What would you all suggest as a solution to my forgotten password problem? Please read..

I fix computers on the side and I have a client that brought me a laptop that they forgot the password to. I tried my boot-disks (ubcd, hirens, nt offline password reset) but the computer's cd-rom won't boot from any cd. option 1 - bootable cd not gonna work.
the computer does not support booting to usb : ( sheesh!
i even tried an old-school external usb cd-rom drive, no luck.
i pulled the hard drive out and slaved it into my computer and was able to browse it's contents. I was going to overwrite the sethc.exe with cmd.exe as suggested elsewhere, but i run into a permissions problem there. i get access denied when i try to take ownership of the system32 folder or even just individual files alone.
i tried safe mode with command prompt, but there are 3 user accounts, all of which i don't know the password to, so i cant get any further there.
i just tried a password reset disk (with usb) but apparently this will only work if you can already get into the system with another account and go thru some password reset disk creation wizard.
im stumped and i'm rarely stumped LOL jk please give me some ideas??


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
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Microsoft MVP
Don't understand why it won't boot from cd rom but I'd try and external cd-rom.


Honorable Member
If you fix computers, some of my advice might be know to you but I'm just going to throw some suggestions out here.

If you are using:
takeown /f [folder/filepath] /r /d y
icacls [folder/filepath] /grant administrators:F /t
to take ownership of the system32 - don't! It can cause many problems down the road.

If your having issues booting from cd, you can try to change it to IDE and not SATA:
Solved Can't Boot from CD-ROM in AHCI mode - Windows 7 Forums (post #5)

Try to DISABLE all others in the boot order, leaving only CD/DVD as number 1.

Check this for more booting from CD issues: (read about the cables and connections).
How to or can't boot from a CD or DVD.

For file permission:
Go to the Properties of the file.
Check if there is a user called "Everyone" with some Special Rights.
If yes, there could be the problem...
Sometimes Windows 7 put following rule:
Everyone Deny to List Folder/Read Data
Just delete this Everyone Deny, press three times ok and that's it.

Follow Microsoft's direction:
Take Ownership of a File or Folder

More detaled and illustrated instructions:
Windows 7 Take Ownership & Grant Permissions to Access Files & Folder

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