Why is my Windows password log-in box acting strange?

By thinkstwice ·
I have a Dell Latitude 600 with Windows XP Professional. First, this is a little long, because I want to give some "background info" as to a few things that happened & what I did, leading up to this particular issue, in case it's all related.

I thought I had gotten a virus or something, because one day last week, shut down my laptop for the night, then the next day when I turned it back on I got the message, "Windows cannot load the locally stored profile. Possible causes: Insufficient security rights or a corrupt local profile." It also said, "An I/O operation initiated by the registry failed unrecoverably. The registry could not read in, or write out, or flush one of the files that contain the system's image of the registry." Then it said, "Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you in with a temporary profile."

I searched and could not find a reason for this happening. As I have lots of things on Word that I did not want to lose (papers I've written and/or started for school, etc.), so I did what suggestion I did find that would prevent me from losing anything: I created another profile, and copied & pasted the files and folders from my original profile
into this new one. After that I did something else (which I can't remember now) like system restore or last known good configuration. Something that did cause my old profile to show up at login when I restarted my computer.

I used my computer for several days with 3 profile options showing up on the login screen (I did create a 3rd one, as a backup, just in case, at the time I created the second one). Then while reading different computer tech sites (just reading, like I do a lot just for the info and knowledge), I realized I had been going into my computer profile for several days without a password. So I created one on my main profile, then deleted the other two "temporary" profiles.

I had trouble deleting the first temp profile when I attempted. I would click on "Delete Profile" (without saving files from it onto the desktop of my current profile, because I hadn't done anything in that profile). I clicked "Delete" and then my computer would just hang ... I waited and waited for it to delete and get over with, but it never did. I had to "end program" because it was "not responding." I tried several times to delete it, but it kept hanging. So after "researching" on the net what to do when you "can't delete a user profile," I did something, only again I can't remember what. It might have been in the system management ... it was somewhere where I actually clicked on the profile and deleted it that way. I may have been in the registry keys, which I often do to "look around" and "try things I read about." Yes, I know, I shouldn't do that because I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing. But I was scared that the reason it wouldn't let me delete the user profile is because someone had gotten into my system and was in there using it under that profile, and that is why it wouldn't delete (because I hadn't put any passwords on the profiles to log in with .. I'm paranoid, I know)

Anyway, whatever I did, worked. The other 2 profiles got deleted. I had also "disabled" a Guest User Account that was not actually showing up at login, but I noticed it was still "enabled" and available to use (I did this because I "read somewhere" that this was best to do for security puposes).

I then went in and created a password for my user profile. I continued reading tech sites and doing some of the things they suggested to "speed up" my computer's login and logoff time, by "altering" some registry keys. And actually, it was a "Download" from this website, something about 4 ways to make your startup and shutdown times faster (maybe from the "Hack Windows XP" series of downloads?) I do know it was "4" ways or things or hacks or something in the title. Bad, I know, but nothing real bad. And no, I did not back up the registry before doing so. I only "altered" 3 things, I think.

Anyway, I shut down after all of the above and went to start up my laptop today. I got the windows login screen, with my user profile and password box. However, even though my password is 15 characters long, it will only let me type 10 characters. Nothing more. Yet, when I use the arrow key to back up over the "dots" (the hidden characters), I count 13. I did NOT type 13 characters, only 10, because it will only LET me put in 10. So how did 13 get there? I've tried everything. I hit F10 while booting up so that I get the administrator's login, but the same thing happens - I can only type 10 characters, and the cursor stops.

Has anyone had this happen to them? And what about the other 3 characters that are "mysteriously" there when I backed up over the dots to count what I had typed? Does anyone know what I can do? Do you think my computer is infected? (even though virus/malware/spyware scans didn't show anything)

I really appreciate any help at all with this matter, and how I can get back into my laptop without losing all the papers I typed for school. Also, I bought this laptop awhile ago from a stranger, so I have no discs to reload Windows XP Prof. or the MS Office Prof. 2003 Suite that came loaded ... I CAN'T lose that stuff!!! I'm currently using my desktop PC for purposes of researching this problem. Thanks so much to anyone & everyone who took the time to read through my problem, and sorry I mess around so much on my computer and then can't remember what I even did. Thank you SO much for your help ...

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All Answers

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Long story

by acidbomb In reply to Why is my Windows passwor ...

Do your password has characters with "Alt" key? ( Alt+ numbers) if the answer is yes then you should notice that you can only work with numpad to enter the numbers while holding the Alt key.

does your administrator user has password? if no then try login in with user "administrator" without any passwords! maybe you can login.

you can remove your administrator password if you have a windows cd...

