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Can't login, Domain Changed

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  • Can't login, Domain Changed

    Hello everyone - my first post here! I have a Win2k pro SP4 standalone PC. This PC has never been part of a domain, but I think this is part of the issue (see below). My issue started with a boot sector error or failure that required me to attempt a repair through the recovery console. The PC has been unused and off for quite some time. Obviously, I forgot my windows system admin password to accomplish this via recovery console.

    However, I was able to boot to the login prompt using last known good configuration, but when I attempt to login, I get an error that says my password is invalid. My primary windows login user is part of the Administrator group, and I do know my password, but for some reason the PC now thinks it's part of a domain having the same name as my user name. So, whereas I've always been a local user to the local PC (this PC has never been part of any domain), I suspect Windows is looking for a SAM table on some fictitious domain controller that this PC has never seen. The error message is something like "invalid password for <username> on domain <username>"

    The "forgot my administrator password FAQ" doesn't address this scenario specifically, although it seems to be a somewhat similar situation, and I hope this is something that someone has seen before. What do I do to reset the PC to local, and/or reset/remove the admin password so I can get logged in?

    I'm not sure if I need to correct the domain issue first - that would make sense - or if simply removing the Admin password would permit access so I can correct the domain issue once I've logged on?

    Thanks in advance.

    Last edited by usrich; 29th December 2009, 03:46. Reason: added OS info

  • #2
    Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

    Tried any of these options?
    I am quite partial to Peter Nordahl method.
    Joined: 23rd December 2003
    Departed: 23rd December 2015


    • #3
      Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

      No I hadn't tried any of them because at first glance they either didn't seem to address the domain issue or they required the local admin password to begin with. I have that and it didn't work because of the domain issue - the circular logic similarity is what confused me in the first place. I am trying Peter Nordahl's method. Your suggestion is basically what I needed to point me in the right direction. I will update this thread with the results. Thanks again!


      • #4
        Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

        Hey, Rich.
        That happened to me today.
        What I found is a software it recovers the password of your windows or resets it.
        it somewhere on this website
        I am sorry but I dont remember the software's name .
        Hope It could help you.

        P.S. I had to reformat my Windows. My domain was unknwon


        • #5
          Re: Can't login, Domain Changed


          Even if the machine is looking for a domain ( starange although) still you would have an option to login to this computer....

          and if you do not remembe rthe PWD, then just download and burn ERD commander ISO, that shd help you reset the pwd

          Pledge technologies
          Best Regards,
          Pledge Technologies


          • #6
            Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

            Update: Reset Administrator password using the recommended tool (nice - thanks!) but that did not resolve the issue, I suspect because it is trying to log in to a domain that does not exist. The error I get (with blank administrator password now) is: Windows cannot log you in because the domain <domain_Name> is not available.

            Clearly it's looking for this domain. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a way to set the domain membership via registry, also using Peter Nordahl's tool. Can anyone point me to the correct reg_key(s)? Or am I missing something here? Thanks for the suggestions so far.


            • #7
              Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

              Then stop trying to logon to the Domain. At the Logon Screen, enter Administrator in the Username box, leave Password blank and at the Domain option, on the right side of the box click on the inverted triangle and then select This Computer. Once This Computer (with whatever name it has been called is in the box), click OK.
              Joined: 23rd December 2003
              Departed: 23rd December 2015


              • #8
                Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                Reiterating Win2K. No option to choose the domain at login, like my WinXP machine. It is simply user name and password. The computer has never been part of a domain. Never. Logging on as Administrator with a blank password gets the same error.

                However, I am a little further than last update, but it's been exhausting. I searched Microsoft again and stumbled on KB244671, referring to the error message I am (was) experiencing. So, using Petter Nordahl's tool, I reset the recovery console options so it doesn't require a password. I ran the recovery console, and replaced the rsaenh.dll as recommended in the KB article.

                Lo and behold I can log in using any of my administrator group passwords, but not without caveat. Now I get a user environment error saying essentially that Windows can't log onto my profile, that it has created a new profile from the default profile, and finally reports that my pagefile is insufficient (20Mb). My pagefile is set at 1550Mb, and yet Windows reports it as 20Mb during login. So, now I can login as an Administrator user, but am getting new errors during login. If you do not recognize the gist of them I can report the exact errors in my next post.


                • #9
                  Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                  Can you not log on as administrator then change the password again?
                  Please do report the errors and anything in the event logs

                  Also, you could consider nuking your old administrator profile (rename it), letting it create a new one and then copying content back into the new one.
                  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

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


                  • #10
                    Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                    Yes, that will be today's new adventure - Changing the blanked Admin password, and/or recreating the Administrator User. I'm a lot confused about the sequence of events for authentication. I can log onto my administrator account, with its blanked password, but get a series of user environment errors, as follows:

                    Windows cannot create a temporary profile directory....(that's a partial, I'll have to screenshot to get the entire message - I couldn't write it down fast enough before the next error popped up!)

                    Then I get another user environment message:

                    Windows cannot load the user's profile but has logged you on with a default user profile for the system.....(also partial, need to screenshot)

                    And finally, a pagefile error stating that there is an insufficient pagefile, that windows created a temporary pagefile due to issues experienced during boot, and that the pagefile size is set at 20Mb.

                    However, when I examine the system properties, I see that the pagefile is actually set at 1500Mb. Puzzling indeed. What's more is that this system has been rock-solid for years, now all of a's become aware that EOL is near


                    • #11
                      Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                      Well, this is where I went today:

                      Logged on as administrator (blank password still) and got the following user environment errors:

                      Windows cannot create a temporary profile directory, contact your network administrator. DETAIL: Cannot create a file when that file already exists

                      Then another error pops up:

                      Windows cannot load the user's profile but has logged you on with default user profile for the system. DETAIL: Cannot create a file when that file already exists

                      Finally the pagefile error, stating that the pagefile size is either too small or not found. Windows has created a temporary pagefile 20Mb.....etc.

