View Full Version : XP recovery console, damaged SAM file

06-27-2005, 12:25 PM
Basically Windows stopped booting, and I couldnt do any of the "last known good config" or "safe mode" stuff either, none of them worked. I got a message that the SYSTEM file in the registry was damaged or missing. I looked online to figure out what was going on, and found a way to use the XP boot disk to get to a 'recovery console' to replace this file with one from the windows repair folder. Oddly enough, the recovery console didn't ask me for my administrator password, even though the online directions I found said it would.

After replacing the system file I thought all would be well and dandy, but when I started to boot a window pops up saying that the administrator password is incorrect (even before i see the login screen or enter anything) and the system restarts. With some research I found that often a damaged SAM registry file is responsible, and I probably should have replaced that and all the registry files the first time through. Oops, no biggie though.

So back to Mr. recovery console. Oh wait, what's this? It wants my password now. OK no problem I enter it.... but its not valid? Enter again and again, try a bazillion different things it could be, nothing, nada, zip.

So I'm stuck. Windows won't boot because of a messed up registry file (I think), but i cant get to the recovery console to fix the registry file because the registry is messed up. It's like locking your keys in your car. Anyone know how to slimjim my way out of this one, short of reinstalling windows (and losing all my stuff)?

Thanks a bunch in advance.


06-27-2005, 07:16 PM
I haven't tried cracking a SAM file since i was in highschool (4 or 5 years?). In NT the sam file held a hashed copy of the admin password and some other stuff. This (http://www.atstake.com/products/lc/) is what i used at the time, no idea if it'll work now but it's your best bet.


06-27-2005, 09:37 PM
I had the same problem back in May, and after much time and effort, discovered that the only thing I could do was re-install XP and start over. Fortunately, I have a SP2 CD so that helped a bit. I relinked all my app icons by hand.
The recovery console does not seem to help much when the registry is corrupt. I even had backups of the registery, but I could not use them.

06-28-2005, 11:33 PM
I had this very same problem and ended up plunking down the cash for a program that fixes it. E-mail me at bikeboyatfusedotnet and I'll forward it on to you.
This is not illegal due to a multi user license I hold.