Lost Admin access due to PIN->password reset for no apparent reason

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Spiritos, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    First of all I feel I should apologize as I feel I'm a little out of place and definitely out of my depth on this forum. I've mostly been a lurker and as it seems Windows is (understandably) not a popular topic here. However I've been troubleshooting a problem for almost 72 consecutive hours (I'm an insomniac) and still am at lost and would humbly like to appeal to the apparent expertise on this forum.

    In short: Since wednesday morning (after "patch tuesday"....) I suddenly couldn't log into my MS10 Home (64x) OS with my (only) local Admin account. Thing is I've been using PIN-access for close to 2 years and now I suddenly had to enter a password (which I obviously forgot) and have no option to choose for PIN access.

    I've tried numerous well-known options and then some more and finally managed to gain access to the "hidden" meta-Admin account through a regedit (HKLM \ Admin \ SAM \ Domains \ Account \ Users \ 000001F4 and the value F, Row 11, 0038 to put 10), created a new Admin account and de-activated the meta-Admin again with cmd: net user Administrator /active: no so now I do have access to the OS on GUI level.

    I should prob.mention I have a dual-boot OS on another SSD (with UEFI) and thus options as Hiren and most Linux distros didn't work (except Kali). I realise I could disable SAFE BOOT and enable CSM but my 2nd OS is a highly tuned DAW-environment and I can't risk damaging that and as a last resort rather do a fresh install. Also my personal files are not on my boot SSD but on another HDD so I wouldn't lose too much (but still some which is prob a little much to explain for now). If someone's interested in my very initial troubleshooting here's a thread in English (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum...min-account-pin-password-apparent-reason.html). Since then I've learned and tried a lot more (this is most definitely not my area of expertise) so I'll just post a short question regarding the point I am now:

    When logged in under my new Admin account I go to prompt and with: net users I look at all accounts. I was unsure if my locked account is visible since I'm unsure what it's supposed to be called (when loggin in in the past I saw my full name, e-mail and Admin as Accountname) but only under the "user" "computer" I do see my full name. Point is that the command net user [/domain] shows the date of last login which is nowhere near the time I lost acces and neither do the other (visible?) accounts.

    Does this mean the account is somehow deleted? And is this even possible -even though I still see it as a login option when booting up (next to my other new Admin account) and I can see all folders when using another boot-medium? If someone could confirm this conclusion I'm one step further. Tnx.
     
  2. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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    When you create a new admin account, you have the same rights as the as any other admin accounts, so you can delete any accounts for good without impairments to the one you are signed in, however you may just lose datas dependent of those other deleted user account.
     
  3. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    I know but having the same rights isn't the issue nor is deleting my old account. The issue is my OS-environment under my old account is super-tweaked and configured to my likings.
    Additional annoyances are I miss half of my installed programs with additional data such as Firefox bookmarks (which I could painstakingly retrieve for each program database through CMDline access or with for eg. a Linux distro to filesystem though), e-mail settings (PITA) and then there's an issue with an external Steinberg audio interface (since my system is initially set up as a high end DAW workstation) where the license cannot be assigned to two OS-es and I had major issues finding a loophole for that (my normal "work OS" also functions as the main Media Centre in my home for audio/video).

    So essentialy my main quest is to gain access to my old account again but since there are too vast possible scenarios to achieve that (which I've been trying) and I didn't want to bother you guys with all of that I chose to narrow my question down to a temporary conclusion -such as asked in my last paragraph.
     
  4. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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  5. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    Thanks for your reply! And yes I have (as I sort of described in the chaotic URL which I linked in my initial post). Thing is (in regard to the options mentioned in ur link):

    - It's a local account and not a MS account
    - Win 10 Home doesnt have acces to user folders in computermanagement.
    - Most Hirens and Linux distros (except Kali) dont boot because of UEFI-compatibility
    - I cant risk messing with SAFE BOOT/CSM due to the highly crucial DAW environment in my other OS (To make Hiren with o.a. "password reset" utility bootable).
    - I did create a new Admin account through regedit but it leaves me without the (so needed) tweaks of my locked account.
     
