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Protecting your computer with a strong, unique password remains incredibly important. We have fingerprint, iris, and other biometric scanners integrated with our smartphones and computers. However, a strong single-use password is vital to protecting your data.

We’ve covered a significant number of password tips. These include resetting a lost Windows 10 password How to Reset Your Lost Windows 10 Password How to Reset Your Lost Windows 10 Password You forgot your Windows 10 login password? Don't despair! We'll show you how to reset your password and recover your account. Read More , how to generate secure passwords on Linux 5 Ways To Generate Secure Passwords On Linux 5 Ways To Generate Secure Passwords On Linux It's crucial to use strong passwords for your online accounts. Without a secure password, it's easy for others to crack yours. However, you can get your computer to choose one for you. Read More , as well as seven simple password mistakes 7 Password Mistakes That Will Likely Get You Hacked 7 Password Mistakes That Will Likely Get You Hacked The worst passwords of 2015 have been released, and they're quite worrying. But they show that it's absolutely critical to strengthen your weak passwords, with just a few simple tweaks. Read More .

This article will focus on how to reset the Administrator Password on Windows XP. We’ve got five excellent tips for you, so read on.

1. Control-Alt-Delete

If your Windows XP system is set up to log in via the Welcome Screen, there is a chance you’ll be able to log in as the system administrator. Unfortunately, this is also dependent on there being no existing password on the Administrator account.

When you boot your system, it will load the Welcome Screen. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete twice to load the user login panel.

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Press OK to attempt to login without a username or password. If that doesn’t work, try typing Administrator into the User name field and pressing OK.

If you’re able to log in, head straight to Control Panel > User Account > Change Account. Then, select the account that you’d like to change the password for, and follow the on-screen instructions.

2. Reset Using Safe Mode and/or Command Prompt

If your Administrator account remains frustratingly out of reach, we can attempt to reset it using Safe Mode and the Command Prompt.

To access Safe Mode, you’ll need to restart your computer. Press F8 while the computer is booting (sometimes tapping F8 helps, if you’re unsure). Select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

Once you enter Safe Mode, head to Control Panel > User Account > Change Account. Then, select the account that you’d like to change the password for, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Command Prompt

There are times, however, when certain computer issues will obstruct you from changing certain settings e.g. a virus. In those cases, we can use the Command Prompt from within Safe Mode.

Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialogue. Type CMD and press Enter. This will open the Command Prompt. Now, type the following command:

net user [account name] [new password]

It should look like this:

Pro Tip: to clear the password, use the following command:

net user [account name] ""

3. Reset via an Alternative Account (XP Professional Only)

This fix only works if you’re using Windows XP Professional and you can login with an alternative account.

Start by right-clicking My Computer and selecting Manage.

Then, select System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users. Find your user account, right-click, and select Set Password.

Remote User Management

If you cannot access Computer Management using your own account, you can use remote access instead. On another computer (it doesn’t have to be Windows XP), in the Computer Management window, right-click Computer Management (Local). Select Connect to another computer. Select Another Computer. Enter the IP address of the computer you’d like to connect to. If you’re on the same network, this will take the form of a internal LAN address, such as 192.168.x.x, or 10.x.x.x. Alternatively, if you know the computer name, you can use that e.g. \\DesktopPC.

If you’re unsure and connected to the same network, select Browse, then Advanced. Finally, select Find Now to scan your local network for computers on your network.

Once you gain remote access, you can change the password by heading to System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users. Then, find your user account, right-click, and select Set Password.

4. Use a LiveCD or USB

If you’ve made it this far, and are still locked out… don’t worry. There are still two more fixes to try. The first up is using a LiveCD or USB drive. Linux LiveCDs and USB drives are always a massively useful tool to keep handy, getting Windows users out of sticky situations since… forever, really.

If you cannot access your Windows account, you’ll have to make a Linux LiveCD or USB drive on an alternative system. Ben Stegner has detailed the process of installing and resetting the password 3 Ways to Reset a Forgotten Windows Administrator Password 3 Ways to Reset a Forgotten Windows Administrator Password Forgetting your computer password is scary, but you still have options. Here are three easy methods to reset your Windows administrator password and get back into your computer. Read More .

