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  #1  
03-25-2010, 08:47 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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continued from email...
Remember to ask all tech questions in the forum! Thanks.

Quote:
ls,

you may know the answer to this issue.

friend of mine is sharing a XP PC with his mate.
lets call my friend John.
and his mate Adam.

so on the normal XP logon screen, John logs in as normal with his user
id and password.
Adam logs in with his user id and password.

what John wants to do is get access to Adam's "account" and see if he
has any files that relate to himself (John).
and then either make copies on an external hard drive.

so, can this be done?
would John need specialist software?

any ideas?

cheers
All ethics aside....

All you're dealing with here is Windows weenie weak password and profile/user system. It's highly unlikely that the data has been encrypted, so sidestepping this "protection" is simply a matter of accessing the hard drive in alternative ways.

One of the easiest methods is to use a boot disc for another operating system, such as Linux, which bypasses Windows. Then you can look at the contents of the hard drive. You can use any number of "live CDs" or "live discs" -- there are even thumb drive versions, if the computer can boot from a thumb drive. Search Google for these, I have no specific suggestion for you. Ubuntu may be one of the easier ones to use, but Linux is Linux, more or less. There are even some BartPE-type (minimal type Windows OS), that can sometimes access the hard drives for file browsing -- but no way to really view files like you can on a Linux OS.

The only limitation of booting into another OS is whether the BIOS is set to boot from optical/thumb before HDD (hard drive). And if it's not, whether you're able to enter the BIOS and change the boot order. Sometimes a BIOS has a password -- but usually not! (Most people suck a security, and computers almost NEVER come with a BIOS password pre-enabled.)

If you're able to take the machine apart, then simply get one of those cheap $20 (10 quid?) IDE/SATA>USB2 adapters, and convert the drive to a USB drive, and then look at it on another computer.

It's not idiot-friendly, but it doesn't take a second E.E. degree or NASA software, either.

... again, all ethics aside.


This is why all of my systems have BIOS password, encrypted file systems, user password -- and why the most sensitive data is inside double-encrypted VMs. If you can get through all that, then I guess you're smart enough to deserve the data.

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  #2  
03-25-2010, 08:50 PM
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From second email, similar topic...

Quote:
ls,

do you know how to get the admin password on a windows 7 machine?

i've googled around, but simply cannot find the answer.

i see password RESETing. but i can't seem to find RETRIEVAL of password.

any ideas?

furthermore... if i physically remove the HD from the laptop, and then connect it to another machine as a secondary HD or an external HD, would i be able to see all the files on the HD?

or will all the files under each profile be completely hidden / locked due to windows 7 security mechanisms?

any ideas?
I think most of this was answered in the first post.

Trying to acquire the admin password is probably documented at the MS knowledge base -- for those dumb people that lock themselves out of their own computer. Reset is probably the only option, to be honest, for the obvious reasons.

Removing the drive is the key, unless the OS has encrypted the file system (HIGHLY UNLIKELY!)

Don't do anything stupid with this information, okay?

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  #3  
03-26-2010, 01:10 PM
manthing manthing is offline
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gotcha.

and yes, i have done the "attach HD via sata->usb thingy" method and got all the data from different profiles on a XP system before.

so, as you replied, it is similar for W7.

i will advise my friend and take things from there.

thanks a lot.
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  #4  
03-26-2010, 02:02 PM
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Win7 is like Win Vista, as far as I know -- the documents are under the Users folder, instead of the hierarchy you're used to in Windows XP (Documents and Settings). Windows is getting more like Linux all the time. I would imagine that someday, this won't work very easily, as security becomes more and more of a concern for your average consumer.

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