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  #1  
Old 03-02-2021, 8:37 PM
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Default Resurrecting a locked Windows 7 computer

In my classroom I have a laptop cart with 30 Windows 7 computers. IT has kicked all Windows 7 computers off the network and the school board has "obsoleted" them which means they have been declared surplus property with no value. IT told me today that they are E-wasting them all. I asked if I could keep some and was told I take what I want but they are not going to do any work on them to resurrect them and basically I am on my own.

I have tried my passwords for both networks and they do not log into these computers. I never had admin privileges on them anyway. How much work would it be to bring these back to life? Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2021, 9:01 PM
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Not hard, Google "remove windows 7 passwords with Linux usb" and that will work. I did it before a while ago.

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Old 03-02-2021, 9:22 PM
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Buy a new HD and install windows 10 on it. But we'd need to know a lot more about the computers to see if it's really worth it. Age, brand, model, processor, ram, etc.
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Old 03-02-2021, 9:28 PM
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My personal favorite is to reformat and install Linux on them. It's amazing how much bloat Windows machines have at the end of their software versions. Many of the newer flavors are very easy to use and have a lot free software available.
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Old 03-02-2021, 9:38 PM
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Easy fix. Buy inexpensive ssd drives from either newegg.com or amazon. 250gb ssd are about $25-$30 dollars each. Now on a working pc go to microsoft webpage and download windows 10 onto a flash drive. I stall the ssd on a laptop and insert windows 10.
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Old 03-02-2021, 9:39 PM
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You can probably use the sticky keys hack to root it. It has worked for me every time.

https://4sysops.com/archives/forgot-...ky-keys-trick/

But probably better to nuke it with a fresh install if you have OS install media and license key
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Old 03-02-2021, 9:53 PM
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sonofeugene
Buy a new HD and install windows 10 on it. But we'd need to know a lot more about the computers to see if it's really worth it. Age, brand, model, processor, ram, etc.

Just did this two weeks ago for an Asus laotop that's been down for 2 years. Purchased a crucial SSD 1tb hard drive which cost me $85 on ebay. Then installed Windows 10. Runs faster than I've ever seen it and a complete fix for under 100 bucks. You can find Windows 10 with the account key on eBay for quite cheap if you need that as well
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Old 03-02-2021, 9:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sonofeugene View Post
Buy a new HD and install windows 10 on it. But we'd need to know a lot more about the computers to see if it's really worth it. Age, brand, model, processor, ram, etc.
What he said, except get an SSD instead of an HD, if the hardware is decent.
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Old 03-03-2021, 7:40 AM
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0) Snag all of the laptops that have an iee1394 port, because the std was deprecated, but they make fabulous video conversion machines for the bazillions of owners with 8mm digital handycams.
1) download a password reset utility & reset admin - easy to do, because you're not trying to be stealthy.
2) don't upgrade the ieee1394 machines; leave them on Windows 7 for firewire compatibility/support, but isolate them as standalone machines, since their security updates are EOL.
2a) download (using a diff machine, obviously) & install OBS (Open Broadcast Studio)
2b) give or sell your legacy-video conversion machines to some of the innumerable people who are desperate to convert their precious family memories off of tape, but can't afford the 4-figures to have a service convert their large collections.
3) To convert the non-iee1394 boxes to Win10, and since they're running an authorized copy of Windows 7, perform a free upgrade to Windows 10, e.g. how-to-download-windows-10-for-free-now-that-windows-7-is-dead/
Beware the eBay license keys. Google it: you might get away with it forever, for some indeterminate time till MS de-activates that key, or not at all. Try the free upgrade first; it's a permanent, legit, MS certified install of Win10
3a) Give the resource-hungry, slow Win10 laptops to your kids. It'll teach them patience :-)