I’ll give you a rundown here.

  1. Make your bootable Linux CD or USB drive 10 Tools to Make a Bootable USB from an ISO File 10 Tools to Make a Bootable USB from an ISO File A bootable USB is the best way to install an operating system. Besides the ISO and a USB drive, you need a tool to set it all up. That's where we come in. Read More (here is our guide to Ubuntu Install Ubuntu On Your Computer Using a USB Flash Drive Install Ubuntu On Your Computer Using a USB Flash Drive Want to install Ubuntu but don't have a spare blank DVD? Don't worry! After downloadin the ISO file, you can use a highly-reusable USB flash drive to get the job done. Read More ).
  2. Reboot the Windows XP machine. Press either F12, ESC, or Delete to choose your boot device. Select your CD or USB drive when prompted.
  3. Press CTRL + L to edit the Location path. Type computer:/// to see all your drives. Select your Windows installation, right-click, and select Mount.
  4. Open the Linux Terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. Run the following command to install password reset utility chntpw: sudo apt-get install chntpw. (Ignoring the period.)
  5. Change the working directory using the following command: cd /mnt/Windows/System32/config
  6. Retrieve a list of Windows users using the following command: sudo chntpw -1 SAM. (Ignoring the period.)
  7. Find your account user name. Then, use the following command to select the account: sudo chntpw -u “USER NAME” SAM. Then, type 2 to enter editing mode.
  8. Type a new password, hit Enter to submit, and y to confirm.
  9. Reboot into Windows, and use the new password.

5. Game Over: Full Format and Reinstallation

If nothing, but nothing else works, and you’re still somehow locked out of your account, there is only one more option: fire. Okay, not fire. But you will have to remove your hard drive from its host machine, connect it to another machine to complete a backup, and then format the drive.

Once the format is complete, you can reinstall Windows XP, and enter a new password that you can actually remember 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember If your passwords are not unique and unbreakable, you might as well open the front door and invite the robbers in for lunch. Read More .

Reset Complete

One of the tips and tricks we’ve covered should have helped you reset your Windows XP account password. Hopefully, you didn’t have to resort to a full system nuke and reinstall — that can be a real pain!

Note that even though Windows XP is no longer supported, you can still keep XP safe How to Tweak Windows XP and Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse How to Tweak Windows XP and Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse Are you forced to stay with Windows XP? Using an unsupported operating system is risky, but don't despair! We show you how you can carry on running Windows XP, if you must. Read More and tweak it to receive security updates How to Keep Getting Windows XP Updates for Years to Come How to Keep Getting Windows XP Updates for Years to Come Still hanging out on Windows XP? Here's an unofficial way to bring more updates to the antiquated OS. Read More .

Do you have Windows XP user account password reset tip to share with our readers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credit: The Hack Today

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  1. Brian Butterworth
    August 18, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I tried your first recommendation and it work like a charm. Thanks for the info.

    P.S. I too am trying to resurrect my old HP laptop which I love to this day

  2. Chris
    July 12, 2017 at 1:05 am

    What is this article about an insecure OS even doing here? What? Is this for businesses? Chase they're the only ones who should use XP. They might be forced to by circumstances.

    • Gavin Phillips
      July 12, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Hi Chris,

      Good question: why is an article about an out of date, security issue featuring on our front page?

      Well, we're currently undergoing a project to rewrite some of our older articles that still see a significant amount of traffic. In this, we're updating images, internal links, and fact checking, as well as updating the actual content where needed. This is one of those articles. I hope that explains it!

      Cheers

      • Chris
        July 13, 2017 at 3:09 am

        Oh! Tad embarrassed now. Feel a little bit tech justice warrior there.

        On the same note, I admire your team's standards. It's well written. :)

        • Gavin Phillips
          July 13, 2017 at 10:33 am

          No problem, Chris, it is a bit surprising to see an article like this floating around.

          Thank you very much!

  3. Dooma
    June 2, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Thank alot

  4. Dooma
    June 2, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks a lot u really helped me

  5. Mike
    May 27, 2017 at 4:25 am

    Even when I try to boot into Safe Mode, it still asks for a password.

