How do I recover a Windows 8 computer locked in offline mode?

Jbeem6 May 15, 2014
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I need help, please. I bought a Gateway all-in-one desktop computer with Windows 8 installed on it. I made the mistake of turning off the WiFi, and then turned off my computer. Now when I log in, it won’t let me. It states, “Your PC is offline. Please sign in with the last password used on this PC.”

Well, I never used it offline before. I called Gateway, and the representative had an accent, so I had a hard time understanding him. So I went into the BIOS utility setup. I installed an administrative password, but that didn’t seem to work. I called Gateway, and they said that I would need to reload factory settings and lose ALL my FILES and EVERYTHING on it! I’m hoping someone can help me because I really don’t want to have to do this. Does anyone have any idea how I can bypass this? I thought of my options:

  1. Somehow access safe-mode from the BIOS utility setup to get into my computer, so I can change the setting back on WiFi;
  2. Boot the computer using a flashdrive that has default settings from my laptop;
  3. Is it possible to set up another account (separate from the Administrator)? I have two keys ‘F7-Load User Default Settings’ and ‘F9-Load Default Settings’, so I was wondering if I could click on ‘F8- Save as User Default Settings’ so it will save all my files and programs currently on it, then restart my computer and log it using the key, ‘F7-Load User Default Settings’ and all my files will still be there? I would ignore the F9-Load Default Settings, which I’m assuming is for the original factory settings;
  4. Back up my files on a flashdrive and reset my computer (which I think Gateway said was my only option).

If any of these options work, can someone please explain to me how to do it? I would really appreciate any help, please.

Thank you!

  1. TwistedTrunk
    May 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    One way I would suggest (possibly the easiest if you're open to the idea of doing the factory reset) is to use any one of a number of Linux live CDs - they're basically just a quick download of a linux distro and burn it on a CD/DVD. Best part is that they run as stand-alone, i.e., no install required.

    Once loaded, then boot your computer via that CD/DVD and use the file manager in the Linux distro to save your files to a USB stick and you're done. I use an old version of SLAX as my linux distro but really you can pretty much use any one with a good file manager. A good example would be Knoppix =>

    It's really quite easy, give it a shot and you'll see.

  2. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 15, 2014 at 1:21 am

    I got this problem once as my login is with my email ID. I always login in offline mode, as after login i have to connect to Internet with a user name and password login. This prompt came once after changing my password. So, when after changing my password, the next day when I tried to login with the new password, it gave me this error. So, I just tried the previous password and it logged me right in and then I connected to the Internet. This previous password login worked for a few days, till I again received this error prompt, and I tried the current password and that worked. Now, I login with the current password.

    So my assumption is that Windows 8 must obviously saving a login credential locally also. However, after a password change, it may take a few days to sync and store the new password in the local credential. Till then it maintains the previous password and in offline mode authenticates with it. So, would suggest you to just try the previous password in offline mode login. Worth a try!!! Worked for me.

  3. Kannon Y
    May 15, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Hey Jbeem6, I'm sorry about the problem with logging into Windows 8. I've noticed similar issues with it. Microsoft did not really think Windows 8 through.

    Have you tried wiring an ethernet cable to directly connect the desktop to the router? It's really easy to do - if you don't have one, just pick up a really inexpensive RJ45 cable ( and hook it up. It's just a plug-and-play kind of deal. If you do have one (most people have several somewhere), it will probably be connecting your modem to the router. Here's a tip on how to locate it:

    You'll notice that the Internet comes into your house from a wire. This wire plugs into your modem. Your modem (if you don't have a router-modem combo) sends this signal to the router. You can disconnect the ethernet cable from the router and run this directly into your computer through its ethernet ports (these look like the ports that telephones connect to).

    If you don't have a stand-alone router, and also don't have an ethernet cable, you will need to buy one and connect it to your router/modem. Then run this cable to your computer.

    Something else: I would suggest removing the administrative password from the BIOS, as this is not something you will use on a regular basis and will be easily forgotten. The only thing in the BIOS/UEFI that might help you is Microsoft's Secure Boot, which has a special tie into the Windows 8 operating system. For right now, though, you should be able to fix this issue by using an Ethernet cable.

    Hope that helps. Good luck!