Last edited by tokuno; 03-03-2021 at 7:44 AM..
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Old 03-03-2021, 7:46 AM
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Id take them all. As others have said, a new hard drive, install a fresh Win 10 OS, and if you wanted increase the RAM.
Doesnt matter the brand, HP, Dell are good to go.
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Old 03-03-2021, 7:49 AM
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Sound like you could sell them here to some interested. I would take them all.
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Old 03-03-2021, 9:28 AM
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You don't need to be an IT guru to crack the local admin password and this would be the easiest way to keep them as is. If your not able to do this, then wipe them and install Linux and run vm's...this takes some IT skill. If you reinstall with Win10, those laptops will be slow even with upgrades. Their probably 5 years or older so not worth upgrading imo.
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Old 03-03-2021, 3:59 PM
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SUPER easy. If you google it theres like 500 ways to do it. I have a USB key I boot off of and change the passwords to whatever I want in about 30 seconds. We used to take over companies and their angry IT staff would never give up the passwords to servers and whatnot. Ultimately it never matered...
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:06 PM
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Good timing; I just did a thread on this subject.

https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/....php?t=1697367

This "older" computer runs pretty darn fast now, and it's great.
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Old 03-04-2021, 5:49 PM
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Old laptops like this are great for programming Ham HT radios as well, that what I use mine for.
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Old 03-05-2021, 7:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibanezfoo View Post
We used to take over companies and their angry IT staff would never give up the passwords to servers and whatnot. Ultimately it never matered...
Even better if they have that attitude about datacenter equipment, makes getting into those systems that much more satisfying. It's scary how easily and quickly I can get admin access to any Cisco router or switch as long as I have physical access to the console port. I'd make them watch.

OP, Google "ultimate boot cd" and that's all you need. Put it on a USB stick.

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Old 03-08-2021, 12:29 PM
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Even better if they have that attitude about datacenter equipment, makes getting into those systems that much more satisfying. It's scary how easily and quickly I can get admin access to any Cisco router or switch as long as I have physical access to the console port. I'd make them watch.

OP, Google "ultimate boot cd" and that's all you need. Put it on a USB stick.

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As soon as they acted like turds I dismissed them from the company as their services were no longer needed. Some just quit when they found out their company was being purchased. No need for them to watch. They could play ball and I'd find a position for them if they were useful. Hey my company got gobbled up just like theirs and then I worked my way up to the boss... We were always concerned more with the data than any of their equipment. If its useful, fine, but I usually wiped that crap and put on my own configs.... Otherwise it gets wiped and recycled or given to our purchasing guys to attack with hammers and hammer drills (they loved when I gave them old equipment to take their frustrations out on Office Space style). Not saying its possible or impossible but I never came across any equipment I couldn't get into if I had physical access to it.
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Old 03-08-2021, 6:49 PM
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Thank you for all of the replies. I have not had time to mess with them yet but I did dig up an email from 2015 with the quote that gave the specs on them. Do you think they are worth the hassle?





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Old 03-08-2021, 7:54 PM
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Yeah those specs aren't bad at all, could just use a bump in memory. Never gonna be a gamer with that video, but Core i5 proc is perfectly fine for web and MS Office apps, better than i3 and being Intel it can address more memory than the AMD procs in that class. Already has SSD so that is a score if they still have good write life, and likely they do.

Looks like it has 2 mem slots with 1 currently occupied, so $30-$40 for an 8GB module gives you 12GB. Batteries are probably shyte but a lot of people never unplug their laptop. New batteries are still available for sure from many sources if someone needed it.

You may even still be able to score the free Win 10 upgrade
https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/14/2...s-7-10-free-os

So yes, for free those are very much worth someone's time.
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Old 03-08-2021, 8:15 PM
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Yeah those specs aren't bad at all, could just use a bump in memory. Never gonna be a gamer with that video, but Core i5 proc is perfectly fine for web and MS Office apps, better than i3 and being Intel it can address more memory than the AMD procs in that class. Already has SSD so that is a score if they still have good write life, and likely they do.

Looks like it has 2 mem slots with 1 currently occupied, so $30-$40 for an 8GB module gives you 12GB. Batteries are probably shyte but a lot of people never unplug their laptop. New batteries are still available for sure from many sources if someone needed it.

