Re: Cracking admin password on Win 2000; then putting it back?

From: Bill Unruh (
Date: 10/04/04

Date: 4 Oct 2004 16:31:12 GMT

Mark3324 <user@domain.invalid> writes:

]The issue of motive, intent, ethics, and so on have worked their way into
]this thread, so in response, I thought I'd explain. You can choose to believe
]it or not. (This post is posted to same three groups as the initial post, but
]most messages ended up only in

]I'm a free-lance consultant who is called into corporate environments to do
]tasks such as write training, user manuals, produce multimedia, and rework
]the overall production process (redesign flow, suggest tools, write best
]practices, etc.).

]My customers usually provide a cube and a computer, and said computer is
]usually locked down. In most cases it doesn't matter, since I'd rather work
]on my own PowerBook laptop. When it does matter, my boss will fill out a
]form to give me admin rights, and within 24 hours, I'm off and running.

]This present situation is a customer I've had for about seven years; they
]call me in for maybe three months at a time. Most of the time the PC and
]software they give me are sufficient. This time, however, things are

]It wasn't until the 19th day there -- last Friday, actually -- that I could
]log on to the network. Until then, employees had to give me files on CD and
]USB thumb drives, or send e-mail. The dept. director was furious it took so
]long, so he gave me his password so that I could log in using my Mac. Logging
]in with your personal computer is an offense punishable by being escorted out
]of the building, but he and several bosses way up the ladder said they'd make
]sure I was left alone (I have it in writing).

]So now I can log in, but I have no e-mail. I can't get my mail via the Web,
]because when IT detects you're navigating to such sites, you're blocked, and
]they block POP3 and IMAP as well. So when I know an e-mail is coming that I
]need, I pack up the laptop and head to a shopping center down the street
]where I've found WiFi. According to IT, it may take another 15 days to get a

]Then there are the applications. The PC has nothing I need, so I wanted to
]load up my own stuff then erase it when I was done with the project. Getting
]software is harder and takes longer than getting a mailbox.

]When you get down to it, the reason I *really* want to start working on their
]PC is because I want to ship my laptop off for service. I'm at a point in
]time where this project is my only one, and I can afford to be without my
]system for a few days. If this drags on and the project finishes and I've not
]sent off my machine, I'll have to live with it until some other situation
]presents itself.

]That said, if readers think my trying to break the password is unethical,
]well, so be it. As far as I'm concerned, I am *more* than ethical, since I'm
]charging them hourly for my screwing around and heading to the shopping

The way to do it is to point all this out to the people who hired you. If
they cannot whip their IT department into line, then you just have to write
them off-- the most ethical thing to do would be to tell them that because
they refuse to (or are incapable of) supply you with the working environment you need, you cannot
do your work. For you to do an end run around their IT is very very
dangerous. For you to use someone else's password is also dangerous.