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"Windows Password-Reset" screen prevents booting into the OS or safe mode


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#1 Santini

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 08:30 PM

A family member has come to me requesting help with a computer problem. Unfortunately, as she lives a few states away, I can't just pop in there to help.

As of a few days ago, whenever she tries booting up her Windows Vista PC (an off-the-shelf HP desktop), she is greeted with the following screen:

Posted Image

If the image doesn't show, it's a screen that shows an icon of a padlock, the words/logo "Windows Password-Reset", and a box that says:

"Choose the user

Choose the user whose
password you want to reset:

Administrator
Guest
My Relative's Username

Ok
Reboot"

I was told that her account/username doesn't have a password, and that if she clicks on "Ok" she's prompted for some sort of authorization key. Choosing to reboot takes her back to that screen and she's not able to get to the OS.

I tried directing her to get into safe mode via the F8 key, but she claims she can't; this screen pops up immediately as soon as she resets the computer or turns it on.

Any ideas of what to do and where to start with this one?

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Santini, 02 January 2012 - 10:20 PM.


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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 08:48 PM

What happened prior to this?

#3 Santini

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:00 PM

What happened prior to this?


She didn't provide any specifics apart from using the machine as normal to surf the web. From her description, everything seemed to be working fine (she could boot into the OS, web surf, listen to music, etc.) until she turned her computer on a few days ago.

She has both Firefox and IE installed (her OS is Vista SP2), though she did say she prefers to use IE. I don't believe she has any sort of adblocking add-ons installed with either browser, just the typical default installs for both.

If she clicked on a bad link or pop-up, she didn't say or remember. This is my guess as to how this happened, though it's only a guess.

I'll try to get more details out of her when I speak to her again, but this is the information I currently have.

#4 cryptodan

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:01 PM

Get more information, because certainly reeks of malware taking your computer hostage.




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