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Mother locked herself out of her computer...

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,705
4,378
136
We're in a bind because she keeps her computer running 24 7 but when it restarts she never knows the login to her own windows account uses so she calls me to access her email to reset it. Except, this time, her email password was changed at some point and she has no idea what that is either. (It's all saved to her web browser apparently). And she foolishly never keeps a paper log with any of her passwords either, so it's quite a bind on account of all her life's documents being on the PC. I've tried regaining access to her windows account by submitting her personal information but Microsoft says it's not enough. I tried reseting her email but the pin it asks for that she also did not keep handy is not anything I have. We absolutely need to gain access to the computer again on account of all the files on her hard drive but I'm at a loss as for what to do. Does anyone here have any advice??
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
28,301
5,363
126
I can't help with getting in but after you do get her a Windows hello compatable usb fingerprint scanner. I have one plugged into a usb port on my keyboard and it's the best!
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
23,140
1,384
126
I haven't tried the Windows 10 version, but there are Linux based password reset tools (since Linux isn't bound to protecting files that Windows protects). They have worked quite well for me in the past. You stick it on a USB drive, CD drive, or anything you can boot from, boot it up, follow a few prompts, and enter whatever new password you want.
 

BudAshes

Lifer
Jul 20, 2003
13,190
2,176
136
121
If reset tools don't work, and assuming the drive isn't encrypted, you can always pull the drive and plug it into another computer, copy the files and then reinstall the drive and reinstall Windows 10 on her computer.

https://www.amazon.com/ULXUUUN-Adapter-Compatible-2-5-Inch-Support/dp/B095RQ8T5V/ref=asc_df_B095RQ8T5V/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=524643816709&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6521960467120219099&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1014226&hvtargid=pla-1364686807325&psc=1

That being said I would start with Fritzo's option as this will take time and you will have to re-setup her computer for her.
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,705
4,378
136
Will it retain the autosaved passwords from her browsers? It is absolutely essential to get back into her email as her email is an ancient Juno service and resetting or recovering it is impossible.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
80,271
13,084
126
I know this will draw some scoffs but will a Mac help solve some of your problems?

I have found they are great for keeping dumb users off my neck.
 
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Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
6,728
945
126
It's easy to hack into Windows 7.

Someone threw a computer away. I think used I hiren's or something and submitted whatever it was to a "decode" website and I got the password easy peasy. You do have to be onsite, as the previous poster Fritzo said.

You can try copy and pasting the folders of the browsers on her hard disk to a new install.
 

Sunburn74

Diamond Member
Oct 5, 2009
4,583
1,908
136
We're in a bind because she keeps her computer running 24 7 but when it restarts she never knows the login to her own windows account uses so she calls me to access her email to reset it. Except, this time, her email password was changed at some point and she has no idea what that is either. (It's all saved to her web browser apparently). And she foolishly never keeps a paper log with any of her passwords either, so it's quite a bind on account of all her life's documents being on the PC. I've tried regaining access to her windows account by submitting her personal information but Microsoft says it's not enough. I tried reseting her email but the pin it asks for that she also did not keep handy is not anything I have. We absolutely need to gain access to the computer again on account of all the files on her hard drive but I'm at a loss as for what to do. Does anyone here have any advice??
Can't you pull the harddrive and access the files on another PC like you would any other storage file? You could even put it in a Sata to usb enclosure I would think
 

BudAshes

Lifer
Jul 20, 2003
13,190
2,176
136
121
Well if she uses google chrome, and she synced her data, you can just use another PC with google chrome and sign in.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,241
7,058
126
Would this have even become an issue, if she backed up the PC every day to a NAS? Ransomware is out there, you know.

Edit: Yet another case of "IT roulette". Sad to see.

Assuming that you didn't encrypt the SSD, a Linux boot usb should get you to your (her) files.

And she foolishly never keeps a paper log with any of her passwords either
Because... stationary like a pen and notepad is so very expensive?
 
