3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

login   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator PasswordPasswords, passwords, passwords….something we are going to have deal with as one of our common annoyances for some time to come. Their necessary evil provides another layer of protection for your bank, your online shopping, your tax software and of course the entire operating system. We have so many passwords these days, that we have websites and password managers like LockCrypt and Clipperz, dedicated solely at helping you manage your passwords.

Even with the ability to store and retrieve your security, it does no good if the operating system is inaccessible. Ignoring your PC for a few years, removing a computer from a domain, or simply needing administrative rights on a PC are just a few reasons that the admin password may need to be reset. With Microsoft’s improved security over the last few years, it became more difficult to resent Windows administrator password. However, there are still several ways to get around it and I am bringing you three of the easiest ways to reset forgotten windows password for XP, Vista and Server 2003.

1. Reset Windows Admin Password with Ubuntu

Ubuntu has become, far and away, the most popular distribution of Linux in the world. Its ease of installation and use makes it the ‘go to’ operating system for an open source alternative. In this case you don’t even have to install the OS. You simply use the Live CD that is included with the burned ISO of Ubuntu.

Here are the instructions for resetting the Windows administrator password using Ubuntu Linux.

(Internet Connection Required)

1. Go to Ubuntu and download the latest ISO of the operating system.

2. Use one of the free ISO burning applications to create a bootable Ubuntu CD. Of course you’ll need another PC in order to do this.

3. Use the Live Ubuntu CD to boot into the live version of the OS.

ubuntu1   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

4. Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.

5. Then Settings>Repositories

6. Once the ‘Software Sources’ window appears, make sure you select ‘Software restricted by copyright or legal issues’, then click close.

ubuntu21   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

7. Click reload on synaptic package manager.

8. Click Search, and type in ‘chntpw’.

9. Once the ‘chntpw’ app is found, right-click on it and ‘mark for installation’.

ntpass08   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

10. Click “Apply on Summary Window” and also to confirm changes.

**Remember an internet connection is required for the above steps. If there is no availability for a connection, a USB flash drive will be required.**

12. Next, we must mount the Windows drive. In Ubuntu, go to Places> Select the appropriate drive.

ubuntudrive   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

13. The final step of the process is actually resetting the password via the Linux terminal.

14. In Ubuntu go to Applications>Accessories>Terminal.

15. Type ‘cd /media/disk/WINDOWS/system32/config/’ in the terminal window.

16. Type ‘sudo chntpw SAM’

17. This by default will change the Administrator password. If you would prefer to change a particular user. Type ‘sudo chntpw -u username SAM’.

18. Afterwards, you’ll see a long display of information, most of which can be ignored.

19. The next step is to actually reset the windows password. It is recommended to make the password blank with an asterisk * .

20. You’ll then have to confirm the change with a Y, and reboot.

2. With Barts PreInstalled Environment

Bart’s PreInstalled Environment has been a popular method on offline troubleshooting for Windows System Administrators for some time now whether it be for disk recovery, malware removal or in this instance, password removal. It’s a bootable operating system, just like the Ubuntu Live CD, but with more of a Windows-like feel.

Below are the instructions for using a small EXE file called Password Renew within the PE environment.

pebuilder   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

(XP CD Required – If your Windows drive is SATA, you may need to follow additional instructions on the PEBuilder site)

1. Go Bart’s website and download the ISO for the PreInstalled Environment.

2. Download Password Renew.

3. Open PEBuilder and for the Windows directory, select the location of the i386 directory on your XP disk. Under the custom directory, select the directory that holds the PasswordRenew.exe file. Select a title for your CD and finally create a name for your ISO file. I’d recommend creating an ISO over burning directly to the CD, because of problems that may arise.

pebuilder21   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

4. Browse to the A43 File Management Utility.

5. Once there, you should browse your CD drive and find your custom directory created in step three.

6. Open Password Renew.

pr   3 Ways to Reset Forgotten Windows Administrator Password

7. This program is very straight forward. Simply press ‘Select Target’ and browse to your Windows directory.

8. Once there, you can will see options to reset a password, create a new administrator or convert a current user to an administrator.