  6. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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  7. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    This is by far the most creative solution I've gotten/read so far through many channels. Tnx! Definitely worth a shot.

    However I must confess that ever since Win7 I feel I've lost all conceptual understanding regarding Super-Admin/Admin/user accounts, priveleges, and linked/locked account rights.
    But if I may ask quickly to form a more informed opinion (I will definitely read up on it some more myself):

    1. Isn't an Admin account profile somehow "protected" or "limited" in what settings one can transfer to another (Admin?)account? Even more so on Win10 HOME OS or do the limitations reside only on GUI and not on kernel/file system level?
    2. I must read up on which folders to exactly copy but can this method include ALL programs with it's respective databases/licenses and such?
    3. As this is anything but my field of expertise I am somewhat clueless to even something essential as the name of my locked account when looking with net user. Even more so since now I have a 2nd Admin account so chances are I will mistake the two. Also, like I mentioned in my first post, through a net user cmd I checked last login date of all visible users and non corresponded with the date I lost access.
    4. I assume the safest way is to create a new account first with my current Admin account and try to copy the old profile (if I can find it) to this new account. Should the new account have Admin level as well?

    Sorry if this seems lazy, like I said I'll have to read up some more about it but as you seem knowledgeable I figured maybe it's rly simple for you to answer (some) of my current questions.
     
  8. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    That's what I would do :) If you go to Control Panel\System and click on Advanced System Settings (on the left side) you will see User Profiles\Settings. There you have the option to copy one profile over another. Since the original profile was an Admin I would try copying it to a new Admin account (I don't know how important this is; just seems logical). Good luck and let us know how it goes :thumb:
     
  9. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    UPDATE:

    1.

    - Logged in under current Admin and succefully created a new Admin account (diff. name ofcourse) through ASS\User Profile\Settings and rebooted
    2.
    - Logged in under current Admin again but the new Admin account wasn't visible under \User Profile\Settings
    - Changed the new Admin to default user and rebooted
    3.
    - Logged in under current Admin again but even now the newly created account (no longer Admin) was still not visible so rebooted
    4.
    - Logged in under the newly created account (figuring apparently it needed to be used first before being visible under User Profiles and indeed now it was (had to enter password from Admin account though to acces User Profiles)
    5.
    - Then I followed directions to copy the user profile. The only profile with a date corresponding to my last succesfull login (last tuesday) was called "default".
    - When prompted I chose a location (tried several actually) to save the profile but got the message (translated from dutch) "This location already exists. Current contents of map or file will be deleted. Are u sure?". even though that particular location had no such file. I should note here that when chosing a location to save the profile, say C:\desktop it automatically added C:\users\"Adminname"\Desktop where "Adminname" is my current Adminaccount.

    From what I briefly found so far redirecting user folders do require Admin rights which -as shown in above steps- doesn't work as I only can access the new User Profile when logged in under that account.
    Although I realise now I might've forgotten to check if since I activated/used the new account it now is visible under my Admin account.

    I guess I should take a small break here (even insomniacs ever so crash after 80+ hrs) but maybe someone could clarify 1 small things up for me:

    Athough the "default" profile's last login corresponds with the last times I had acces to my local Admin account, the profile size is very small (5 mb or so...?) while even the newly created profiles bear much more volume. This seems very odd to me since obviously the new accounts are bare stripped naked as opposed to my 2yo fullgrown normal account. Is this indicative for something? Once again, I'm obvlious to accountmanagement from Win7 on. From what I've researched so far there are some other way to create/copy profiles through CMD-line, regedits and so or I could just copy some folders manually and I will read up on it. Just need a break.

    Thanks so much for now!
     
  10. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    As I understand it the default profile is what the OS uses to create new accounts. It is "bare bones" because there's no user data in the account initially. As you noted after using an account for some time the size of the profile grows, reflecting the accumulation of data and personal settings. My default profile is only about 2.5 megabytes while the profile of my primary account is 75 gigabytes which reflects the space used by my pictures, videos, documents, etc.

