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I was given a VPC file which belonged to an employee who left our company. The VPC has important code and data. Anyways, I started up the instance in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, but can't logon because we don't know any user names or passwords for the machine. How can I reset the Administrator password on the virtual machine?

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Looks like you have a couple of solutions. Probably going forward you shouldn't let employees store important files inside virtual PC images. –  Jack B Nimble Jun 11 '09 at 18:04

7 Answers 7

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The same way you would reset the passwords for a physical Windows machine. My preference is Offline NT Password and Registry Editor. It will let you change or reset any of the local passwords on the system.

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Yes, but we don't have any passwords for the machine. –  Jeff Bloom Jun 11 '09 at 18:07
    
So long as you can boot the machine from a cd/floppy (which should be doable within VirtualPC), you can use the NT Offline Password Editor to either set a known password or reset the password to blank. You don't need to know any of the passwords. –  Brian De Smet Jun 11 '09 at 18:11
    
Thanks, I will investigate how to boot a virtual machine from a CD. –  Jeff Bloom Jun 11 '09 at 18:23
    
The way I booted from the iso (cd) image was to go to Tools>Settings>DVD Drive and open the iso. Then, while it was restarting, mash the F8-F12 keys until I got to the BIOS, and looked around for the boot order options, and put the CD first. When I was done following the walkthrough, I pointed the DVD drive back to None. –  Nate Parsons Feb 19 '11 at 4:27
    
+1 Thank you! "Offline NT Password and Registry Editor" worked out of the box. –  kol Mar 26 '13 at 8:15

If all you're trying to do is recover the data then why not just open the .vhd disk file? No muss, no fuss. Plenty of tools out there can open these for you.

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You'll need a password recovery disk. Then change the drive used by the VPC to be the physical CD drive on the machine. Then choose to boot from the CD drive when the VPC boots up.

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Not a VPC problem so much as a Windows one... The following article from Daniel Petri will help with a lost/forgotten administrator password: http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password.htm

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So can you use a "boot CD" to a virtual machine? –  Jeff Bloom Jun 11 '09 at 18:08
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Yes, no problem - you can even use an iso of the boot CD instead of physical media, if you like –  Brent Jun 11 '09 at 18:49

I used Hirens Boot CD. The second utility on that worked fine. I found all the other utilities and boot CD's I tried to use, wouldn't work, as when they started booting into Linux there was a Kernel Panic. Now I don't know which version of the Linux Kernel they were using but I tried three different ones to no avail. Thankfully this second utility on the Hiren Boot CD does not need Linux and thus it was plain straight forward. If this worked for you - let me know.

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Ophcrack is worth taking a look at. I've had plenty of luck with it and has saved me numerous times. Assuming your password isn't too obscene, it's perfect for when you want to retrieve the password, rather than change it. Can be run from a live CD.

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I assume you have the vhd files and need to get to the data on it. So rather than starting the OS in it, just access the data in the file.

You could use Windows 7, which apparently supports mounting of VHDs, for now I am using a tool called WinImage, you just open the vhd file and then have read-only access to it and can copy all the data you need.

the tool can be downloaded at http://www.winimage.com

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protected by splattne Aug 2 '10 at 21:34

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