How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Tech Support Your Own Question

Tech Support
Tech Support, IT Consultant
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 176
Experience:  CompTIA A+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
Type Your Computer Question Here...
Tech Support is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have an Acer Aspire 5100 laptop, with Windows Vista Home

This answer was rated:

I have an Acer Aspire 5100 laptop, with Windows Vista Home Premium. We are trying to do the same kind of factory restore, using Alt and F10 as it worked previously thank you for your help on that one. The problem however is bigger, the user had a password XXXXX Empowering Technology on the Acer. He cannot remember his password, and he wishes to do the restore. Is there any way this password XXXXX be reset?
Hi there! I'd be happy to assist you with this. Yes, there is a way to recover this password. It is stored in the TOOLS\AIMDRS.DAT on the hidden recovery partition of the computer. Depending on the age of the machine, you may be able to do this in the Disk Management console (Start > Run > diskmgmt.msc > Enter). Once there, look in the upper pane for a disk symbol without a letter. You can also find this on the visual diagram of your drive in the lower pane. It would appear as a block of your hard drive without a letter. If you find either of these, right-click and select Change Drive Letter, then click Add and select a drive letter to assign to the recovery drive. Once it is unhidden, look for AIMDRS.DAT in the TOOLS folder. Open a Notepad window (Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad) and open this file. It will contain your password.

Please let me know if you are unable to unhide your service partition (PQSERVICE) using the Disk Management console, as we can pursue the function with another tool.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the answer, we are starting here.
We got into the disk management tool,
found the partition in both the upper and lower panes.
However, when right clicking on it, there is only one option available, which is "Help"
Please advise on how we can pursue with another tool to unhide and help reset the password.
Thank you,
Alright. The first thing we'll need to do is to turn off D2D recovery in the BIOS. You can access the BIOS by tapping F2 when the Acer logo comes up during boot. Please disable D2D Recovery, save, and reboot your computer. When you get back into Windows, you'll want to download the PARTEDIT32 software available here. Once downloaded, open the ZIP and extract PTEDIT32 to your desktop. Since this is an older application, right-click the EXE, click Properties, click Compatibility, set it to compatibility mode for Windows XP, then click OK. Once this is done, go ahead and launch the tool. You should notice two rows are populated. You want to be sure not to ruin your active partition, so if the PQSERVICE partition is before your C: drive (it normally is) you'll want to be editing the first line. You can double-check yourself by just being sure to edit the partition with a significantly lower sector count (on the far right). The PQSERVICE partition is likely a type 12 (or similar), while your C partition is a type 07. Please change the PQSERVICE partition to a type 07 then click Save Changes and reboot.

Let me know if you are now able to see the PQSERVICE partition, or at the very least assign it a letter! =)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We have a problem.
I have tried the BIOS, that worked fine, D2D is now Disabled as requested.
I have downloaded the tool, and extracted it to the desktop.
I have right clicked on it, and under compatibility,
chosen Windows XP (Service Pack 2).
Then I have applied and clicked ok.
After that, I have double clicked on the application to run it,
when doing so, I receive the following error:
Error #5 starting the PowerQuest Engine.

Please advise.
Thank you,
Brad T.
Please try it with compatibility mode turned off, and also check to see if you can assign a drive letter to the partition with D2D disabled. You can also try running it by right-clicking and choosing Run As Administrator. I'm testing the tool on my Vista notebook now to ensure that there should be no issues...

Edited by Alexander J on 12/30/2010 at 3:55 PM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok, we are one step further, but not solved yet.
I have gotten the PowerQuest (PTEDIT32) program open.
I have 4 types, (line 4 being all 0s)
Line 1, I'm following your gut with this is the recover partition.
The type is 27, I changed it to 07 then rebooted,
I opened diskmgmt.msc to try to unhide the partition,
still only had the help option.
I reopened PTEDIT32 (as administrator as this is the only way it will open) and to my surprise, the type for the first partition is still a type 27. The sector count is still lower, and the sectors before is at 63. I'll try to change the type to 07 again then apply, and then ok again, but if it changes back, not sure what the next step is.
Your help is appreciated throughout the solution, glad to slowly be getting a step further.

