Fixing Clobbered MBR -- the real message


N

Norm Dresner

Sorry for hitting the wrong key and posting an incomplete message. Anyway,
the scene is my wife's laptop. Previously I had a WinXP Pro and Linux dual
boot setup. The goal was to remove the Linux installation and reclaim the
desk space for WinXP.

1. Using Norton Partition Magic, I deleted the Linux partitions. So far
everything's okay, machine still boots.

2. Then I used Partition Magic to move the WinXP partition forward on the
disk to where the Linux Partition was so I could later extend it backwards.
OOPS! Having moved windows stuff into the space that Linux occupied, I
overwrote the Linux loader (LILO) and could no longer boot.

I know that I have to restore the MBR to fix the problem.

3. I booted the Windows XP installation CD to the recovery console and
discovered that I had no idea what the administrator password was set to.
I've tried about 15 variants of the passwords we usually use (including
blank) with no success.

QUESTIONS:

I have about a half-dozen computers here ranging from Win98 to Win2K to
WinXP. I have complete access to all of the hardware.

A. Is there any way I could attach the hard disk from laptop to another
computer and reset the MBR that way?

B. Could I attach the hard disk from the laptop to another computer and
"reset" the administrator password that way?

B. Would purchasing a USB floppy and booting a, say, MS-DOS or Win98 (or
better) floppy and running FDISK work?

C. What else is there that I can do?

Thanks in Advance
Norm
 
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S

stephen.belyea

Sorry for hitting the wrong key and posting an incomplete message. Anyway,
the scene is my wife's laptop. Previously I had a WinXP Pro and Linux dual
boot setup. The goal was to remove the Linux installation and reclaim the
desk space for WinXP.

1. Using Norton Partition Magic, I deleted the Linux partitions. So far
everything's okay, machine still boots.

2. Then I used Partition Magic to move the WinXP partition forward on the
disk to where the Linux Partition was so I could later extend it backwards.
OOPS! Having moved windows stuff into the space that Linux occupied, I
overwrote the Linux loader (LILO) and could no longer boot.

I know that I have to restore the MBR to fix the problem.

3. I booted the Windows XP installation CD to the recovery console and
discovered that I had no idea what the administrator password was set to.
I've tried about 15 variants of the passwords we usually use (including
blank) with no success.

QUESTIONS:

I have about a half-dozen computers here ranging from Win98 to Win2K to
WinXP. I have complete access to all of the hardware.

A. Is there any way I could attach the hard disk from laptop to another
computer and reset the MBR that way?

B. Could I attach the hard disk from the laptop to another computer and
"reset" the administrator password that way?

B. Would purchasing a USB floppy and booting a, say, MS-DOS or Win98 (or
better) floppy and running FDISK work?

C. What else is there that I can do?

Thanks in Advance
Norm

I don't think you would be able to pop your laptop drive into another
computer and do it that way for a number of reasons, the largest one
being that laptop drives (2.5") and desktop drives (3.5") are
different ATA standards.

I would recommend burning Ophcrack to a CD and running it. Assuming
you don't have a password longer that 14 characters and never screwed
around with the registry to change the encryption method, Ophcrack
should provide your password for you (although it may not have the
correct capitalization). Link after the break.

http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/
 
N

Norm Dresner

| I don't think you would be able to pop your laptop drive into another
| computer and do it that way for a number of reasons, the largest one
| being that laptop drives (2.5") and desktop drives (3.5") are
| different ATA standards.
|
| I would recommend burning Ophcrack to a CD and running it. Assuming
| you don't have a password longer that 14 characters and never screwed
| around with the registry to change the encryption method, Ophcrack
| should provide your password for you (although it may not have the
| correct capitalization). Link after the break.
|
| http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/

ISTRT there are adapters for connecting laptop (2.5") drives to desktop IDE
(3.5"). There are also USB adapters that will connect "any" IDE drive (2.5"
or 3.5") to a computer via USB. So it's not hopeless.

Also, re: ophcrack -- is this self-booting?

Norm
 
P

Pegasus

See below.

Norm Dresner said:
Sorry for hitting the wrong key and posting an incomplete message.
Anyway,
the scene is my wife's laptop. Previously I had a WinXP Pro and Linux
dual
boot setup. The goal was to remove the Linux installation and reclaim the
desk space for WinXP.

1. Using Norton Partition Magic, I deleted the Linux partitions. So far
everything's okay, machine still boots.

2. Then I used Partition Magic to move the WinXP partition forward on the
disk to where the Linux Partition was so I could later extend it
backwards.
OOPS! Having moved windows stuff into the space that Linux occupied, I
overwrote the Linux loader (LILO) and could no longer boot.

I know that I have to restore the MBR to fix the problem.

3. I booted the Windows XP installation CD to the recovery console and
discovered that I had no idea what the administrator password was set to.
I've tried about 15 variants of the passwords we usually use (including
blank) with no success.

QUESTIONS:

I have about a half-dozen computers here ranging from Win98 to Win2K to
WinXP. I have complete access to all of the hardware.

A. Is there any way I could attach the hard disk from laptop to another
computer and reset the MBR that way?

*** As you observe correctly in your subsequent answer, you can
*** use an adapter to connect your laptop disk to a desktop IDE cable.
*** However, there is no need to: Simply boot the laptop with a Win98
*** boot disk (www.bootdisk.com), then type this command:
*** fdisk /mbr
*** The command is insensitive to the partition type (FAT/NTFS).
B. Could I attach the hard disk from the laptop to another computer and
"reset" the administrator password that way?

*** Again a boot disk will fix this:
*** http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/bootdisk.html
*** It would be an excellent idea to create a second admin account,
*** same as you probably have two sets of keys for your car, for
*** obvious reasons . . .
B. Would purchasing a USB floppy and booting a, say, MS-DOS or Win98 (or
better) floppy and running FDISK work?

*** Great idea, except that DOS won't recognise USB disks.
 
M

Malke

Norm said:
| I don't think you would be able to pop your laptop drive into another
| computer and do it that way for a number of reasons, the largest one
| being that laptop drives (2.5") and desktop drives (3.5") are
| different ATA standards.
|
| I would recommend burning Ophcrack to a CD and running it. Assuming
| you don't have a password longer that 14 characters and never screwed
| around with the registry to change the encryption method, Ophcrack
| should provide your password for you (although it may not have the
| correct capitalization). Link after the break.
|
| http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/

ISTRT there are adapters for connecting laptop (2.5") drives to desktop IDE
(3.5"). There are also USB adapters that will connect "any" IDE drive (2.5"
or 3.5") to a computer via USB. So it's not hopeless.

Also, re: ophcrack -- is this self-booting?

You can get Ophcrack on a bootable live cd, but I think it is much
easier to use NTpasswd. Download the .iso, burn it to cd (need
third-party software to do this), and boot with it. Follow the
instructions and change the administrator password to a blank.

http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/


Malke
 
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N

Norm Dresner

|
| You can get Ophcrack on a bootable live cd, but I think it is much
| easier to use NTpasswd. Download the .iso, burn it to cd (need
| third-party software to do this), and boot with it. Follow the
| instructions and change the administrator password to a blank.
|
| http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/
|

With one minor glitch, ntpasswd worked beautifully. I first tried to set
the password to a string we conventionally use and that failed but retrying
it to set it to blank worked perfectly.

Thanks to all who responded.

Norm
 
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