Computer Repair Knowledge Base: How to Remove Windows XP Startup Password and complete Syskey Password Removal.
On a recent service call, found that a scammer had called this client, smooth talked their way into gaining access to their computer using Teamviewer, then, when the individual refused to pay, locked the computer with a Windows XP Syskey password.
What is a Windows XP Startup Password or Syskey Password?
A syskey password appears before Windows loads and provides an additional layer of protection for the operating system. The idea is that it blocks hackers who have physical access to the computer from resetting a user password.
Remove Windows XP Startup Password or Syskey Password Removal – Notes
In my lab, I tested a number of Syskey Password Removal tool. In the process, I discovered that any attempt to remove the Windows XP Startup password once it’s set has side effects. For example, although the user accounts may have blank passwords or passwords that are known, it is not possible to log on to them. Password reset utilities were unable to reset the passwords because the password hash was altered when the syskey password removal was completed. Also, Windows XP activation status changed to deactivated. This is hardly a solution.
Syskey Password Removal Tool – Solution
The only way I’ve found to consistently remove Windows XP startup password is to roll the system state back to a date before the password was set. To do this, you will need a bootable disc that can interact with System Restore. Microsoft makes such a utility available. It’s called ERD Commander and is available as part of the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Tools 5.0. There is a trial version available which should provide time to perform the system restore. (download from brothersoft)
Download, install, and create the bootable cd / dvd. Boot your computer from the disc (this is beyond the scope of this article, but here is a reference).
Remove Windows XP Startup Password – Step by Step
This process for Syskey Password Removal only works if System Restore is active and there is a restore point before the password was set.
- Boot using the ERD Commander Disc. Choose the correct Windows installation and click OK
- Once the operating environment loads, click Start – System Tools – System Restore
- The ERD System Restore Wizard opens, click Next
- Select Roll Back to an existing restore point…, click Next
- On the left calendar, click a date before the password was set. On the right list, select a specific restore point. Click Next.
- In the confirmation dialog, click Next
- Once the System Restore is complete, you will see the following screen, click Finish to reboot the computer.
Windows XP Startup Password Syskey Password Removal – Summary
The above procedure worked in this particular case because there were restore points avialable before the Windows XP Startup Password was set. However, it was still necessary to clean the system to remove the remote control software and repair any damage the unscrupulous scammer had done. The lesson? If you are phoned by anyone claiming to be Microsoft or Microsoft certified, do not continue the call! Seek only qualified local computer repair and laptop repair services.
If you are still having issues with how to Remove Windows XP Startup Password and complete Syskey Password Removal, please contact Jonathan Warner Computer Repair to schedule a service call today!