At our Kent laptop repair shop, we recently did a complete system recovery on an Acer Extensa 5235 that had a dead hard drive.
This was one of the ‘Home Acess’ computers provided by Becta the now closed government funded grant scheme to help low-income families own a computer.
The client had neglected to make her recovery DVDs whiled the system was up and running.
Usually if we don’t have the recovery DVDs or CDs we can install an OEM version of Windows using the product key on the Windows sticker attached to the laptop, resulting in a nice clean Windows install without all the crap that the manufacturers install alongside Windows. However, the Home Access laptop in our care didn’t have a product key on the sticker.
The license sticker reads: “Windows 7 Pro Natl. Academic Only OA” with a few tracking numbers and bar codes on it. Not very useful for installing Windows!
Luckily we had created a set of 3 recovery DVDs on an identical model that had come in months ago – just in case!
So Windows installed – no problem there, but… When it was time to log into Windows, we were presented with two preconfigured user accounts – Learner and Parent. Learner had no password and was a ‘Limited Account’ which basically means we couldn’t install anything or even update Windows using that account. Parent was a password protected administrator account but we had no password since the client had misplaced the original documentation provided by Comet.
A quick search of the internet revealed quite a few forum posts from people with the same issue – they couldn’t log on after a system recovery because they had lost the original paperwork provided with the laptops. Most of these laptops were provided by Comet and they suggest various phone numbers to call up so you can be told the password because it’s a big secret. After much poking around we discovered what the password was for our machine. Assuming you got your machine from Comet and that Comet didn’t give out different passwords for every machine (which is unlikely) you could try the one that worked for us.
Considering the Becta Home Access program is now defunct and there are probably a load of people out there looking for the Comet password, here it is: cometpar
Another password you can try is: Misco (with a Capital ‘M’)
This worked for Suzanne on her Zoostorm PC. Thank you for sharing this Suzanne.
Lyndsey offered the password:
Changeme (I think the C is upper case) – Thanks Lyndsey! (Liz has reported that changeme works in lower case for her son’s Samsung laptop.) – Thank you Liz!
Thanks to Sam for the password: welcome (this apparently works with Samsung laptops and may work for others too)
Some laptops from XMA apparently have the following password: xmahaadmin
Michelle has let us know that the password parent worked for her Zoostorm computer. Thanks!
Another password for Home Access laptops (Toshiba from PC World) is Learner. Thanks to Thunder for this one. (not sure if the ‘L’ is upper-case)
Kairen has written in with the following which works for his laptop supplied by the Stone Group: Parent = $tone2010 Learner = Learner (Capital L, Rest is lower case)
Glen says “The password for my Misco account on my ZooStorm PC was ‘T3chnical‘ ”
Let us know in the comments what worked for you and remember to change it as soon as you log in to something you will remember!
If you have any other Parent Passwords that could help others – please share them!
For more information about Becta please see the Becta Wikipedia page
(Some of you may need recovery discs for your Home Access laptop. We cannot make recovery discs publicly available for download but we may be able to point you in the right direction if you send us a message via the Contact page. We ONLY have the Extensa 5235 discs at this point. If you have made recovery discs for any other Home Access laptop model perhaps you could help someone who needs them. Again, please let us know via the Contact page.)
If you are having trouble with NetIntelligence please see this post.
* ADDED December 2014
I tried to leave a message in your article about the Acer Extensa 5235
but it wouldn’t let me, so as this is such an odd way of solving the
problem I thought I would send it to you anyway
All the best,
These laptops are still surfacing and I recently came across one that looked brand new. It had been pawned in its box and recovery disks never made!!! But you won’t believe how we came to sort it out.
First off, NONE of the passwords above worked at all for us, and I was a bit despondent so just for a lark I logged on using the “learner” a/c and went into Control Panel / User Accounts.
This is the bit that will knock you on your back, using the learners a/c it let me create another account, which for the hell of it I called USER. I then logged in with user and ging to “Control Panel / Admin Tools / Computer Management / Local Users and Groups” and then I added the learner a/c to the Administrators Group as well as the Users group that it was already a member of!
I rebooted and low and behold the learner a/c with no password let me now log in with no password and delete the Parent and User a/c’s that were there. I left the Default Administrators and Guest a/c’s alone. The Guest a/c being disabled as usual.
I then had the one main account, learner, which was now an administrators account, and I was able to set up Windows 7 to exactly what I wished for with no rebuilds, no nothing. It now looks like any ordinary Win7 PC with Students edition of Office 2007 and Office Web Expression and all the other add ons. Most of which I have to admit I deleted bar Office and Windows Live. I have replaced the 1gb Ram with Four and it is now a very good laptop with a very good full selection of useful software.
Bit of an odd way of going about things, but hey ho, needs must as the devil drives as they say.”
Thanks so much to Trevor for this bit of info. Hopefully it will help someone out!