Dell Dimension 2400
Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.20GHZ
Windows XP Professional
I apologize in advance about the length of this post but I am at my wits end and just want to be thorough. Also, please forgive me if the answer is somewhere here on the website, I have been dealing with this computer for nearly a month and am a little worn out on searching for answers.
The computer is my sister's. She inherited it from her boyfriend's father with no operating system cd except for a Windows XP Professional Upgrade cd(Includes Service pack 1, Version 2002).
The problems began when we attempted to hook it up to the internet. I found the Ethernet Controller on Dell Support and promptly solved that problem.
Then it began missing dll files and her icons were showing up unrecognized and it kept asking if she wanted to search the internet for programs to run applications she had previously ran on a daily basis with no problem. I downloaded a regedit hotifx and fixed that...I have both fixes on my memory stick USB if they are needed.
Then, her cat was running around and jumped down on the power strip, that everything was plugged into, and turned everything off. When she turned it back on nothing happened. I thought nothing of it at first and figured she had forgot to turn on the monitor or something trivial..that was not the case. Upon power up all the bells and whistles would fire up and the Dell loading screen would load and then....BLACK!!! I went home to my computer and did some research.
Finding similar situations I found an article titled "Windows XP crashed? Here's help" by Charlie White. I was fearful that I would have to reinstall Windows so I had her get any cd's her boyfriend's father had. She came back with the upgrade cd mentioned above. This allowed me to get into Recovery Console and follow the instructions in the article. Using the enter key as the password for the administrator, I was able to run some of the commands and others were not allowed or the file destinations were not found. I did more research and was able to run "fixmbr" and "fixboot" and "chkdsk /r /c:". When the computer restarted it loaded the Dell screen and then the Windows XP screen....something we hadn't seen in a very long time on her monitor..I was ecstatic!! Success!!
Then the screen went black, once again
I restarted from the cd and hit "r" to enter the recovery console and when it asked for the administrator pwd I hit enter, like always,(previous owner had never entered a pwd), not recognized!! It gave me three tries and said to hit enter to reboot. I restarted in safe mode and the screen froze at the Mup.sys line and the keyboard went dead and I had to manually turn off the computer. I went back to my working computer to search for the Mup.sys error and was greeted by the same fix as before, so I tried again to use recovery console but it wouldn't take my "enter" as a password so I assumed that there was indeed a pwd so I went back to my computer and began searching for password recovery programs. I found Ophcrack, but when I ran th elive bootable cd I got the message "A Problem occurred while reading the SAM file found in /mnt/hda1/WINDOWS/system32/config/". I thought that I could use the RUN option to edit the registry but only got "Failed to execute child process.....(No such file or directory)", so I tried "NT Offline Password and Registry Editor" but instead of clearing the password when I ran the live bootable cd I got "ERROR: SAM Registry file(which conains user data) is not loaded!" I visited some other forums about NT and Ophcrack and saw that some other users had received the same errors but the problem was never addressed by any moderators or a solution was never offered.
I've taken the cover off and cleaned it. Ive detached all the periperals. Ive run chkdsk using the F command while the Windows XP loading screen is on and everything checks out. I also tried to reset to DELL factory settings using "ctrl, F11" but can't get it to work.
So I guess my questions is 1) Can I fix the SAM file through the Ophcrack RUN option..and if so, what would be the language I would use?...or 2)Can I fix it through the NT Registry Editor...and if so, how? Please there has to be a way to fix this. I am so tired. I have been going in circles with this as the fixes need you to have administrator access and I can't change the password without getting into Windows and I can't get into Windows without changing the SAM file, but I can't change the SAM file without the administrator password, which DOESN"T EXIST!!
Thank you in advance for your swift reply to my post.