9. You will then have the option to install there after.

10. Reboot, and changes will be applied.

3. With Offline NT Password Disk (Google Cache)

Offline NT Password Disk is a very simple and very fast command line Linux tool to reset your forgotten Windows administrator password. At the time of this writing the site was down, hence the Google Cache link.

1. Download the bootable CD image.

2. Burn the ISO to a CD with one of the ISO burning applications, as we stated before.

3. Boot up your PC with the bootable CD.

4. Drivers for both SATA and IDE drivers typically load automatically.

5. Select the location of your Windows Operating System.

6. Select windows/system32/config as your directory.

7. Select “Password Reset” as your option.

8. I would recommend to reset as a ‘blank password’. This works best.

9. Once blanked, press ‘q’ to quit and write the values to the registry.

As you can see, the dread of forgetting your Windows administrator password can typically be put behind you. These are just a few of the options to reset that hard to remember nemesis, but they are a few of the simplest.

Give us some of your best options for resetting your Windows passwords.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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29 Comments -

Scott

Why reset when you can determine the password. Use Ophcrack to determine the windows passwords. Just boot using the live CD. It will determine all windows users passwords. ophcrack.sourceforge.net

T.J. Mininday

How long does that typically take to run?

Scott

Depends on the length and the number of passwords. I remember getting 2 passwords within a half hour.

saimohan

hello Scott
dont wast for getting 2 passwords within a half hour.
download eyiptian hack windows service pack 3 cd it takes 5 min to crack the password

dmadam

i agree with scott….ophcrack is awesome and very easy to use…

Eric

Scott does have it correct to a point. To prevent passwords from being cracked with the basic Ophcrack you simply need to include some sort of symbol (!@#$%) in the password. In order to crack passwords that include symbols you need to purchase the additional rainbow tables. And those tables will only crack passwords up to nine characters in length if memory serves.

Rarst

From my experience users that require restoring passwords are not those who use special symbols and disable LM hash. :) And Ophcrack recovers up to 14 character length from LM hashes (less is for NTLM).

venkat

PCloginnow offers ISO image download with which we can burn cd and easily reset administrator password.
http://www.pcloginnow.com/

T.J. Mininday

This actually looks like an amazing free product. This would have definitely been on the list, if I’d known about it. Have you used it before?

Jane

The above solutions seem to difficult for some users. They will prefer to a password recovery tool. Just one click, then all be done.

Popular such password recovery software: Active@ Password Changer, Windows Password Recovery, and Spotmau Password Genius.

T.J. Mininday

Thanks for the recommendations. We tend to keep all applications on MakeUseOf to free or nearly free.

Lisa Marie

Open PEBuilder and for the Windows directory, select the location of the i386 directory on your XP disk. Under the custom directory, select the directory that holds the PasswordRenew.exe file. Select a title for your CD and finally create a name for your ISO file. I’d recommend creating an ISO over burning directly to the CD, because of problems that may arise.

windows

Forgot Your Windows Password?
A lot of people think that after having lost their Windows admin password, they absolutely have to reinstall their OS. Let me tell you something: They are wrong! Here I’m posting a few methods / utilities which can be used to recover Windows password:

1st Method:

The first thing which you check if you forget login password. When we install Windows, it automatically creates an account “Administrator” and sets its password to blank. So if you have forget your user account password then try this:

Start system and when you see Windows Welcome screen / Login screen, press ++ keys twice and it’ll show Classic Login box. Now type “Administrator” (without quotes) in Username and leave Password field blank. Now press Enter and you should be able to log in Windows.

Now you can reset your account password from “Control Panel -> User Accounts”.

Same thing can be done using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode Windows will show this in-built Administrator account in Login screen.

