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reset forgotten windows 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 Manage & Protect Passwords and Other Data with LockCrypt Manage & Protect Passwords and Other Data with LockCrypt Read More and Clipperz Clipperz - Online Password Manager (with Offline Option) Clipperz - Online Password Manager (with Offline Option) Read More , 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 The Best, Free Alternatives to Nero CD/DVD Burner The Best, Free Alternatives to Nero CD/DVD Burner Don't waste money on a CD/DVD burning tool! A freeware application might be all you need. Here we have compiled five alternatives to Nero Burning ROM for your Windows PC. Read More 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.

reset windows admin password with ubuntu

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.

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’.

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.

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.


(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.

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.


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.

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  1. David Jack
    June 2, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Lost or forgot your Windows admin password, need to reset it but don't know how to do? Take it easy, Windows password key- the professional tool can help you reset it in several minutes.

  2. Brian
    February 4, 2015 at 7:40 am

    There are many other options and I like PCUnlocker the most!

  3. umulisadenise
    February 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

    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

  4. puck
    January 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    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:

  5. Chris
    January 17, 2010 at 7:00 pm

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


  6. obama
    January 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    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?

  7. ych
    December 28, 2009 at 1:22 am

    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.

  8. ych
    December 28, 2009 at 1:20 am

    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.

  9. PWRecovery
    December 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    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.

  10. Fiona
    December 22, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    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.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:12 am

    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.

  12. ave
    December 14, 2009 at 6:25 am

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

  13. ave
    December 14, 2009 at 6:20 am

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

  14. Sikh boy
    December 10, 2009 at 10:02 am

    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..

  15. kozero
    November 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

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

  16. Jack Cola
    September 26, 2009 at 4:51 am

    I can't believe that you missed the very easiest step of all.
    Have a read of The step requires a key combination at the welcome screen (the first image).

  17. happykaka
    September 23, 2009 at 12:35 am there is an article about how to reset windows password. It must be helpful for those who have been locked out of computer

  18. jiujiu
    June 17, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    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!

  19. windows
    March 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    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:

    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!

  20. Lisa Marie
    December 24, 2008 at 4:04 am

    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.

  21. Jane
    December 18, 2008 at 4:33 am

    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
      December 18, 2008 at 8:43 am

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

  22. venkat
    December 18, 2008 at 12:10 am

    PCloginnow offers ISO image download with which we can burn cd and easily reset administrator password.

    • T.J. Mininday
      December 18, 2008 at 8:44 am

      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?

  23. Eric
    December 17, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    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
      December 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm

      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).

  24. dmadam
    December 17, 2008 at 3:52 pm

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

  25. Scott
    December 17, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    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.

    • T.J. Mininday
      December 17, 2008 at 6:01 pm

      How long does that typically take to run?

      • Scott
        December 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

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

    • saimohan
      September 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm

      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

    • Xiao Ting
      December 25, 2014 at 9:59 am

      "iSumsoft Windows Password Refixer" also can reset administrator password.