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My issue arose when I was attempting to uninstall an application from my windows server 2003 box. I was constantly getting errors when trying to uninstall the software so I booted the server into safe mode with networking to troubleshoot the issue. To do this I ran MSCONFIG and accidently restarted the server in safe mode WITHOUT networking.

This 2k3 box is enrolled in my active directory but is not a domain controller. Once I realized what I did I tried entering the domain administrator password hoping that the profile and credentials would have been cached, but of course they were not. I then tried using what I believed was the local administrator password which was also unsuccessful. At this point I assumed the simplest thing to do would be to wipe the password out using chntpw which I had on an old disk from way back. I ran through the process and the commands completed successfully, and yes I made sure to use this to unlock the account as well, however when I reboot the server I still can not login.

I think I am now at the point of stopping to try and reset the password, unless any of you can give me another idea of how to do this, and am wondering if there is anyway to get a command prompt open and run MSCONFIG so I can rest the .ini and boot the server back up normally? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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closed as off topic by Jorge Castro, roadmr, psusi, Lekensteyn, gertvdijk Jan 22 '13 at 21:23

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This Q&A is about Ubuntu Linux only (See the FAQ). Questions about Windows should be asked on Super User. Thanks! –  Seth Jan 22 '13 at 19:37

1 Answer 1

Well, since this is Ask Ubuntu, this can be solved by, well, using Ubuntu.

Grab an Ubuntu Live CD image (x86 desktop would be fine) from ubuntu.com, burn it (or write to USB if your machine supports USB boot and you have a spare USB stick lying around), and boot from it. Assuming you've been shutting down your server cleanly - and assuming you haven't encrypted and/or compressed your server's C: drive - Ubuntu should be able to mount the local hard drive's NTFS partition(s) and allow you to edit the respective .ini files (on top of whatever else you need to do to reset/recover the passwords). Note that you won't have access to MSCONFIG per se; instead, you'll have access to gedit (like Notepad, but way more powerful), and you'll need to know where the .ini file is located.

Or, while you're at it, you could just install Ubuntu and be done with all your Windows-related problems :)

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