You may even still be able to score the free Win 10 upgrade
https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/14/2...s-7-10-free-os

So yes, for free those are very much worth someone's time.
Exactly what I was thinking. Not rocket ships, but perfectly serviceable computers for web/office type applications with a bit of a memory upgrade. 500GB SSD is a big plus. Easy upgrade to Windows10. With the memory upgrade and a new OS, these would be perfectly serviceable if you don't need a big screen and serious gaming. The batteries are most certainly toast. I'd probably buy one for $100.00 or a bit more just to have a backup portable to play around with.

Last edited by Excitable Boy; 03-08-2021 at 8:17 PM..
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Old 03-08-2021, 9:23 PM
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Heck, with 8GB DRAM and a TLC-technology SATA SSD, Dell Latitude D830's remain useful, and those are even older. So this newer model, yeah, just bump up the DRAM and you're all set. You've already got the SSD.

Question: given the existence of Chrome, Firefox, LibreOffice, and Evolution Email/Groupware on Linux...do you really *need* to run Microsoft Windows on these things for general office productivity?
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Old 03-08-2021, 10:48 PM
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Heck, with 8GB DRAM and a TLC-technology SATA SSD, Dell Latitude D830's remain useful, and those are even older. So this newer model, yeah, just bump up the DRAM and you're all set. You've already got the SSD.

Question: given the existence of Chrome, Firefox, LibreOffice, and Evolution Email/Groupware on Linux...do you really *need* to run Microsoft Windows on these things for general office productivity?
I have never played with Linux before but I was thinking about giving it a shot on one of these. Really the couple they give me would be used for general web surfing, google meets, OnShape CAD (cloud based so it does not require a super computer), and other low demand stuff. I have not done any gaming in close to 20 years. I am pretty computer illiterate. I have done some reading based on this thread and a lot of this is a bit over my head. We will see how it goes.
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:03 AM
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If you grab a few and are interested in selling some, I may be interested in one.
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Old 03-09-2021, 11:31 AM
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Haven't' done this one in a while but you should be able to google it for the details . . .

Basically it goes like this:

1. Get a windows 7 CD
2. Boot into repair mode with a DOS window
3. Copy cmd.exe from the CD into the windows\system32 folder overwriting the accessibility mode function keeping the name of the accessibility file(can't remember the name of the file).
4. Reboot the PC.
5. When you get to the login screen, you click the accessibility icon which opens an admin level DOS window.
6. Use Netuser to change the local admin password.

I used to do this all the time but can't find my document on all the little details.

Or just reimage them all!!
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Old 03-09-2021, 10:13 PM
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So I took one home today and after watching a 10 minute YouTube video I was able to reset the local admin password. I selected to log into the local computer rather than through the network domain and got in with no problem. I turned the wifi off manually (even though in retrospect it cannot go online without my wifi password) because I did not know if it would come up on county it radar that I hacked into this computer if it went online after being offline for a couple years. Local admin/IT may be cool with it but the county guys who do not own the equipment but manage the network may get excited about it.

I am not really sure where to go from here. When you first boot up it wants to log onto the network and you have to tell it to log in local. I am not sure how to get all the county stuff off of it. I tried to do a factory reset but it said I need a disk. Now the battery is almost dead and I did not bring a charger home for it so I am done for tonight. What should my next step be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRM6000 View Post
If you grab a few and are interested in selling some, I may be interested in one.
I will see how many they let me take and go from there.

EDIT: Would it make sense to pull RAM out of one being discarded and put it in one being kept? It would double the RAM but not be as much as someone mentioned above.

EDIT2: I am thinking about putting Linux Mint Mate on one and seeing how I like it. I just have to figure out how to get everything off of it and replace it with Linux
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Last edited by RANGER295; 03-10-2021 at 12:26 AM..
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Old 03-10-2021, 3:55 PM
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You can unjoin the domain so it will always login local.

This video covers it fairly well. Login as local admin, Right click 'My Computer' and go from there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pasi2ejvW0






For the workgroup name you can type 'WORKGROUP' or anything else you want to name the workgroup.

