It could be that the service that is starting the database has a Log On property set to require you to enter a userid/password. To check, simply view the Services console (under Administrative Tools) and find the service for the Oracle instance you're having trouble with. Then, select it, and bring up the properties sheet for it (double-click). Go to the Log On tab and check to see if the Log on as: option is set to "Local System account". If you find that it is set to "This account:", that is likely what is causing the prompt. Simply change it, and that should fix you up.
If that's not it, it may be that you need the password for the INTERNAL account.
Based on the information you provided, it's not clear to me the steps that are occurring when you try to start up and get prompted as you mention. If this answer doesn't help, please send detailed steps of what you are doing and the exact error message you are getting.
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This was first published in December 2002