Although I know this sort of request probably isn't exactly what stackoverflow is for, I am desperately seeking help. One of my best friends recently passed away and his parents asked me if I knew a way to acces his laptop. The contents of his laptop (foto's etc) would be a slight comfort in their grief.

The laptop has a Windows 8 operating system and his account is linked to his @live account. I already checked with Microsoft, but their policy states that they are not allowed to arrange some sort of password reset for the next of kin.

I already did some prior research and came across some sort of portable usb linux client that had a program that tried a brute force attack. This however was unsuccesful.

I sincerely hope one of you is able to provide me with some information on how to proceed with this problem.



closed as off-topic by schroeder, Xander, M'vy, Stephane, SilverlightFox May 11 '15 at 10:10

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center." – schroeder, Xander, M'vy, Stephane
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I'm sorry that your friend died. Unfortunately, this is not a tech support forum. You can try talking to a local computer repair shop who can extract the files from the hard drive directly, or who can show you how. – schroeder May 9 '15 at 16:25

Looks like the photos are stored in hard disk. If you can find a way to remove the hard disk and connect it via USB, then possibly you can find the files you are looking for.

  • too much effort there is easier ways to do what the OP wants – Freedo May 9 '15 at 6:10
  • Easier ways are always good. That improves our method of solving problems. I'm yet to discover other alternatives – a3.14_Infinity May 9 '15 at 6:14
  • removing the HD and connect on another PC is well beyond most of the people...i've just answered – Freedo May 9 '15 at 6:23

There are two easy ways I know to do that:

One is using Kon-Boot iso images. You can do that even via your Android phone or USB/DVD but I can't do a step by step here because it would be very long. See a very good article by Offensive Security on how to bypass Windows 8/OSX screen this way here.

Second is using what you are trying to do: booting with a live Linux and access and copy the data. There are many tutorials on how to do that on Internet and again I can't write step by step here, so see these sources here and here.

  • Live CD approach dint strike me, even though I had known. This would be easier approach I guess if you know how to just change bout options to bit from CD. – a3.14_Infinity May 9 '15 at 6:34

I've used a software called Windows Gate to disable password validation in Windows systems. I haven't used it on Windows 8 personally, but it has worked on every other Windows system, servers and otherwise. It is part of the Hiren's Boot CD package, which you can download and burn to a CD. I used the following steps:

  1. Boot from CD
  2. Boot into miniXP environment
  3. Launch Windows Gate
  4. Using Windows Gate to disable passwords - theres a few easy to use ways inside the software you can try
  5. Reboot and login without a password

You'll probably be able to access all his files once you hit the miniXP environment, but you can go the full length of disabling password validation if necessary. If he used some sort of encryption on his files, I won't be much help here.

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