21 July 2017

643. 'Hacking' a windows 10 computer w/o password

The scenario: a colleague's masters student had finished, and returned his university issued laptop. He didn't write down the password, and no he can't remember it. It's running Windows 10.

My colleague wants to use the laptop for a bit of testing. No IT support around, so can't reinstall windows.

It has Ubuntu installed as well.We have the password for it.

The local admin account in windows was not activated.

I looked at http://www.hackcave.net/2015/10/hack-windows-10-login-password-in-2.html, https://www.ghacks.net/2014/11/12/how-to-enable-the-hidden-windows-10-administrator-account/ and http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:XXlk7evcUggJ:www.thewindowsclub.com/net-user-command-windows+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

1. Boot into windows 10. Hold 'shift' while clicking on 'Shutdown', in order to force a proper shutdown rather than hibernation.

2. Boot into Linux (in this case it was a dual boot setup, but you could boot from a linux cd or usb stick). Mount the windows partition, open a terminal and navigate to Windows/System32. Rename cmd.exe to sethc.exe and sethc.exe to cmd.exe. Restart.

3. Boot into windows. When you get the log in screen, hit 'shift' 5-6 times. You'll now get a terminal with admin powers!

4. Activate the administrator account so that safe mode becomes useful:
net user administrator /active:yes
net user administrator *

Set the password.

5. Add a new user (users: john, password: b3ngalt0r1n.) and give it admin capabilities:
net user john b3ngalt0r1n. /add
net localgroup administrators john /add

Hold 'shift' while clicking on Shutdown

6. Boot into linux, and swap cmd.exe and sethc.exe back.

7. Boot into windows.

19 July 2017

642. Garmin GPSMap 64S and the weirdest hardware bug...

Last year I bought a Garmin GPSMap 64S (https://www.ryda.com.au/garmin-gpsmap-64s-handheld-gps) and while it has objectively made my life a lot more amazing (being able to just walk, without having to look for often hard-to-find maps before and printing them, gives you a great sense of freedom), it comes with a weird bug.

If you change the batteries (runs on 2xAA), you might not be able to turn it back on. I did some troubleshooting:
* If you change the batteries quickly -- within 5-10 minutes -- it would turn back on
* Otherwise the only way to turn the GPS back on was to plug it into your computer -- or another power source such as a phone battery bank -- using the USB cable

I sent the device back to Ryda, but when they tested it they had no issues turning it back on. Egg + Face.

Well, I finally figured it out -- it all comes down to how you put the batteries back in.

Right before Left

If you put the device face down as shown in the photo, you need to put the RIGHT battery in BEFORE the LEFT one, and the device will start fine.

If you put the left battery in before the right one, you'll need to hook the GPS up via the USB cable to a power source to start it.

WHY it's like that, and whether it's a manufacturing defect only present in my device, I don't know. I'm just happy that it's working consistently now.

641. Rant: Why is it so hard to comment on blogspot?

I'd like to respond to people who leave comments on my posts, but for some reason it's become so difficult that I normally never get around to it.

Although firefox and chrome hasn't worked for commenting for a long time (in spite of turning off adblockers, cookie blockers etc.) Epiphany ('Web' in Gnome 3) used to do the trick. Not even that works properly anymore -- I was forced to post as anonymous in the end, rather than using my google account.

The steady march of progress...

PS Thanks to everyone who posts feedback. I do read everything and appreciate that you take the time to leave comments. I just might not be able to respond...