    The profile you want to copy is not the default profile; it's the profile of the account that you inadvertently got locked out of and that you're trying to recover (looking at the size of the profile can help identify it; typically it's the largest). By copying it to the newly created admin account you transfer all of the data and personal settings to that account (make sure there's enough free space on the disk first). Then that new admin account should pretty much be the same as the one you lost access to. By the way, you're correct that after creating a new account it is necessary to log into it to finish setting it up. Then it will appear in the list of profiles. Make sure you haven't logged into it before attempting the copy though. Reboot the computer to be safe and only log into the other Admin account that you're going to initiate the profile copy from.

    This is how it worked for me in the past, but note that I haven't done it in Windows 10. YMMV (but hopefully not). Best....
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
  11. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up (the default account not being the one I want to recover)!
    One thing to consider though is that I store no media files on my boot SSD but on a secondary HDD (could account for the small size but not quite enough I suppose).

    This conclusion does however make things a little easier since I checked all accounts and none correspond in name and/or date of my last succesfull login and rolls back to my very initial question:

    Does this mean the account is somehow deleted? And is this even possible -even though I still see it as a login option when booting up (next to my other new Admin account) and I can see all folders when using another boot-medium? If someone could confirm this conclusion I'm one step further. Tnx.

    PS. In the wake of this it remains super odd some MS updates would delete an account. Only other occasion that could've been responsible for causing this situation is I downloaded Samsung Magician (freeware SSD check tool) the night prior to it to see if I had any use for it. Small installer and only options I glimpsed through were 'optimizing settings' as in Performance-Stability-Custom then closed it. I'm just about sure enough to bet all my limbs I did NOT change and safe any settings when closing that utility but however, when booting the next day I did notice what I believe to be a CHKDSK running before my OS started up (but bear in mind "patch tuesday" downloaded and pre-installed the updates the same night so it's impossible to determine either of them as the culprit to me).
     
  12. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    You could try exploring the profile folders directly for identifying information. For instance perhaps there are internet favorites or files on the desktop specific to the profile you're looking for?
     
  13. Brummelchen

    Brummelchen Registered Member

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    in windows exist the (built-in) "Administrator" account and the "Administrators" Group
    about which admin you are talking?

    activate the hidden admin:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/wind...idden-administrator-account-on-windows-vista/

    but i think you have to boot windows into command line mode for this
    after you can use the built-in admin and set/reset users setting
    after successfull action you disable this admin again to prevent malware abuse
     
  14. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    @Brummelchen: As said earlier I am clueless about different Admin levels in Windows. I did however active the "hidden" Admin account but I used the registry instead (HKLM \ Admin \ SAM \ Domains \ Account \ Users \ 000001F4 and the value F, Row 11, 0038 to put 10), created a new Admin account and de-activated the meta-Admin again with cmd: net user Administrator /active: no.

    I looked at users under the GUI folder structure for identifying information as @Vicktek suggested. Apparantely the account that is blocked is called "computer", which I find utterly strange since when looking at the account on WIn logon it mentions my name, e-mailadress (non MS) and Aministrator.

    However, yesterday I did also notice when looking from CMD-line with net user [/domain] at the details of all accounts that "computer" indeed mentioned my full name. However, the date of last login of this account was somewhere in 2015, so naturally I assumed this was not the blocked account. Also, why it would be called "computer" is beyond me and it's certainly not something I would personally assign to any account to avoid confusion when troubleshooting.

    So knowing this I tried: net user computer * which would give me the option to reset the password without knowing it. I was logged in under my current (new) Admin account. I could enter and confirm the new password but then I got the error message: "System error 8646 has occurred. The system is not authoritative for the specified account and therefore cannot complete the operation. Please retry the operation using the provider associated with this account. If this is an online provider please use the provider"s online site."