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shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
80,271
13,084
126
If your mom cant or wont remember her password, you need to make one for her and keep it yourself.
She'll still be calling you twice a day but at least she cant fuck anything up herself.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,241
7,058
126
Or add a second local admin-level account to her computer with a password that you know as a backdoor when she forgets hers.
That would allow access to the files on the PC...what about the browser-based passwords, those would be in the user profile/registry of her username on the PC, and not in the secondary admin username.

Not sure, but I believe NirSoft has a browser-password retrieval software.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
9,755
2,398
136
Will it retain the autosaved passwords from her browsers? It is absolutely essential to get back into her email as her email is an ancient Juno service and resetting or recovering it is impossible.
You can copy every folder the browser is installed upon. If this is Firefox I have done it many times.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
61,125
9,187
126
www.uovalor.com
Hiren's boot CD as mentioned should work.

I would also try to educate her on not relying on auto saved passwords, that is not suppose to be a password manager and there is no easy way to back that up. If trying to deal with a real password manager is too complicated for her I'd even just say to write them down in a small notepad and keep it somewhere safe. It's not ideal, but it beats getting locked out of a bunch of accounts because a browser update cleared the password cache or something.
 
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Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
20,188
3,245
126
Will it retain the autosaved passwords from her browsers? It is absolutely essential to get back into her email as her email is an ancient Juno service and resetting or recovering it is impossible.

It should have no effect provided her passwords are saved in Chrome/Edge .... no promises though sorry.

They may also be accessible on another device via her Google account however you'll be needing her password at minimum. (assuming she even has a Google account!)

If/when you DO get back into that email immediately migrate her over to gmail (or similar) and stay on top of the login yourself!
 
Last edited:

Maxima1

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2013
3,390
670
126
Hiren's boot CD as mentioned should work.

I would also try to educate her on not relying on auto saved passwords, that is not suppose to be a password manager and there is no easy way to back that up.
Huh? It's easy to back up that stuff: 1. sync so it's tied to account 2. have the right files (e.g. firefox key database + logins.json) 3. export in csv format.

If trying to deal with a real password manager is too complicated for her I'd even just say to write them down in a small notepad and keep it somewhere safe. It's not ideal, but it beats getting locked out of a bunch of accounts because a browser update cleared the password cache or something.
She can't even remember login password. Auto-fill is not that big of a risk for the convenience it offers, and standalone password managers have the same issue i.e. they either mimic keystroke or use the clipboard. If there is a keylogger, you are screwed either way.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
6,728
945
126
She should use some form of coded identity of her first uncontrollable lust/crush. No one would ever know who would it be or even what identifying info is being used. ;)
 

PowerEngineer

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2001
3,365
411
126
That would allow access to the files on the PC...what about the browser-based passwords, those would be in the user profile/registry of her username on the PC, and not in the secondary admin username.
True enough. But you can use that secondary admin account to change the password on her account (hopefully to something more memorable).
 
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Maxima1

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2013
3,390
670
126
She should use some form of coded identity of her first uncontrollable lust/crush. No one would ever know who would it be or even what identifying info is being used. ;)
Ugh. That reminded me of those stupid security questions.
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,705
4,378
136
Got her back in. Thank god. I was prepared to start making the flash drive but we were able to recover her juno email account by submitted a picture of her driver's license to billing as an attachment. Apparently she had set up no security questions and her phone data was old and wrong so it was the only option left. After recovering her email we were able to reset her Windows login password. God it's such a relief.

I immediately began updating her facebook/gmail/Windows and Juno account with new security questions and all of her correct phone numbers/address etc while adding my own number and email to everything to ensure I have the power to reset any of her accounts. She's 75 and has no patience for technology so I'm probably going to look into getting that fingerprint sensor and backing everything up to a NAS going forward. Thanks to everybody that chimed in, I think I'll prepare that USB tool now just in case.
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,705
4,378
136
You can get back into it with Hiren tools, but you'll need local access to the PC:


I keep a USB stick with these tools in my work back at all times. Comes in handy a lot!

I started looking into making this and it appears to be designed for recovering a local account. How much harder is it for a tool to acquire a Windows account password?
 

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