1.Insert your Windows XP CD into your CD drive and boot your computer. If you receive the message "press any key to boot from CD," press any key.

2.Press Enter to setup Windows. After accepting the license agreement, you wil be asked if you want start a Repair process.

3.Press R to begin the Repair process. Setup will now check your disks and then start copying files, which can take several minutes. After this, reboot. Let the computer boot normally (do not press a key to boot from CD).

4.Keep your eye on the lower left hand side of the screen. When you see the Installing Devices progress bar, press SHIFT + F10. This will open a command line console.

5.ype "NUSRMGR.CPL" at the prompt and press Enter. You have just gained graphical access to your User Accounts in the Control Panel.

6.If you want to log on without having to enter your new password, you can type "control userpasswords2" at the prompt and choose to log on without being asked for password. After you?ve made your changes close the windows, exit the command box and continue on with the Repair

7.Once the Repair is done, you will be able to log on with your new password (or without a password if you chose not to use one or if you chose not to be asked for a password). Your programs and personalized settings should remain intact.

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Password Box Problem

by thinkstwice In reply to Long story :D

No, I did not use ALT with any of my keys. And I don't have a Windows CD because I bought this laptop from someone off of Craigslist back in about March. I did not get a Windows CD with it.

I also tried to log in as administrator without a password, but it doesn't work. It requests my password, also. And same problem, won't let me type in anymore than 10 characters. I don't even know if my "new" password would work because it won't let me type more than 10 characters, and my password is 14 characters long. I just don't understand what is blocking it from accepting more than 10 characters ....???

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Is this the Admin account?

by seanferd In reply to Why is my Windows passwor ...

If not, log in as the Administrator. If you didn't set a password for the Administrator account, it doesn't have one, so leave the field blank.

Also, just type in the full password for your recently created account, regardless. The text box may or may not show pips to represent all characters entered.

Overall, it doesn't sound like malware, but more like a problem with user profile corruption. (It happens.) It might even be that there is an error on the hard drive, so if you are able to get in, run chkdsk.

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OMG! You're Right!! Thank You!!! (to all who helped!)

by thinkstwice In reply to Is this the Admin account ...

You won't believe this ... I typed in my full 14-character password, and it ACCEPTED it ....I guess I just couldn't see the cursor moving past 10!

I have never done that before - paid any attention to the box and characters as I typed in my password. I think I'm too tired and on my computer too much lately!

Thanks to all of you, for your help!!

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Glad to hear it.

by seanferd In reply to OMG! You're Right!! Thank ...

Thing is, it is hard to see characters scrolling by when they are all the same. And if the field shows only so many, it's about the same visual result.

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As for the 13 dots in the PW field......

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Why is my Windows passwor ...

.... this is normal no matter how long your password is. You can have a 3 letter password and just as soon as you type it in and hit enter/tab, Windows will 'disguise' the contents of the Login PW box with 13 dots. Don't sweat it. Just type your 15 character password and forget what you see. If it accepts the PW, it doesn't matter what you see.

Also, it's entirely possible that you can only SEE 10 characters in the PW box and as you type more characters, the left most characters are scrolling out of sight.

I can't find anything at all about a maximum limit to the Windows XP login PW, although there WAS a 14 character limit in Windows 2000 if it had Terminal Services running. So, unless you've done something in your experimentation that would limit the size of the PW, there probably is no limit to the number of alphanumeric characters you can use. However, there MAY be a limit as to WHICH characters you can use. If you've used a reserved special character, such as an ampersand, in your password, you'll probably need to reset it from within THE 'Administrator' account.

As for messing around and not remembering what you did.... Welcome to the club! We've all 'learned' that way at one time or another! Just learn from your mistakes and next time WRITE IT DOWN!

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Max pwd is 127 char.

by seanferd In reply to As for the 13 dots in the ...

From what I've read in the past. W2K and above. Earlier versions, I believe the limit was 14 char.

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There was a 14....

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Max pwd is 127 char.

... the one and only article at MS I could even find was the one which mentioned the 14 character limit on W2K, but that was ONLY if it was running under Terminal Services.

I believe the 127 characters though... I was going to guess 31 or 63.... why not 127?

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LOL. That's probably because

by seanferd In reply to There was a 14....

all the documentation for Win98 and earlier is disappearing. Probably ME as well. :0!

Whoa! According to <i>The Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 98 Threat Mitigation Guide</i>, Win 98 supported only 8 char. I don't know if this is right or not, as I thought passwords were broken up into blocks of 7 char.

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