    Now I know about Netplwiz but I'm unsure if this will work for Admin accounts/Win 10 Home/and for non-MS accounts plus how this relates to the "System error 8646" but I think now having 'sort of' determined the name of the blocked account I'm on the right track.

    EDIT: Also, in an earlier stage I was confused if it was not in fact an MS-account since it shows an e-mail. To check this I reset my MS-account 3 times (e-mail/phone/actual landline confirmation) through Firefox and checked with OneNote on my iPhone. I indeed had to enter my new password but I could not use this for the blocked acccount so concluded it wasn't an MS-account. However, since all things seem very strange to me, including patch-tuesday what are the odd chances it IS some weird MS quirk?

    EDIT2: I tried the neplwiz option, chose my locked account and opted out for needing a password to login. I had to enter a new password which all worked like a charm, then I rebooted and to my surprise I now saw a DUPLICATE account and on both the just newly entered password did not work. @Brummelchen: I did some checking up and the blocked Admin account does indeed belong to the Adminstrator group.

    I can't think straight anymore, so I hope I can give this some rest for now and catch some sleep or at the very least just lie down. All a big thanks for the help so far. A lot more constructive than I've had the last couple of days on other fora.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
  15. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I think you need to go back to why the pin stopped working. That's the important thing.
    Can you elaborate on the steps you took to regain access - this is when you may have corrupted something.
    Sleep some and then see if you can figure it out.
    Mrk
     
  16. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    Goodmorning to ya'll. Finally had some sleep so back in the saddle again ;)

    @Mrkvonic: Actually you're saying 2 different things (just nitpicking ;)).

    1. Going back to why the PIN stopped working and resolving/resetting this would be my first choice but I have no idea why it stopped working -aside from "patch tuesday" updates messing something up or my brief glancing through the options of the Samsung Magician tool w/o actually changing or saving any settings. I can't seem to re-activate the option PIN or password login again for that specific account. On an intuitive level I feel being able to re-active the PIN is the most easy solution but I haven't found any clues as to how to achieve this.
    2. As for the steps I took, I'd initially refer to the URL in my first post (although it's something of an incoherent panic-driven summary). In short though I wanted to use Hiren's Boot CD, some different Linux distros or a tool called "Offline NT Password & Registry Editor" to use a "password utility manager" to reset the password of the blocked account. My original Win 8.1 OEM CD didn't offer any workable options, maybe because I ofcourse (so regretably) updated to Win10 Home (64). Alas all of the to me available boot-media can't handle UEFI anymore (aside from Kali) espec. with SAFE BOOT/CSM on so I resided to other options and finally found a Win Repair CD which I also must've downloaded sometime which allowed me to activate the "hidden" Admin account through a regedit. In turn I created a new Admin and deleted the "hidden" Admin again trough CMD-line (somehow I couldn't acces the SAM file anymore through the registry but I believe in essence these are just 2 paths leading to Rome).

    But your real and righteous question is ofcourse if I messed something up along the way. As far as I can recall (98% certainty) the only actual "change" I made on any level (GUI/regedit/CMD) was when I gained access to CMD with Linux Kali and tried chntpw -l SAM / chntpw -u "username" sam and although I got no error messages this didn't resolve a thing after which I resided to activate the "hidden" Admin through the regedit with the Win Rescue Disk. Hope this answers your question.

    NEW TRYINGS:

    1. Today, finally knowing with certainty the name of my blocked account "computer" (so weird a name) I tried another way to copy this user profile to a newly created account. As described earlier this didn't work through diksmanagement but even so I re-checked looking at all User Profiles. I now couldn't copy ANY of them as this option was greyed out -except for the "standard profile" which I have no clue as to what this is but it's certainly not the profile I need to copy. Also if this is a limitation of Win Home I don't know. I do all the work under a new created Admin account (domain).