Brad T
Are you running the program in compatibility mode? If so, please turn it off. If not, please turn it on! Hopefully that will allow the changes to apply properly. If all else fails, you can also try running it in compatibility mode for Windows 98! It is quite an old program. =)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have tried to uncheck compatibility mode,
therefore I am not running the program in compatibility mode.
I will now try with Windows 98 mode, in compatibility.
After restarting this time, same results,
I can open diskmgmt.msc, the partition is there,
but when right clicking on it to make it visible or add a letter, it only gives me the one option of "Help".
When reopening PTEDIT32, it still says type is 27.
(when I changed it the second time, I actually clicked on the "change type" button, and chose 07 from the list. it didn't help, but I tried something different.)
I'm going to try to change with compatility and change the number and reboot, be back momentarily.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Just a small note,
I changed the compatibility to Windows 98/ME,
I also checked off the bottom checkmark (run as administrator),
got another error,

Error #10002 starting the PowerQuest Engine.
Unable to load the PQVXD.VXD file.

Trying it another way.
I appreciate your taking the time to test all possible scenarios. It's definitely tough to work with older software, but it's the only freeware solution out there to do the job right!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm glad we're testing all scenarios,
we are going to have to come up with another one though.
I tried to change the compatibility to Windows 98 / ME,
since then, no matter how I try to reopen it,
whether by double clicking, by unchecking "open as admin"
or by right clicking and choosing "open as administrator",
I am receiving the same error now, #10002
it is not going to open in windows 98 mode.
so that is out, and it wasn't saving the changes in the other compatibility or non compatibility ways.

Please advise the next solution.

Alright, let's try this with a different version of the tool available here. Try just running as administrator first, then try it with the Windows XP compatibility mode if that doesn't work.

Edited by Alexander J on 12/30/2010 at 4:36 PM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Are you sure its a different version of the tool?
it saved as the exact same file, but with a (1) at the end,
which usually means its the same program.
When I opened it, by right clicking and choosing
"run as administrator"
It gave me the same error (#10002)
Trying now in Windows XP mode, but don't think settings will save as it seems like the same program, but be back momentarily sir.
The file name is XXXXX XXXXX but the version is different. Look forward to hearing your results...
If PARTEDIT still fails to work, we'll have to switch tools to Diskpart by Microsoft. I apologize, but there's no user interface with this one, so stick with me! To download, click here then follow the simple install procedure. Once finished, open your Start menu, type cmd into the search box, and hit Enter to launch a Command Prompt. Once there, type "diskpart" and hit Enter. Enter the following commands in order:

Type: "rescan"

Type: "list disk"

Type: "select disk 0"

Type: "list partition"

Type: "select partition {number}", where {number} is that of your hidden partition.

Type: "detail partition", to confirm the partition is type 27.

Type: "set id=07 override"

Type: "select disk 0"

Type: "list volume", which should show you the "pqservice" volume.

Type: "select volume {number}", where {number} is that of your pqservice volume.

Type: "assign letter=x", where X is the letter we want to assign to your drive.

Let me know if that does the trick! Your partition should be automatically detected once hidden, but if not, give it a quick reboot.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Just giving you an update,
Those steps worked to see the partition,
I found the password,
I'm just trying to get to the same recovery with the Alt and F10
keys as I got to before,
but it doesn't seem to be going there.
Once the recovery has been finished, then I will accept the answer,
I hope this is acceptable to you.
Thank you very much for your answers.
Glad we were able to get the password XXXXX! You'll need to turn D2D Recovery back on in the BIOS to run the recovery. You may also want to hide the partition again... It's not required, but just to be safe, well... It's hidden in the first place for a reason! =)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You just answered my next question,
I was wondering why it wasn't working to press Alt and F10.
I've just turned D2D Recovery back on in the BIOS,
I'll check to make sure the partition is hidden, and if not, rehide it.
I believe it rehid itself, but I'll check it out,
and I'll keep providing you with feedback until its all done, at which point I'll accept the answer and close the question.
Thank you for your patience and for all your help.
Not a problem at all! If it doesn't automatically re-hide itself, you can simply repeat the process you went through earlier and set the type back to 27. You won't need to change the drive lettering this time, as a partition can have a letter assigned while also being hidden. I'll look forward to hearing your results as they progress! =)
Tech Support and 5 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you