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Recovering or replacing unkown passwords for widows O/S

\015 I have a Compaq Armada 7400 Notebook PC 6433/T14/10.0/V/M/3. The problem I am experiencing is the lack of a password(s) to log onto the machine. I am only able to log on as a guest, which means I am unable to install new software. I suspect that this thing has been reformatted sometime during its history, because the F10 key during boot up will not open the bios. I have discovered from research that the compaq manufacturers have placed them in a partition somewhere and reformatting causes a loss of access to the hidden location, the other evidence is that the operating system is Windows XP and the compaq website states the operating system installed upon manufacture was Windows NT. I did however find a program that is supposed to help. It came in the form of a bootable disc, but I cannot get into the bios to tell the machine to boot from the disc. (How similar is that to chasing one's tail?)I have also discovered that the passwords are contained in a file called SAM located on the c drive in the windows system 32 folder in the sub-folder config. The problem with this solution is windows won't let me write over the file while the laptop is turned on. I am wondering if there is a way to make a .bat file that will copy a file from a given folder on the hard drive and write over the existing SAM file early in the start up procedure? If not is it possible to remove the laptop's hard drive and slave it to my pc and replace the file that way? I am also open to any other suggestions that will put this problem behind me. All ideas that may be offered are sincerely appreciated.Thank You.\015

Answers :

Bios are not exclusively accessed by F10, try F8
If you do not have access to the administrator account or the bios then then you definitely have problems.
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\015\012First thing to try is get hold of the person you got it from and get both bios and windows passwords. If you can't then you are going to spend a lot of time and money to fix this.
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\015\012The bios password can be cleared but you will need to take proof of ownership with you and get a Compaq tech to clear it. The way to clear bios passwords is not given out due to concerns about theft. You will need to get this done before you can fix windows as you will need to boot from a cd or usb. You can find instructions on the net but the majority are wrong or for the wrong model.
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\015\012Most windows password cracker programs tend to be nothing more than a virus or Trojan but there are some that might work if you give them enough time. It can take up to a couple of weeks (and more) of the program running to figure out the passwords. Your best bet is to save off all of your document and favorites, and so on and then reinstall windows. If you install to a different directory you can just import your personal stuff back in. To reinstall windows or even the password program you will need to be able to boot from the cd so the bios has to be reset.
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