Normally I live the box on and don't normally have to reboot.

Once in awhile I'll reboot twice, then export the registry which I should've done before my vacation but was too busy (this is all irrelevant anyway).

Well, when I went on vacation, I turned the computer off. When I came back, it started up fine. Today I decided to reboot because I had Internet Explorer open for a few days at a specific site (I have Firefox, love it, but find myself using IE--too often).

This time I'm prompted for a password. (NUTS!!) I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I never created a password for the OS. I try it over and over, XP wants a password.

So I'm thinking maybe I inadvertently created one even though I don't understand how this could have taken place; so, I leave the textbox blank and hit "Enter." XP loads.

Though it worked this time, I'm feelin kinda punchy about reboots.

I attempt to change my account through Control Panel, but only get the option to "Create" a password. No option to change it.

I've downloaded a program that will extract the pw in its encrypted form, then I can send upload it to a site and for $25 or so they'll decrypt it, but I don't want to spend money on something to which I shouldn't need.

If anyone knows the filename or registry entry, (and especially the encrypt/decrypt algorithms) I'd much rather do it myself if need be. Believe me, I have no nefarious schemes up my skivvies I just don't like running programs such as this.

Thank you so much for any details or advice.

Best to all...

joeblow

It's possible that by leaving the PC on, you've been hacked.

Anyway, first step if you haven't tried it is to boot into safe mode as Administrator (presumably there is a null password for this default account). You can then reset passwords for other accounts.

If you have tried this, and you still have an unexpected result, then I suspect a Trojan which will have to be disinfected.

hi joe, try what suspishio did, boot to safe mode and log-in as administrator..delete all the accounts which you did not create..but i think much better back-up all your data..then install a new OS..and install anti-virus and make sure that you always turned on the firewall on your system..

There is only one account... mine... the admin.

I decided to "add" a password to my account. At least the password now is mine rather than a hacker or the result of an OS error (which is what I think it is).

I use ZoneAlarm as my firewall and it doesn't allow anything to access my computer.

I don't understand why someone would hack through a firewall, into my computer, and create a null password. Why not simply lock me out with a simple password?

However, I did install a program just prior to this happening which slipped my mind: Quick Time Player.