How can I restore my personal files after losing my admin password and restoring Windows?

ed February 12, 2011

I have a Compaq Presario with Windows 7. Recently, I lost my admin password and had someone return Windows to a somewhat usable state.

I had a couple of restore disks and attempted to return Windows to where it was prior to this incident. However, in the process I have noticed that my restore files have changed to the files that are currently on the system. None of the HP files are on the computer and I have lost media center.

Short of a total restore, is ther any way I can get my things back?

  1. Juan Marco
    October 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    If you want to reset the password and restore your windows files pick up the ERD Commander CD and then start it during the process of computer start up

  2. Prithvididwana
    July 16, 2011 at 10:50 am

    if yopu want reset your admin password so you have need a Boot ERD CD(Password Break) and reset your password and restore your windows

  3. Rodney
    July 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Check to see if you have a file called windows.old. When you used the install disks, it should have saved some of your stuff in that file.

    • Aibek
      July 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Ataully that directory should have everything from your old setup.

  4. Christopher Royall
    July 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm


    As there are so many different ways that your friend could have returned your system to a somewhat usable state, there are also so many different answers that can apply for Windows 7.  

    If (and this is an assumption on my part) your friend did not do a clean install (hard drive wiped and Windows 7 reinstalled), there are 2 possibilities that stick out to me.

    1.  He used 3rd party software to reset the administrator password.

    2.  He did an in place upgrade/re-install to the same system.  (system restore would no longer point to the correct files after this happens, as it was reinstalled as well, and would only maintain correct records for what happens after this point.

    Due to the fact you state that you no longer have Media Center, I would probably believe he did the 2nd option.  Also, due to the fact that you stated you no longer have Media Center, it sounds like your more concerned with program file loss, over actual document loss, which is easier to fix, and is what I will address in this for Windows 7 (as that is the operating system you stated).

    To get back Media Center:

    1.  Click Start
    2.  Click Control Panel
    3.  Click Programs
    4.  Under 'Programs and Features' Click 'Turn Windows features on or off'
    5.  Expand 'Media Features' by clicking the Plus button to the left of it.
    6.  Click the box to the left of 'Windows Media Center' to toggle the check mark for it to on (make sure that the check mark appears.
    7.  Click OK

    After clicking OK, it may ask you to put in your Windows 7 DVD, just place it in as requested.  After verifying this was successful you can use this feature to turn back on/off other features which you may be missing as well.  Simply go through the list and check what your missing.  However, if you are unsure of what a feature is, it is best to leave it as is, until finding out more information, as removal of a feature can hinder other features and/or applications from running, and adding a feature that you don't need or your system really is fully prepared for can cause a hindrance on that stability of the machines resources.

    One further note:  If you are missing documents, and your friend did an in-place upgrade/reinstall, then you may search your Boot Drive (usually C), for a folder that is named 'Windows.Old'.  If this folder exists, your documents would have been moved to it, and are easily obtainable from there as well.

    Hope this helps to answer everything for you.

    February 14, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Hello, you can try this procedure to recover you files after a system restore. These steps work for xp/vista. I have not try them on windows 7 but they should work. I advise making a back up of your system and I would also recommend for you to make a copy of this steps or print it if possible.

    -- start
    -- click on My Computer
    -- double click C:
    -- Documents and settings
    -- Move your mouse on every user on this folder. Find a user folder that shows empty and when trying to open it does not let you because of permissions.
    -- It is very important to write the name and information for this folder.

    Once you have found your user folder before restore follow these steps:

    -- Restart computer and keep pressing F8
    -- Highlight Safe Mode and press Enter
    -- Pick operating system and press enter
    -- Click Administrator then enter
    -- Click on Yes to use safe mode

    Once you are on safe mode do the following:
    -- Click Start and My Computer
    -- double click C:
    -- Documents and Settings
    -- Right click the folder name you found on the steps before
    -- click Properties
    -- Click Security
    -- Click Advanced
    -- click on owner tab and then click the check box to select the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects option
    -- Click apply and click on yes to the message
    -- Click OK and then ok.
    -- Restart computer in normal mode

    Once computer starts in normal mode and you are log in with your user name:

    -- Create a new folder on your desktop with an obvious name like "old"
    -- open created folder create a new folder inside. Name it something obvious like "before restore"
    -- click start
    -- click on computer
    -- Double click on C:
    -- Documents and Settings
    -- Open the user folders until you find the folder where you changed the permissions

    Once you found the folder with your old settings, do the following:

    -- Go to the location of the new folder you created and open the folder you created inside
    -- Make sure to write down the user name
    -- Go back to the documents and settings folder
    -- click on the user folder where you changed the permissions
    -- move your files from this folder to the new folder you created. If you created your folder on your desktop, the path to this folder should be something like C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDesktopoldbefore restore
    -- It might be necessary to reinstall programs you lost.

  6. tunchi_1939
    February 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    In Windows XP I use a LiveCD of Linux-Ubuntu.- I suppose it will work with Windows 7 also.-- In any case, it will not damage your system installed.- You must restart your PC with the LiveCD, then Ubuntu will be loaded in memory, IT WILL NOT BE INSTALLED IN YOUR HARD DISK, unless you specify to do that.- It is used to test the Ubuntu system.- Once Ubuntu is in your memory, you can browse all of your directories existing in your hard disk.- Then, you can select what files to be saved in CD's, DVD's or USB.- Hope this help.

    • vishal
      August 1, 2011 at 10:05 am

      i also thinks that, this solution will work i am not using Windows 7, but using Windows XP 2000 Professional SP 3 and Ubuntu Unix 10.10 on my Laptop. Ubuntu directly shows System or hidden files of Windows XP , and you can manipulate them directly from unix environment.

  7. Anonymous
    February 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

    well if you didnt format the Compaq Presario and if you would like to restore files then you must use some softs like


    PC INSPECTOR™ File Recovery

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