    Thus as @Victek suggested I simply tried copying the profile through accessing the /userfolders. The locked out account was about 11 GB and I could easily copy the contents to a newly created standard account. It did seems strange to me that I wasn't prompted about the files/maps overwriting the (similair named) maps of the new account. I am used to being annoyed by this promptwindow (do you really want to replace..) in every Win OS -even though I understand it's a proper safety feature.

    After this succesfull copy of the profile I went to config/useraccounts and changed the priorly created new profile from "regular" to "Admin" and rebooted (even turned the PC off first completely to be sure) but when logging in with this account -which should now have all my settings such as desktop icons/prefered folder options and such it didn't..... :((
    I did not check it thoroughly yet to that extent that I tried running for eg. programs such as a Movie Database to see if it indeed would show my collection (it does not under other accounts) but simply the observation my desktop was still missing icons/my default wallpaper and my folder options (replaced default download folder for eg. with another location) was enough for me to take a pause again.

    Perhaps someone who has more knowledge about this method of profile copy has a bright insight about why this didn't work. I still have to read up some more on the link @Victek provided regarding this topic so I might have to copy some additional folders or try another method but so far this option did not work.
     
  17. Brummelchen

    Brummelchen Registered Member

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    you talk about Windows 10 Home? It is not possible to use Home in a domain and/or active directory. you need at least pro.
    there exists no hklm admin sam, only hklm sam

    the best thing you can do from my view is to rescue data and setup from scratch. otherwise this would be an endless story.

    btw dual boot with uefi and linux and windows wont really work, switch to regular boot mode. for several windows it is possible but only with tricky, so why should it work with linux+windows?

    btw2 - windows dont like dualboot with hibernation activated - it will stuck on booting

    for now i really recommend to setup from scratch.

    writing from my windows 10 ltsb
     
  18. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    @Brummelchen : I hear what you're saying. Yet what's so immensely frustrating to me is I can take a latop with Kali, drive around in my car, find a WIFI network, acces it and with some luck & time even access someone's PC yet here I am, the righteous andl licensed owner to an OS/PC to which I have physical access and I'm locked out of my account (to which I even have half the login credentials (PIN vs PW). That drives me mad and a fresh install feels as adequate as a guillotine is for a headache ;) Plus I haven't exhausted all options yet and am persistent.

    "....in windows exist the (built-in) "Administrator" account and the "Administrators" Group
    about which admin you are talking?.."


    I probably mistunderstood you as for Win domain/active directory. As I told you I'm pretty unfamiliair with accountmanagement/domain levels so the registry \Admin\ value must've been a typo since editting the registrykey did activate the "hidden" Admin account for me (it is after all the only reason I was able to access the OS on GUI level). After your quoted question I looked for an answer and (prob) through diskmanagent saw something implying that my acccount belonged to an "Administrators Group" but I don't know what that actually means nor how that would help with my problem but I just answered you.

    A short contextual sketch (if you will) since I'm a little unsure what you refer to with dual-boot Win/Linux/UEFI/hibernation in my case:

    What I know now is most alternative boot media like Hiren & Linux distro's have stopped working with UEFI and one needs to adjust settings like turning off Safe Boot and enable CSM for them to be able to boot but as far as I researched that option sometimes even needs more tweaking without guaranteed succes and can be risky. Given the nature of my dual-boot OS I am way too afraid to tamper with that for the following (contextual) reason:

    My dual-boot sytem has been built by a professional DAW builder. It was essential to me I had no driver or IRQ conflicts which for DAWs are impossible to identify beforehand when assembling a system with custom chosen hardware. So I gave the DAW builder my conceptual build for a failsafe dual-boot (UEFI) with the hardware specs and let him be responsible for maximum decible production, possible IRQ conflicts, driver compatibility with MIDI-hardware etc.cause the times I enjoyed fiddling with components are way beyond me and I really needed an optimal/stable DAW for music production. The dual-boot initially was 2xWin 8.1 (64x) with a total of 3 SSD's and 3 HDD's (aside from 15 external hubbed HDD's) and when it was finished the builder mentioned he had a problems installing the same Win 8.1 OEM license on the 2 OS-es but I didn't inquire as to what & how. So I have limited knowledge about the UEFI changes/double OEM OS install etc. that were needed but enormous fear of messing up my DAW OS which would be disaster with all the MIDI-hardware and licenses and would take me weeks to set up again.

