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Unable to reset passwords after repair

I had an Acer desktop pc which I boiught from Best Buy. The system board had to be repalced. After repair, the tedchnician was unable to reset the password on the pc. When I bought the Acer from Best Buy, I did not receive a disk with the operating system on it. No one told me to burn a copy of the Windows Vista OS. How can I blow away the passwords on the PC?

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If the PC is asking for a password before it even boots to Windows, that is because the system board itself has had one set up. If the tech who repaired your computer installed a used system board, it needs the password cleared. This is normally done by changing the position of a jumper on the system board before starting the system. The tech should know to look for such a jumper. If the tech is totally unable to clear the password on the system board, have him replace it again. He may have gotten a defective part.

(Used parts are very common with system board replacement. They are pulled from other computers and are often supplied as warranty parts by the manufacturer. If your PC was out of warranty and you paid for the repair, used system boards are usually all that are available at reasonable cost.)

Changing the system board will not add any password to Vista. Once you get past the system board boot password, Windows will start normally. Nothing on the hard drive has been affected (unless the system board was causing data errors before it failed).

As far as backups go, computers are seldom shipped with backup CD's today. Acers, like other brands, have a utility to burn a restore set. As part of the out-of-box setup, they display a message telling you to make the CD's. As a last resort, most companies do offer CD's for sale, but they usually charge way too much.

If you do need to reinstall Vista and don't have a restore set, get a Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD (maybe the tech already has a copy). This allows you to install a copy of the Vista version you had, and then you can activate it yourself using the product key on the label attached to the PC case. You would need to go online to Acer's website and get the drivers needed for the system board and any special system hardware (card readers, special function keyboard buttons, etc.) and install those yourself. There is a benefit to doing this kind of installation: you wind up with a computer free of all the preloaded software that is mostly worthless anyway. You have a basic computer that you can put on only the stuff you want or need.

Posted on Dec 08, 2008

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