                      When I finally get to the desktop, I get errors saying that the user desktop settings are not accessible, so I get to a vanilla desktop instead.

                      I then renamed the administrator user to <renamed>, then created another Administrator user and put them in the Administrator group. In windows 2K you cannot delete either the group or the user. Reboot and get exactly the same errors as above.

                      I should also note that all of the user profiles do exist in the Documents and Settings\...\subdirectories for each user.

                      Another part of the puzzle: I went into services and attempted to start the event logging service and it is inaccessible. It is listed, and is shown as "Manual" startup, but attempts to start it manually fail (the file is inaccessible). So I cannot open or view any event, application, or security log files. If this has anything to do with administrative permissions or priviledges, the logon account is an administrator account (either a windows built-in account, or a copy thereof).

                      Now that I can actually start the recovery console, what should I do in the Windows Recovery Console to help remedy this? Thanks.


                      • #12
                        Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                        Since you can logon with the Administrator account, use it to create a new User Account with a password and add that account as an Administrator (or to the Administrators group.

                        Reboot and logon as you new User. Assuming you have made the new account and Administrator you should be able to deleted the old problem Profiles.
                        Control Panel
                        User Profiles
                        and remove troublesome profiles. Give the Administrator user Account a password (that you won't forget), reboot system and logon ad Administrator. New Profile should be created. If you stll have problems, get a Windows 2000 CD and do a clean install.

                        BEFORE doing that, use Magic Jellybean to find out what your Windows Key is. Make sure you write it down correctly or better still, copy to Clipboard, paste to Notepad and print it.

                        Failing that, purchase a copy of XP from eBay and install that, assuming you have sufficient RAM.
                        Joined: 23rd December 2003
                        Departed: 23rd December 2015


                        • #13
                          Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                          I did as you suggested (it was a logical process too), and re-logged on. Note my previous post and the errors associated with logging on as either an existing admin user or a newly created admin user account.

                          I did delete the user accounts that are members of the administrator group, but am not able to delete the original administrator user or group accounts (see previous post: Win2K doesn't permit deleting the default administrator group or user account, but does permit renaming the user account - not the group). It did no good, and my new user account - which was a member of the original admin group - yielded exactly the same errors as posted.

                          I do need to verify that I am following exactly the procedure you've recommended, as I don't think I've been thorough about actually setting an explicit password for the admin account once I've blanked it as before. I can say for certain that I've created new user accounts in the admin group, which do have new passwords (but alas with no avail), but I can't yet say for certain that I've actually assigned a new password to the master admin account. I'm reluctant to believe this matters since such an account will rely on the default admin account settings which is what I seem to be having problems with in the first place.

                          My goal is to be able to restore the original Win 2k install so I can run a few specific applications with no data loss. Installing clean won't accomplish this, and as such neither will an upgrade to XP unless such can be accomplished with the end result of being able to access the original applications and associated data files.

                          I'd be remiss if I didn't say that up until now Win 2k has been rock solid on (3) of my home pc's, and I'm only considering an upgrade to XP (not vista, not Win 7) on one of them because it's my kids' machine, and it requires an OS upgrade to accommodate supported gaming applications only. I'm upgrading one other XP64 machine to Win 7 64 because I run Autodesk applications, and only for that reason. This issue is on a third machine, and occurs for no apparent reason. My conspiracy theory inclination is beginning to take over. Microsoft has hard-coded EOL information into their OS. Anyone think that's impossible?

                          Thank you biggles (et alia) for your continued feedback!


                          • #14
                            Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                            Do not confuse deleting the Administrator Profile with deleting the Administrator User Account. Logon as an alternate account that is in the Administrators Group and delete the Administrator Profile. Then reboot and logon as the Administrator (or whatever you may have changed it too. )
                            Joined: 23rd December 2003
                            Departed: 23rd December 2015


                            • #15
                              Re: Can't login, Domain Changed

                              Thanks for that clarification, since I was hesitant in my last post to fully agree that I'd accomplished this as directed.

                              I don't think I am confusing this at all. When I log in on any account that is a member of the administrator group, I can create/delete any other user, and any group *except* the default admin user or the default admin group account. Windows 2k issues an error message that these are default accounts and cannot be deleted.

                              I can also delete the default user account profiles - which I understand to be located in C:\Documents and Settings\..... or I can delete profiles by browsing to My Computer\Properties\User Profiles (note that your path below...\Properties\Advanced\User Profiles\... is an XP path, not a Win 2K path!!!), and I can do this to any account or profile that is not a default Windows Administrator User, Group, or Profile.

                              Regardless, I still get the user environment errors when I reboot and log in using the renamed default Admin account, or in any newly created user account also in the Administrator group.

                              So, to be clear, I cannot delete Windows default Administrator group or user accounts (Windows 2K error, cannot delete these accounts), nor can I delete the PROFILES, because Windows 2K says they are default Administrator profiles and cannot be deleted either.

                              I can however delete any user account or profile that is non-default administrator user or administrator group. Any subsequent user or group I create that is an administrator user, or a member of the administrator group can be both created and deleted - either as a user, a group, OR A PROFILE.

                              If I log in as any of these accounts I get the user environment errors, and if I try to delete any default administrator user, group or profile accounts I get "cannot delete" errors.

                              Is that clear, or am I still missing something?