Today was a long day in general, but I ended by hacking a client's computer to remove a corporate edition version of Symantec Antivirus. This version requires an administrative password to remove. He didn't have it.
Since I couldn't just uninstall the program, I tried to delete the directories through Windows Explorer. I couldn't - the files were protected. Since the account I was using was already an administrator account, I didn't think there'd be a point to trying to do it from a different one.
Next, I rebooted the computer into safe mode with command prompt. Since safe mode only loads the core of the operating system, I figured I'd be able to delete the program's main directories, then reboot in a normal configuration and complete the uninstall with the Add/Remove Programs dialog. This has worked for me in the past- Windows is frequently able to clean up after a messy uninstall.
In this case, no dice. I decided to go ahead and install the anti-virus software I had just downloaded, which was why I was trying to get rid of the old one in the first place. Didn't work - it saw the previous software and refused to install.
I knew that I needed to mess around in the registry, but I thought I'd see if maybe Symantec made a utility for tidying up a messy install program. It's possible. Maybe. Turns out they have an article in their knowledge base on doing a manual uninstall of the program. Most of it is hacking the registry. Followed the steps in the article, re-started, and finally I could run the install program for the new software.
I rock. I will not be defeated by a mere password requirement. At least, if I have physical access to the machine. Work tomorrow in slightly less than eight hours.