. would most likely be your Microsoft account.
    Figured that out, also pretty sure I neglected to set one up on my machine. If dad did, baby sis hasn't found it yet in the paper files. (yes, the same baby sis whose diapers and plastic pants I purloined and enjoyed back in the day.)




    Once activated the product ID / Activation is actually tied to the hardware, digitally in the case of custom built computers, or physically in the case of OEM computers, from memory I think it's actually stored in the bios or firmware.
    Didn't see anything like that in the bios of my machine. Of course it might be in a place I can't access.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    Figured that out, also pretty sure I neglected to set one up on my machine. If dad did, baby sis hasn't found it yet in the paper files. (yes, the same baby sis whose diapers and plastic pants I purloined and enjoyed back in the day.)


    Didn't see anything like that in the bios of my machine. Of course it might be in a place I can't access.
    You can't access it via the bios :P you have to download special software that tells you the product key.

    That and with windows 10 it automatically activates even if you wipe It off the device completely, with my computer I do a fresh install it automatically activates, same with my laptop.

    but if your uber paranoid you can download some software that'll tell you your product key.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJess View Post
    You can't access it via the bios :P you have to download special software that tells you the product key.

    That and with windows 10 it automatically activates even if you wipe It off the device completely, with my computer I do a fresh install it automatically activates
    , same with my laptop.

    but if your uber paranoid you can download some software that'll tell you your product key.
    That's actually helpful. I know what mine is, and it's viewable in the system info. The issue is my dad's, with my sister unable to get past the sign in screen for lack of password. I understand that there's a way to reset the machine from that point via the shut down restart button (holding shift down while clicking restart?). My understanding is also that that takes you to a fresh install, wiping out user data. I'd prefer not to do that, as I don't know what or how much data he has on there, or if any is critical or irreplaceable, but if that's how it is.... <shrug>

  6. #6

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    Boot from an external drive and do a backup of the system. I use Marcium Reflect. Then do a reset or clean install of Windows 10 and then restore all the data files.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    That's actually helpful. I know what mine is, and it's viewable in the system info. The issue is my dad's, with my sister unable to get past the sign in screen for lack of password. I understand that there's a way to reset the machine from that point via the shut down restart button (holding shift down while clicking restart?). My understanding is also that that takes you to a fresh install, wiping out user data. I'd prefer not to do that, as I don't know what or how much data he has on there, or if any is critical or irreplaceable, but if that's how it is.... <shrug>
    I've cracked Windows 9x, XP and 7 passwords before, but that always involved creating a special CD and booting from that. Not something I'd want to explain to someone non-techie to try remotely. :-/

    In Windows 10, you can either create local usernames (just like with previous Windows versions) or you can sign on with a Microsoft ID. Doing the latter means that your local account is associated with an online identity that stores (and can reset) user passwords. I think there should be some kind of option to reset the password by email a reset link to the email address associated with the MS ID used to log in to Windows.

    Otherwise, this should help (tricky to do remotely, though):
    https://www.howtogeek.com/222262/how-to-reset-your-forgotten-password-in-windows-10/

    Or this:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/29885...-try-this.html

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    I've cracked Windows 9x, XP and 7 passwords before, but that always involved creating a special CD and booting from that. Not something I'd want to explain to someone non-techie to try remotely. :-/

    In Windows 10, you can either create local usernames (just like with previous Windows versions) or you can sign on with a Microsoft ID. Doing the latter means that your local account is associated with an online identity that stores (and can reset) user passwords. I think there should be some kind of option to reset the password by email a reset link to the email address associated with the MS ID used to log in to Windows.

    Otherwise, this should help (tricky to do remotely, though):
    https://www.howtogeek.com/222262/how...in-windows-10/


    Or this:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/29885...-try-this.html
    Appreciate the thorough answer. I'm going to walk through the boldface solution on my machine, to see if I think I can make it work through someone else's fingers. Be assured that I have two complete and current data back ups in case I eff up. One on an external drive, and one on my backup ubuntu machine.

    I don't think dad created a microsoft account. I didn't when I got my windows 10 box because it looked like they wanted to know too much and control too much. His thought processes are enough like mine that I expect he'd have passed as well. If he did create one, he doesn't recall it, or any associated password. e-mail reset is a related problem, as my sister can't find any written record of e-mail password or microsoft id. I expect there's a notebook somewhere with that stuff in it, but finding it is complicated by the fact that she might not recognize it if she's looking right at it.

    Similarly, I don't think he created an emergency boot disk either. He does recall that he thinks he got a virus before this went down, so I'm not !00% sure there will be recoverable data even if I do get in.

    <sigh> I'm trying to at least stall if not avoid the expense of a plane trip, etc, but that's starting to look inevitable at this point. Not necessarily to fix a computer, but to make sure everything else is getting handled. Baby sis is certainly competent (for things other than computers...) , but is going to need some support and/or relief soon. Bills and finances haven't had a chance to go south yet, so that's good. I'm just not looking forward to the inevitable.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Quote Originally Posted by ORBaby View Post
    Boot from an external drive and do a backup of the system. I use Marcium Reflect. Then do a reset or clean install of Windows 10 and then restore all the data files.
    I'm going to have a look at this as well.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    He does recall that he thinks he got a virus before this went down, so I'm not !00% sure there will be recoverable data even if I do get in.
    If you suspect a virus, I wouldn't even try to boot Windows. If you create a bootable antivirus CD/DVD on another PC, and use that to boot the infected machine, it means that your PC isn't trying to automatically run infected files, so the virus is easier to eradicate. Perhaps you could create a bootable CD/DVD for your father and post it to him?

    Avast Antivirus has a feature that allows you to create a "Rescue Disc". But (I think) you need to install Avast Antivirus to get the option to create the Rescue Disc. If you're using a different antivirus, you could temporarily install Avast just to create the rescue disc, then go back to whatever you were using...?

    https://www.avast.com/faq.php?article=AVKB114

    Alternatively, you could just download and burn the BitDefender antivirus image.

    https://www.bitdefender.com/support/...ue-cd-627.html

  10. #10

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    A bit of an update: Thanks to all of you who chimed in with suggestions and help. We're not totally recovered yet, but the bills are getting paid and the finances secured. Perhaps the greatest positive factor was baby sister who knows what she doesn't know and was willing to listen and try to do the deeds remotely. And Ancient Maxx for realizing that he's got an issue, and having the restraint to sit back and let me and sis do our best without interference. For hours. On the phone. I know you've all dealt with people who know a little, but don't know its only a little.

    I'll probably still have to get on a plane before the summer's over, but at least it's not an emergency.

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