How can I recover my Windows XP Home installation after forgetting my administrator password and installing Windows XP Professional over it?
Question by K.A.K. /

Trying to make this story short, here’s what happened.

I forgot my admin password and wound up installing an unlicensed copy of Windows XP Professional over my Windows XP Home. The disk was horrible and loaded without many of the basic files.

To top it off, towards the end of the process, it skips down a huge list of programs and apps that it disables. Don’t ask me why. Help is one of them, as well as troubleshooting, add new software, and many more. Didn’t even open basic files and needless to say could not be updated on line. It’s a nightmare.

I had tried several methods to retrieve my password without costly application help to no avail. So, I had a Linux Mint start up disk which has allowed me to at least surf the web, but I’m more comfortable with my Windows XP.

No way to shorten this, sorry, it gets more complicated. The same “friend” that lent me the Windows XP Professional disk from he**, lent me his “genuine” copy of Windows XP Professional, installed it with his codes, and it started up asking me for, you guessed it, my admin password. What the ??? It turns out that it’s not legal for me to be using it anyway, so that point is mute.

My computer is an e-machine that came with Windows XP Home pre-installed. So here we have a hard drive with Windows XP Prof, non-accessible due to log on problems and illegalities, and Linux Mint, installed, which is not the right fit. It’s licensed to me and the codes are on the back.

Isn’t there some way I can install with my original codes off the internet?

If nothing else, does anyone know how to use the “Wine” programs in Linux that open Windows objects? It’s a cool OS, but very complicated.

If you were able to follow all that, can anyone think of a solution?

Thanks in advance, and don’t be too rough on me please. I’m not without average intelligence, but I am, after all, a blond behind the wheel (rather, keyboard in this case).

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Answers (11)
  • Macgyversite

    Ebay has Win XP Home OEM discs for sale cheap. You dont need the CD key as its on your PC. Get one of them. Wipe the HD. Install and activate.

  • Manueluribe

    One thing I will say. As soon as I crack an OS I create a “hidden” Admin account (along with some purpose oriented ones). Against all the rules, I put in the same pass… but it’s so obscure and long, that it’s tough to crack. Yet memorable enough for me (that dreampt it up over a long period) that I feel safe from brute-force attacks. It’s obviously not unbreakable, but who would bother?

    It’s my lazy way of getting around locking myself out. I keep a hidden key. Where I actually Root as a gig I’m not that complacent. But with my stuff, good enough.

  • Manueluribe

    I’d like to zap that one down. Clearly I’m speaking to peeps that know that better than me : )

  • manueluribe


    If you haven’t encrypted your directories, zap down an Ubuntu image. Burn it to disk and boot off that. You have access to all your files, in some cases better apps (all free and Open-source, mostly), you can use Wine to run Win apps…

  • Elijah Swartz

    Have you tried booting up to Kon-boot (free bootable tool that lets you have a temporary admin account) and deleting or changing your previous admin password? If your password was a simple one, you could also try Ophcrack (another free and bootable tool) and try to recover it.


    Hello, I was about to suggest contacting e-machines for a recovery disk…but I went to their site and in the download section for e-recovery, it says they do not provide e-recovery for windows XP PRO anymore….therefore, if they don’t support XP PRO, they don’t support home edition.  Here is the link if you want to try:

    Is there by any change a recovery partition in your hard drive? 

    — click on my computer
    — how many partitions are there?  Is there one named recovery?

    Did you do a clean install of xp pro?  or an upgrade?  I am assuming you did a clean install.  If you did, chances are your old operating system is gone…….and also your recovery partition if the whole drive was used.  I would say easy option at the moment is to install linux mint and continue using it until you could get a disk that matches your license, or buy a version of xp pro…Who knows, you might end up liking it and getting use to it.  That is the only version of XP  still available for sale…..If that is the only version you can still get, you might as well give windows 7 a try if your computer supports it.

  • Mjevolve

    hello kak .

    i might try this if i was stuck in such a situation .

    >wipe my hard drive clean of any traces of any and all the stuff on it and make it perfectly Clean  with Dariks Nuke and Boot disc . 

    >download a genuine copy of Win XP home and install it . 
    ( i found this ISO link on Pirate Bay . it should be clean . atleast the comments report it to be working .)

    >and then activate my new installation with the codes that came with the PC .

    >and done .

    i dont know if this would work or not , but it sounds like it shouldnt fail either .!

    try and see ….