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Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

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  • Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

    My computer has admin access only. There are no other users. I am the only one that uses this computer and no one else has my password. I put the password in place from Control Panel>User Accounts. This is windows XP with SP2. I've had the computer since 11/07.

    I am having issues with my teenager and I'm afraid she has accessed my computer. Since she doesn't know the login password, I am not sure that she did gain access. There were a couple of hints that perhaps my computer had been accessed (or attempted to be accessed). One hint was the monitor was off and I never turn it off. The other one, when I go to shut the computer down, now has an additional box in the lower left corner defining my computer as mom's computer. This wasn't there before.

    Can you tell me if this is possible? Could she have accessed my computer from the Start/Login screen? (ie: when it comes out of sleep mode, it asks for the user to login).

    And a follow up question. On her computer, I have admin access and she has user access. However, she broke into my side of the computer. (I have software now tracking her computer.) Do you know how she could have done this breakin?

    Thanks.

    Redhead (and stressed out)

  • #2
    Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

    I don't know how old is your Teenager and how good she is in Computers. But I do know that breaking in can be done in 3 ways:

    1- The easiest, guessing your password.

    2- Using "Administrator" account (This account is the global administrator and usually hidden, you just need to click "Ctrl + Alt + Del" on the login screen and type administrator, and if there was no password, it can be access just with a simple "Enter" click, and you can do everything you want inside). This password of this account can be defined either while installing your windows, or by going to my computer, right click, manage, local users and groups, users, administrator, right click, set password.

    3- Cracking the SAM (Security Account Manager). The SAM holds all the logins and the passwords of your computer. There are some tools on the internet that are used to crack the SAM.

    If you want to make your computer more secure, here are some comprehensive points:

    1- Complex password.
    2- Set password for the "Administrator" account, as I showed you above.
    3- Downloading/buying a good security software.
    4- Using "NTFS Security" so as to block your teenager from accessing a HD, file or folder.
    5- Doing restrictions with your local "Group Policy" (gpedit.msc), like removing or blocked access to some resources.
    6- Making your Teenager's account to be Limited.

    If you can get "Windows Vista", "Parental Control" can offer you everything you desire like login time restrictions, software use restrictions, internet access restrictions, reports...and a lot more.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

      Thank you John.

      She isn't very sophisticated in computers, but her friends are. I'm sure that's where she is getting the info.

      As the only access to my computer is as Administrator, there is a password. I tried the ctrl-alt-del and then typed in administrator, but nothing happened. That is good news, correct?

      Then I typed in adminstrator and ctrl-alt-del. It came to another signin screen, this one with my name. But again, administrator didn't work as the password.

      So, with a deep sigh of relief, I don't think she got in.

      She couldn't have guessed the password because I had just changed it. That will be happening daily, or more often, now that she is trying so hard to get what she wants on her computer, using my computer.

      I will look into the NTFS security. I know I need to do something because I can't just pick up my hard drive and take it with me everytime I leave my room.

      Thank you so much.

      Redhead

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

        You normally need to CTRL+ALT+DEL twice, that brings up a box with two lines (username and password)
        Type Administrator in the top (username) box and try leaving the bottom one blank (no password)
        If that fails, try some "obvious" passwords e.g. password, Password (capital and small letters are important in passwords)
        Tom Jones
        MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
        PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
        IT Trainer / Consultant
        Ossian Ltd
        Scotland

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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        • #5
          Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

          Thank you very much. I will try that to see if she broke in.

          Redhead

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

            hmmm, (if using windows xp pro) wouldn't it be easier to use group editor:
            run > gpedit.msc

            and modify auditing?

            --

            navigate to:

            "local computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policy > Audit Policy > audit account logon events"

            any maybe other auditing options here

            That way logon events will show up on the event viewer, however these logs can be cleared.

            Becareful with auditing as if you logs are incorrectly set up and do not overrite you may have problems logging in on a none admin account (EG. logs are set to replace logs older that 30days and the file allocation is not large enough to support the number of events for 30days)

            --

            Are you using windows Pro or home? as in home you can only get into the admin account using safe mode and by default it doesn't have a password associated with it.

            Hope this helps

            Richard
            We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

              Trying to keep out someone who has physical access to the machine will prove to be a waste of time. She will get in.

              The best you can do is setup something so you know she did get in.

              Check the event logs, make sure no new users were created etc..

              As for John2008's suggestions, I mostly agree, except for "Downloading/buying a good security software." - There is no such thing as a "good security software" that will fix that problem for you.

              Get a laptop and keep it with you
              VCP on vSphere (4), MCITP:EA/DBA, MCTS:Blahblah

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Is it possible to access the desktop from the login screen without a password?

                Originally posted by redhead View Post
                ....... I can't just pick up my hard drive and take it with me everytime I leave my room.

                Thank you so much.

                Redhead
                Actually, you can. Install a removable cradle that contains your HDD and you can take it with you whenever you leave the building or are away from your PC for a period of time.
                1 1 was a racehorse.
                2 2 was 1 2.
                1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                2 2 1 1 2

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