    So knowing the initial **** the DAW builder experienced I am now also afraid that re-installing Win (10 not 8.1. by now for 2nd OS) will fail proper MS licensing or even mess up my DAW OS. Hence my primairy reluctance for a new install ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
  19. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    LAST UPDATE/LAST QUESTIONS:

    By now I feel I've exhausted all options (within safe limits -excluding disabeling Safe & Secure Boot) of regaining access to my locked account including creating a new rescuedisk, backtraking some prompt and registry options and some 3rd party tools which would boot with current UEFI and have password reset utilities -with which I won't bother you all as it would comprise of pages of text.

    Last thing I want to try is deleting all other old accounts, clean up the registry and try if I can configure the new account and let it be stable. At this point I run into weird issues like sometimes MP-HPC or VLC Player will crash -even though I re-installed them and this probably is due to some conflicting account rights -which I don't understand since I always installed programs with Admin rights, similiair to this new one. If this doesn't work out I should reside to either resetting windows or completely do a fresh install after all to which I have some last questions:

    Since I know MS licensing is now integretated with checking hardware (as far as I understand ONLY the mobo -or also the different SSD's?) would re-installing my Win 10 OS on my mainstream OS through downloading an ISO from the MS website cause any problems in regards to my DAW-OS which still runs under the original Win 8.1 OEM license? Remember, both OS-es on separate SSD's use a shared OEM license (implemented by the DAW builder) and so far I've had no problems updating either of them -even though I updates my mainstream OS to Win10 some months ago already. Still I can imagine somewhere in the future MS would somehow "notice" the licensed hardware sometimes operates under Win 8.1 while at other times under Win10. Would simply disabling MS Updates for the DAW OS (Win 8.1) somehow "bypass" that risk?
     
  20. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    Just to finish this up (nothing being more annoying than unresolved threads): I did a Win 10 Restore using a recovery disk I made a few days back.

    For future reference it might be worth noting I could not restore with the use of the ISO I created with MediaCreationTool nor my original Win 8.1 OEM disk.
    Also it's fair to say the PIN-login module from MS is prone to failure after MS updates -as by now I've read numerous threads regarding this issue in earlier builds (the last one being nov/dec 2015).

    Now I have -once again- a perfectly working UEFI dual-boot system with one Win 8.1 and one Win 10 OS. As far as licensing is concerned, I found there is an algorythm running prior to booting Win that checks license/productcode/hardware ID without "phoning home" to MS. Some people mention a "phone home" to the MS Activation servers with KMS takes place every 180 days but we'll have to see how that works out. As far as I could tell, both the 8.1 and 10 activation is stored on the servers and since both OS-es are on the same mobo I doubt MS would bother to interfer, however I can't be 100% sure (yet) and I'll see how to tackle that if en when that situation arises.
     
  21. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Same thing "incorrect" password, happened to the windows 10 Home of a friend of mine on Saturday 23/7/2016. I was helping him rooting his smartphone and windows went to sleep as it normally does. Afterwords he tried entering in his account and windows refused his password; after trying for 4-5 times with no success I told him to restart the laptop and after that he could enter the account normally with the same password that failed seconds earlier.o_O


    Panagiotis
     
  22. Spiritos

    Spiritos Registered Member

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    That does sound weird, yes. On another forum someone had a similiair problem with an actual MS account where an online reset didn't work nor a net user reset (wich is obvious for MS accounts) but in relation to my error (a non-MS acccount) it might be interesting to note it resulted in the same 8646 system error. MS actually acknowledged the module to be buggy in an earlier build but it should've been fixed by now. Still, for preventive measures I now make sure I have both my PW & PIN at hand this time and a second dorment Admin account.
     
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