Windows Home server access without a password
Someone thought it was a good idea to use an HP Data Vault X510 as a backup device for a Windows 2003 SBS server. Well, not really the thing I’d choose but as it was already there I was going to use it.
First problem was not knowing the Administrator password, and of course no documentation on anything that thing does. :-/
Second problem was the missing recovery disc. No disc, no restoring the server and assigning a new password. Time for some oldfashioned hacking.
First off used the Hirens boot cd to blank the administrator password but that wasn’t enough to gain access as Windows doesn’t allow remote access without a password set. I pulled the first disk, hooked it up to another Windows machine and used regedit to load the SOFTWARE hive from (sysdrive):\windows\system32\config. There I added the DWORD value IsRemoteAccessUser to (hivename)\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\User Manager\Users\Administrator and set it to 1. This way I would be able to use Remote Desktop to connect to the Data Vault.
To actually be able to login I also needed to load the SYSTEM hive and change LimitBlankPasswordUse to 0 in (hivename)\ControlSet001\Control\Lsa and ControlSet003 (or 002).
After plugging the disk back in and booting up I was able to log into the server and set things right.