Project 13: Using the Ultimate Boot CD to Create Admin. Accounts (15 pts.)

What you need

Purpose

Windows passwords are easily bypassed, unless the BIOS prevents booting from other media, or the entire hard drive is encrypted.

Bypassing a forgotton Windows password is a common help desk task. It can be done with any Linux boot disk, but it's easiest with the Ultimate Boot CD.

Downloading the UBCD ISO File

Go to this page. Enter the username and password given in class. In the "CNIT 123" section, download the UBCD.

Download VMs and ISOs

Shutting Down the Windows Server 2008 Virtual Machine

Open VMware Player. Click "Open a Virtual Machine".

If your virtual machine's State is "Powered Off", as shown below, that's good.

If not, start the VM, click the Start button, and shut it down normally.

Configuring the VM to use the ISO File

In VMware Player, in the left pane, ensure that "Win-2008-NETLAB" is highlighted.

On the lower right, click "Edit virtual machine settings".

In the left pane of the "Virtual Machine Settings" window, click CD/DVD. On thr right side, click "Use ISO image file". Click the Browse... button and navigate to the UBCD>iso file you downloaded.

At the top right, make sure that "Connect at power on" is checked.

Then click OK.

Lengthening the Bootup Process

We need to adjust the BIOS in the virtual machine, which is easier if it pauses when booting up.

Click Start, Computer. Open the drive and folder containing your Windows Server 2008 virtual machine.

Open the "Windows Server 2008 2.vmwarevm" folder.

Right-click the "Windows Server 2008 2.vmx" file and click "Open with...", as shown below.

In the "Open with" box, in the right center, click the down-arrow to show the Other Programs.

Find Wordpad and click it. (Notepad doesn't work well for this.)

Clear the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file box.

Click OK.

The "Windows Server 2008 2.vmx" file opens in Wordpad. Scroll to the bottom and carefully type in this line, ensuring that is is exactly correct, including capitalization:

bios.bootDelay = "5000"
Your screen should now look like the image below (although you're using WordPad, not Notepad).

In Wordpad, click File, Save. Close Wordpad.

Adjusting the BIOS Boot Options

In VMware Player, start your Windows VM. VMware usually pops up some boxes telling you unimportant things, like some USB device you could use. Close them quickly.

You should see a black screen with a message at the bottom, saying "Press F2 to enter SETUP", as shown below.

Click in the black VMware Player window and press the F2 key on the keyboard. If you are too slow doing this, Windows will start. If that happens, log in and shut Windows down again normally.

When you succeed, you will see the BIOS, as shown below.

In the BIOS, press the right-arrow key on the keyboard three times to select "Boot Menu".

Press the down-arrow key on the keyboard enough times to select "CD-ROM Drive", as shown below.

Press the + key on the keyboard (using the Shift key) several times, to "CD-ROM Drive" to the top of the list, as shown below.

Press the F10 key on the keyboard to save changes.

Press the Enter key to confirm.

Booting from the Ultimate Boot CD Image

The virtual machine should boot from the CD. When you see the screen shown to the right on this page, accept the default selection of 'Launch "The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows"', and press the Enter key.

When you see a box saying "Select shell to start", don't click anything--just wait for it to close.

When you see a box saying "Network support is not started yet. Do you want to start network support now?" click No.

Troubleshooting

If your computer cannot boot from the UBCD, and crashes with the Blue Screen of Death, that means your hardware requires a driver that is not included in the UBCD image. If that happens, skip this project and do Proj X7: Bypassing Windows Logins with UBCD (2014) instead. That uses a Linux-based boot disk which is more likely to work.

Using Password Renew to Create a New Administrator User

When you see the desktop, click Start, Programs, "Password Tools", "Password Renew".

In the "Password Renew for NT's v. 1.1 BETA" box, in the lower right, click the "Select a target" button. In the "Browse for folders" box, expand"(C:) Local Disk", click the WINDOWS folder, and click OK, as shown below.

In the "Password Renew for NT's v. 1.1 BETA" box, in the left pane, click "Create a new Administrator user".

In the right pane, enter a user name of drevil and a password of P@ssw0rd, in both password boxes, as shown below.

In the left pane, click Install. A box should pop up saying "Password Renew for NTs is successfully done!", as shown below.

Saving a Screen Image

Make sure Make sure the "Password Renew for NTs is successfully done!" message is visible.

Press Ctrl+Alt to release the mouse from the Virtual Machine.

Press Shift+PrintScrn. That will copy the whole desktop to the clipboard.

Open Paint and paste in the image.

Saving this file may be a bit confusing, because Windows is not running from the hard disk, and the usual folders such as "Documents" are not easy to find. Navigate carefully to "C:\Users\Student\Documents" and save it there. Another alternative is to take a photo of the screen with your cellphone.

Save the image with the filename "Your Name Proj 13". Use your real name, not the literal text "Your Name". YOU MUST SUBMIT AN IMAGE OF THE WHOLE DESKTOP TO GET FULL CREDIT!

Testing the New Account

Remove the UBCD from the drive.

From the virtual machine's desktop, click Start. Shut down the virtual machine and restart it.

Let Windows start up normally.

Log in with a username of drevil and a password of P@ssw0rd, as shown below.

Protecting Your Computers From This Attack

There are two strong defenses against this attack: full-disk encryption and keeping the server locked in a secure room so the attacker can't get physical access to it.

A BIOS password to prevent booting from the CD would slow an attacker down a bit, but all you need to do is open the system unit and remove the motherboard battery to defeat that.

Turning in your Project

Send the image to: cnit.123@gmail.com with a subject line of "Proj 13 From Your Name", replacing Your Name with your own first and last name. Send a Cc to yourself.

Last Modified: 3-29-17 7:24 am