Since I work in IT, I’m occasionally asked to do tech support for family and ex-girlfriends, even though that’s not my area of expertise. Yesterday a friend had a problem I’d never seen before.
After bootup, she would be presented with the standard Windows XP login screen, with only one user account available for login. She clicks her name, enters her password, and then gets a message “your password has expired, you must enter a new one” or however the exact text goes.
So she enters a new password but then gets “You do not have permission to change your password”, which prevents her from logging in and takes her back to the login screen.
After trying a few different things to no avail, I tried googling the problem on my iPhone. But I couldn’t even find anyone with the same problem, let alone a solution.
Safe mode to the rescue
I tried booting Win XP into safe mode, and luckily at the login prompt I could now choose to login as Administrator (with no password!). Once inside I checked the account my friend was trying to login as, and sure enough the “User cannot change password” box was checked, and the “Password never expires” box was unchecked.
I restored the settings back to how they should be – password never expires and user can change the password. So that fixed the problem, but I was still wondering how those settings got set like that. My friend sheepishly admitted that she’d been playing around with those settings a while ago when she had password problems with her ISP. D’oh!