There are times when you may need to access a computer but don’t know the password – this can include running an old machine you haven’t used in years, using one purchased at a flea market or online auction, or even the need to quickly access your child’s computer for something. What ever the reason, accessing a computer without knowing the password is fairly simple, though some methods are far more time consuming than others. This tutorial will teach you the easiest way to bypass the login password and access the hard drive files. Only do this on computers you have permission to access, such as the reasons listed above. Accessing someone else’s computer is a breach of privacy and could land you in legal trouble.
If you need to bypass your login password, follow one of the next steps to get started.
-> Computer that needs accessed -> Computer with Internet Access -> Blank CD ROM -> USB Thumb Drive
STEP 1-> There’s a number of different ways to access the hard drive files, and the steps you take will depend on how badly you need to access the machine. This method will give you access to all the hard drive files, and won’t be traceable at all, so there won’t be any ill effect on your machine. With more extreme methods, there’s a chance you’ll mess up your machine, so be careful – this method won’t have that risk.
STEP 2-> Using this method, preparation takes 20 minutes – hour or so, depending on your Internet speed. This method will work if all you care about is accessing the files on the hard drive, and you don’t need to use software on the computer. You won’t be able to change the password or anything, so if you’ve forgotten your password, you’d be better off using ‘Windows Password Recovery Disc’.
Using a computer with Internet access and a DVD burner, download Puppy Linux, a free and smallLinux distro. Some prefer to use DSL Linux, but I’ve had trouble getting it to mount an external drive, so I prefer Puppy Linux. What we’re going to do is install Linux onto a small USB memory stick. It’s time consuming the first time you do this, but once you’re done, all you have to do is plug the stick into a computer and restart it.
STEP 3-> Once you’ve downloaded the ISO file, you need to burn it to a blank CD. If you don’t have the software to do this, download ImgBurn and use it.
STEP 4 -> After the CD is finished, insert it into your computer and restart the system. Make sure your BIOS is set up to boot from CD. This will start up Puppy Linux in Live Mode – don’t worry, it isn’t affecting your computer at all.
Once Puppy Linux has fully started, you can start playing around in it and using it like a normal operating system.
STEP 5-> Navigate into the Universal Installer that comes with Puppy Linux. Run it and you’ll get an installation window that will guide you through installing. You need to install it onto your USB key, so make sure you select that drive – if you select your internal hard drive, you could end up losing your data, so be careful.
Simply plug in the device, then choose USB FLASH DRIVE. Everything else will be straight forward and it only takes about 10 minutes to do.
STEP 6-> Now that the installation is finished, reboot the machine. Enter BIOS and configure it to boot from USB first. Exit BIOS and wait for it to boot. It will boot the Puppy Linux install. This first time it starts, you will be prompted to choose a folder to save data in. Make this file small to start with, as you can make it larger later on.
STEP 7-> Now, shut down the system and remove the key. It is now a fully installed operating system that can be used from any computer. You can also add other files to it, storing pictures or photos, so it’s multi-purpose.
Shut off the computer you want to access and plug in your USB key. Start the computer up and enter BIOS. Change the boot order to USB. Make sure your key is plugged in, then exit. It will boot into Puppy Linux and mount the internal hard drive.
Now, simply click on the mounted hard drive icon. You can access all the systems files. Copy as many of them as you would like to your key. When you’re finished, restart the machine and unplug the drive. It will restart as normal and load to the Windows login screen.
Note: Don’t do this to get files you aren’t allowed to have. This method is best used for retrieving files off a hard drive in case your system crashed and you need to reload it, but your files are still on the system. There is no warranty for this info – use at your own risk. The author assumes no responsibility for misuse of this information.