I needed to get a file off my computer before I left for six months. It is a license file that must be moved using an application. Well the computer came up with an error saying it wouldn't boot to the hard drive. I think it may have said that the boot sector was bad. So I googled whatever it said on another computer and found a procedure that explained how to use the repair console to copy over the backup sector. It worked and the computer booted up. But then I couldn't access anything even the control panel. I figured out that this copy over of the boot sector had blown away all of the user accounts and only them OEM users were there. I found a post that confirms this will happen. I ran out of time and had to leave things as they were.

So fast forward six months.

I'm still in the same situation can't acess things. So I've booted to safe mode and tried to see if I could take ownership of all the files and allow the owner user to have permission to the directory for the app to see if that would help. But I still get the "access denied you may not have permission " and I can't get into the control panel.

Do you have any sugestions to move forward or get access to the control panel again? Thanks for anything you can tell me.

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I am sure there are more correct ways or fixing your problem but I think the easiest is using the program "Unlocker"
After you download and run the program, when you try to access the files and get the error message, click OK and umlocker will popup and ask what you want to do, unlock or delete the file. You request it to do unlock and it will either unlock the file then or after a reboot so that you can then access the file normally.

How will this allow access to the control panel items? What is restricting access to running the programs. It seems that in order to use the utility you sugested I need to understand this so I know where to apply it? Thanks!

Hi again,
This article tells you how to take ownership of files in XP:-
From what I understand from your post, there is something going wrong somewhere and this method may not work.
With the unlocker program, the file is unlocked or a explanation of the problem is given for you to follow up.
You said that you booted into safe mode but could not get ownership there, did you log-in in safe mode as the administrator and try and make a new user with admin rights?

Thanks for your reply. I did boot in safe mode and log in as the admin. I tried to get into the control panel to set up a new user as an admin. But I can't get in because it says access denied.

I then took over ownership of all the files to the admins group. Then I tried to run the app. I didn't know if it would run in safe mode but it didn't matter cause it said the same access denied you may not have permission...

I also tried taking ownership to the owner account. That didn't work either?

Is there another way to setup a new user with admin rights?

If you have done everything suggested in the site i supplied, I would suggest the only other way is a repair/install:-

When all else fails and before you format your hard drive and start again from scratch, you can try and repair windows from your installation disk.
If you follow these instructions you will only repair your windows installation and you will not lose any data you have installed or saved. (EXCEPT:-)
If you have downloaded a service pack and updates and do not have it on your installation disk, you will have to reinstall those upgrades after the repair. You can allow windows to automatically download and install these updates (“Auto updates” turned on) or go to the windows update site and do it yourself by going to the update site.

Note:- This is when you need a slipstreamed installation disk, if you can use a friends PC and make a Slipstreamed copy of your XP OS disk, it will save a lot of time with the repair. (http://lifehacker.com/386526/slipstream-service-pack-3-into-your-windows-xp-installation-cd) (Integrate your windows serial number and your PC drivers on the same disk for an unattended installation.)

To Repair Windows XP from your installation CD…..

1. Re-start PC with Windows XP CD in drive (Have your serial number handy)
2. As pc starts press “F12” (for most PCs) for boot options (Or check start up screen for access to your Boot Options.)
3. Press any key when prompted,
4. Scroll to and select “Boot from CD” and press enter.
5. Press “Enter” to set up windows XP, Do not press “R” at this screen.
6. Press “F8” to accept license agreement
7. Wait until windows displays your current version of XP and asks “To repair the selected windows XP installation press R”
8. Press “R” now! NOTE:- If you select any other option you could lose all the last windows installation and will have to reinstall all your other software again later.
9. Enter serial number when prompted.
10. Wait for files to be copied
11. When asked to adjust Regional language etc, click “Next” as it is still set.
12. When asked if you want to register this version of windows, Click “No, Not at this time” as it is still registered. And press “Next”
13. Re-boot your PC.
14. If you are still having problems after that, then you will need to think about backing up your data and formatting your drive and doing a fresh install.

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