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Lock Out of Windows

So you want to know how to get back into Windows!

There are a few tricks, and all you need is a good Registry and a few other system files. BAM you're back in Windows. Now isn't that easy? That's all there is to it! Whether you have Windows 9x, ME, 2000 or 2008, XP or Vista, it's all the same. OK, so you didn't find that funny, but it is the truth, so long as no one formatted your hard drive and left you without an operating system. Let's assume that no one did and the hard drive is working and you didn't install any new hardware.

Most of the time that you are locked out of Windows it is due to a corrupt Registry or a hardware related problem, such as a mismatched driver. In some instances it is because a system setting was altered. In other cases, a system file was changed, added, or deleted. If you have a NTFS file system, any of the above errors could be a real big problem, but if you have prepared for it, it's not!

What you'll need to start with is a good insurance policy, one that covers all possible problems. This will help insure that you can get back into Windows in the event of a crash. You'll need to have the backups that are essential to repair Windows. You'll also need to make sure you have a stable system before creating the backups you'll use to fix Windows. At this time, I'll assume you have a stable system .

Secondly, it'll be important to know how to collect on your insurance policy, meaning to learn how and when to use your backups that we are going to create. If you are already locked out of Windows due to a corrupt Registry you can read our other newsletters, then come back to this page and read about how to make your insurance policy. For Windows 9x and Me read this, for 2000, 2003 and XP read this. And no matter what version of windows you may have you should also read this newsletter.

So now let's start with the setup of your insurance policy.

To insure a rebootable, Rebootable must be a Microsoft word, system due to a hardware error you will need to create a backup configuration. To do this:
1) Open the System Properties
2) Click on the Hardware Profiles tab (Note:In some Windows versions it is just the Hardware tab and an option for Hardware Profiles can be found there) 2003 click on the Advanced tab, then Hardware profiles.
3) Highlight the current configuration
4) Click on Copy
5) Create a new Profile naming it "Backup Configuration"
(Note:If you change hardware in the future you will need to delete this profile and create another one after the hardware installation is successful)

In Windows 2000, 2003, and XP you also has the option of creating a User Profile; do it.

Now, you'll create a new folder to save files and informational files in. On the NT Platform which is NT, 2000, 2003 and XP you should create a new folder in the Windows System folder. The Recovery Console (which we have not yet discussed ) will only allow you to work within the Windows Folder. So let's create a folder named "Repair" under the System folder, "C:\Windows\System32\Repair".

Next you'll need to create a Generic Text Printer in order to print to a file. 1) Open the Printer Applet in the Control Panel (located under Settings)
2) Select add a new printer.
3) Select local printer then select "File" as the Port (Windows 9x and ME 4) will ask for the port after you've selected the printer)
5) Select "Generic"In the manufacturers column
6) Select "Generic/Text Only" in the Printers column

If you have Windows 9x or ME open the Device Manager located in the Properties menu of "System Properties":
1) Highlight "My Computer",
2) Click on the Print button
3) Select "All Devices and System Summary".
4) Print this file to the new "Repair" folder you have created. You should name it something like HardConf.txt, try to keep it in 8.3 format for use in DOS.

If you have Windows 2000, 2003 or XP:
Open the "System Information" under the Accessories folder on the start menu.
1) Highlight the "Hardware Resources"
2) From the File menu select print.
3) Save the file as Hardconf.txt
4) Highlight the "Components" and print it and save it as Harddrvs.txt. These files will be saved to the Program Files\ Common Files\ Microsoft shared\ msinfo folder so you will need to move them to your new Repair folder.

What you have just done will now allow you to revert back to a good Registry hardware configuration which Windows loads at the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ System\ CurrentControlset Key. On the NT Platform you also have the ControlSet00? Keys. These are the different CurrentControlSet Keys that Windows will use, you cannot alter them manually.

You have also saved all the settings, IRQs, DMAs, drivers and everything else you may ever need to fix a hardware problem.

The hardware insurance policy is not complete unless you have a snapshot of all the files in the System folder. You need a snapshot of all the folders because Windows does not store all hardware drivers in the same folder. So get out your copy of Registry Watch and take a snapshot of the Windows Folder only. When it's done go to theRegistry Watch folder and cut and paste the file "Filelog.dat" to your new Repair folder.

In the event of a crash this snapshot will be able to tell you what files have been deleted, changed, or added to Windows.

At this point you should also create for reference a text file in the repair folder that tells you what each file is in the Repair folder is. Create this text file using notepad, do not use word or Wordpad, they may not work when you need to read this file.

In the coming newsletters I will discuss how to backup the Registry, how to save other files and what files to save. How to use these files that we have created and many other things that you will need to know if you ever loose your way in the Microsoft jungle.

If you are planning on formatting an NTFS hard drive you need to visit http://www.easydesksoftware.com/recovery.htm#Smart

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