Yesterday, a woman bought me her Win7 laptop that had 3 accounts set up but couldn't access any because the passwords would not go through. I have deleted forgotten passwords before using a boot disk like Offline NT Passsword and Registry Editor http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/.
You basically have to download the CD image burn of on CD or use the links on the site to create a bootable USB flash drive and boot of the CD/USB - instructions here - http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/walkthrough.html
So I went through the instructions booted of the USB version and cleared all the passwords off all the accounts. It worked for the two Standard accounts but not for the administrative one which still limited my access to the system.
When I tried to access the administrator account I got the following error message: The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded. - Needless to say when your trying to repair a computer we need full access to it. There was a potential that a virus caused these problems.
I found a solution from these links here to get control of that account:
I'm not queasy about editing the registry and followed the instructions to make the changes as instructed but I couldn't do it because the only access was through two standard accounts and I couldn't get pass the permissions issues. I tried to change them but was denied access. I needed an Administrative account.
So I booted of the Offline NT Passsword and Registry Editor USB again because it does give you an option to promote an account to administrator so I picked one account to promote and then booted into Windows normally. I logged into the now administrative account and was able to carry out the reg editing necessary to gain access to locked account.
Just a note, I went to the control panel to try to change the user accounts settings there to regain control of the original administrator account. It was set to standard and wouldn't let me change the setting. That's when I edit the registry according to the instructions. Then I was able to finally boot into that account. I had to change the promoted account back to standard. I also decided to run a few scans for maleware and found none.
A check of the hard drive found no problems. I also ran the system file checker with no issues detected. The only noticeable issue was they had installed AVG - the premium version, the one you have to pay for. It wasn't activated. My guess they thought they where installing the free version but installed the premium version instead. A common problem.
I blame AVG for that.
I don't like the way AVG promotes their product because they seem to indicate on there web site that there are two version of their program but no matter what version you chose to download you get the exact same file. When you install the program you get the option to install the basic or full protection. Most people are going to chose full, not realizing that they are installing the premium version. I don't know how many people have called me because their Free version of AVG was about to expire and didn't realize what had happened.
To convert AVG to the free version, by the way, is to go to uninstall it and a window should pop up giving you the option to downgrade to the free version.