2th Method:

There are many 3rd party utilities which claim to recover forgotten Windows password:

Windows Password Recovery Tool Service: windowspasswordsrecovery.com

WWindows Password Recovery Tool is a program that works instantly to remove any lost or forgotten password. Simply boot your PC from the supplied Boot CD, and get access to forgotten Windows and administrator passwords in just seconds. Their method is so much faster/easier, and works great!

windowspasswordsrecovery.com

jiujiu

Long time ago , I was confronted with the password problem. Finally , my friend Jane introduce the Windows password Reset.It helps me access windows. It’s great! resetwindowspassword.com

happykaka

http://wiki.e107.org/?title=Bypass_Windows_XP_Password there is an article about how to reset windows password. It must be helpful for those who have been locked out of computer

Jack Cola

I can’t believe that you missed the very easiest step of all.
Have a read of http://www.techmanhelp.com/blog/how_tos/have_you_forgot_your_windows_xp_password. The step requires a key combination at the welcome screen (the first image).

kozero

This is an awesome tool.It reset your password on Windows using USB Drive

http://www.lostwindowspassword.com/

Sikh boy

why u guy’s hav to download, any other programs like Ubuntu and ….ophcrack or Password Renew??? JUST REMOVE THE BIOS BATTERY for 15sec THAN REPLACE IT BACK TO CPMPUTER.. AND POWER ON UR COMPUTER..

ave

what you guys recommend for windows vista? i forgot my administrator password!! help please

ave

what you guys recommend for windows vista?, i forgot my administrator password!

co.co

A new recovery password tool windows password reset 7.0 . It also support windows
7 password reset
. And it’s the best tool i ever seen. One second is done. I’m sure it is helpful for you.

Fiona

I have met the same problem a few days ago!
The login screen rejected my passwords. I was frustrated because there was very important data on my disk and I couldn’t reinstall the OS. …………. However, I fortunately got to know the Windows Password Unlocker, which is a professional windows password recovery tool for us to reset windows 7 password instantly yet no data loss.

PWRecovery

Forgot or lost Windows password? reset Windows 7 password with Password Unlocker Bundle, one of whose functions is to recover windows password for Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista, Windows 7. ect. This password recovery Bundle is based on friendly GUI, even a computer novice can control the whole process freely. Besides, password unlocker bundle saves a lot trouble. It helps to create a windows password reset CD, with which, you can remove the admin password even you have logged out the computer, yet no reinstalling, no data loss!
Password Unlocker Bundle is a professinaol password recovery kit, which contains series of password recovery tools: Windows password recovery, PDF password recovery, MS documents password recovery, MS Excel password recovery, WinZIP/ZIP password recovery, WinRAR/RAR password recovery, MS SQL password recovery, Internet password recovery, Windows Live/MSN password recovery, MS Access password recovery, Outlook password recovery, and Outlook Express password recovery, etc., No matter you are at home or in office ,the bundle helps to reset the password we forgot or lost. To grasp the opportunity.

ych

my favorite is using software to reset windows password ,i found windows password unlocker in internet a couple days ago,it is very convenient for windows password recovery.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&newwindow=1&q=windows+password+unlocker+4.0&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g10

ych

my favorite is using software to reset windows password ,i found windows password unlocker in internet a couple days ago,it is very convenient for windows password recovery.

obama

Hello Admin…
I have done with firs way use boot with ubuntu, and I have changed my admin password with new password. But, I can’t to login again with new and old password? do you know, what wrong with this way?
Thanks

Chris

there is no way to change administrator password when you forgot it,you must use software to recover administrator password.my favorite is windows login recovery.

http://www.windowsloginrecovery.comuv

puck

I ever used a windows password recovery software to reset windows password to blank,it need not to reinstall or reformat the windows os, with no data lose,the tool is “Any Windows Password Recovery 3.0 “,its easier,you could have a try.
The link to the soft: http://www.anypasswordrecovery.com/

umulisadenise

can any one help me with a free software, because all the sofware i got they ask me to pay, and i don’t have a credit card, am in Rwanda and we don’t have credit cards.

please help