Taking RAM from one laptop and adding it to another would be fine - 8GB is way better than 4GB
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Old 03-11-2021, 1:26 PM
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I did this with an old desktop from my neighbor that was slated for ewaste recycling. Pick whatever Linux distribution you want and burn it to a usb drive. Boot from the drive and you should be able to install Linux without needing to wipe what’s already there.
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Old 03-11-2021, 7:28 PM
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Google for Hirens USB, you will be able to reset all the user PW on the computers. Works all the way to Windows 10 OS.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RANGER295 View Post
So I took one home today and after watching a 10 minute YouTube video I was able to reset the local admin password. I selected to log into the local computer rather than through the network domain and got in with no problem. I turned the wifi off manually (even though in retrospect it cannot go online without my wifi password) because I did not know if it would come up on county it radar that I hacked into this computer if it went online after being offline for a couple years. Local admin/IT may be cool with it but the county guys who do not own the equipment but manage the network may get excited about it.

I am not really sure where to go from here. When you first boot up it wants to log onto the network and you have to tell it to log in local. I am not sure how to get all the county stuff off of it. I tried to do a factory reset but it said I need a disk. Now the battery is almost dead and I did not bring a charger home for it so I am done for tonight. What should my next step be?


I will see how many they let me take and go from there.

EDIT: Would it make sense to pull RAM out of one being discarded and put it in one being kept? It would double the RAM but not be as much as someone mentioned above.

EDIT2: I am thinking about putting Linux Mint Mate on one and seeing how I like it. I just have to figure out how to get everything off of it and replace it with Linux
I can help you with EDIT2. I do this all the time with Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian, CentOS, and Raspbian (Debian for Raspberry Pi). Turns out installing Linux distros is very easy these days. It ain't like 20 years ago.

During the installation process, you have the opportunity to partition the disk drive. There's always an option for "use entire disk (lose all existing data in the process)" or something with similar wording. Choose that option. That will automagically erase the Windows stuff that's on there and use the whole disk drive for your Linux OS.

Another way to do it, and the way that I personally do it, is to boot into "Live CD" mode. What "Live CD" mode is, is the ability to boot form and run the OS from the CD/DVD. This way you can "try before you buy (well, install)". With Ubuntu and CentOS, there is the option to do this. Likewise with Knoppix, the original "boot and run from the CD" distro. Linux Mint, being an Ubuntu derivative, should have this ability as well.

I should let you know, this way is somewhat more geeky in nature...which is, of course, why I tend to prefer it. I personally feel that it affords me greater control, but you don't have to use this method if you prefer to just let the Linux installation handle things for you.

Once you boot into Live CD mode, then you open a terminal window (command prompt), and type the following.

sudo -i
cat /proc/partitions

Here's what that means.

"sudo -i" is like "runas" on the Windows Command Prompt (cmd.exe) when you need to run something as Administrator.

"cat /proc/partitions" will show you every disk partition on your system. You'll see several entries, including "/dev/sr0" for the CD/DVD. However, there is likely only one hard disk drive in each of these laptops. That disk drive is typically identified by "/dev/sda". This means, "device SCSI disk A". Yes, you can have a /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, and so on, if you have multiple hard disk drives in your computer.

Now, it's time to erase that hard disk drive. There are two ways that I use to do it. The easiest way is as follows.

cat /dev/zero > /dev/sda

This will immediately start writing zeros ("zeroing out") the hard disk drive. Just let it go until it's done. It'll end with something saying, "cannot write more to disk" or "out of space" or something to that effect. That just means it's done.

The other way to zero out the hard disk is as follows.

ddi if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1048576

Here's what that means.

The tool is called "dd".
"if" means "input file"
"of" means "output file
"bs" = block size, in this case exactly 1 megabyte. You don't need the "bs" parameter, but it can make dd run slightly more efficiently.

As wih cat, dd will end with some sort of "out of space to write more" message. That just means it's done.

And now that your disk drive is totally erased, go ahead and install Linux Mint or your other distribution of choice.
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"San Francisco Liberal With A Gun"
F***ing with people's heads, one gun show at a time. Hallelujah!
http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun.com (reloading info w/ videos)
http://www.liberalsguncorner.com (podcast)
http://www.youtube.com/sfliberal (YouTube channel)
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To be a true Liberal, you must be 100% pro-Second Amendment. Anything less is inconsistent with liberalism.
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