    • Mark Lancaster
      July 28, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Mike,

      Did you ever receive an answer to your question? I have the same problem!

      Mark

  6. Mukthayi
    May 11, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Thank you, thank you so much.it worked

  7. Snowy wolf
    February 20, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Thanks, no. 3 worked for me :)

  8. Mike
    January 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Great, thank you so much! That saved the day!

  9. Sharin
    January 22, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Thank you so much! I needed some photos off an old laptop I haven't used in years. This helped so much, cheers

  10. Josh
    January 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    What do you think of this guide?

    http://resetpasswordhow.com

    Would it work for XP password reset?

  11. Perry Pete
    November 20, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I tried inserting the disk but it won't kick the disk from the computer any suggestions on how to eject the disk

  12. mikey
    October 25, 2016 at 7:59 am

    im trying to get in but none of my passwords r working n i need to really get into my computer i got the windows xp pro

  13. Venugopal
    April 14, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    perfect answer!

  14. Andrew
    March 23, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Love this!!

  15. nikhil
    February 25, 2016 at 8:14 am

    very thanks it works

    • Praveen
      July 28, 2016 at 11:19 am

      Give your contact no it is not working

  16. Jen
    February 19, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Method 3 - How do I open Run?

  17. Kyle
    November 28, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    So I believe I have a crazy virus. I don't have the original cds and I cannot get to safe mode through the f8 button. When I get on a name without admin abilities i went to computer management and tried to change administrator's password just like directed to above and it told me access denied. Next I am going to try to take out the hard drive but I was hoping it wouldn't come to that. Anyone have any ideas?

  18. Deepak
    April 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Thanks it help me too.

  19. THAZIT
    April 24, 2015 at 5:25 am

    6 years later it took me 3 minutes to reset XP PRO admin that I got in the divorce! THANKS

  20. zaheer sadat
    February 21, 2015 at 9:32 am

    send me all informations in my email

  21. zaheer sadat
    February 21, 2015 at 9:31 am

    how i can make the USB device to bootable without any application by commands

  22. zaheer sadat
    February 21, 2015 at 9:30 am

    how i can break the windows 7 ,8 administrator password without cds

  23. kevin
    December 19, 2009 at 1:43 am

    There are a lot of tools and utilities that can be downloaded and used to recover, reset, retrieve or reveal existing password. These windows password recovery utilities, free or paid, are usually a Linux boot disk or CD that able to comes with NT file system (NTFS) drivers and software that will read the registry and rewrite the password hashes, or can brute force crack the password for any user account including the Administrators. The advantage is that there is no fear of leaking your password to outsiders, while the process requires physical access to the console and a floppy or CD drive, depending on which tool you choose. And it’s not easy, although it always work!
    Below is the most famous recovery tool I found:
    Windows Password Recovery Tool 3.0 – it is the most popular Windows password cracker . It is a very efficient implementation of windows any versions. It comes with a Graphical User Interface and runs on multiple platforms.

    Password Recovery Bundle –This is a utility to reset the password of any user that has a valid (local) account on your windows system. You do not need to know the old password to set a new one. It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot off a floppydisk or CD. It’ll detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts. It is also an almost fully functional registry editor.

    Windows Password Key 8.0 -It is considered as the best tool to reset local administrator and user passwords on any Windows system. It creates a password recovery CD/DVD, USB Flash Drive for home, business and enterprise. And most of all, it's the most popular and safe solution for removing your Windows password until now.

  24. Joseph
    December 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Title: 5 Tips to Reset the Admin Password;

    One Solution: "take out your hard drive, put it into another computer, backup your data, format the hard drive, put it back into the original computer, and re-install Windows."

    The others are pretty obvious, but wow, had never thought of doing this one to, ahem "reset" a password.

    • ali raza
      May 9, 2015 at 4:10 am

      good job

  25. mgingerhack
    December 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    what about vista..there is no local user and group....

  26. Doug
    December 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    The procedure from step 2 ("This will only work if you have Windows XP Professional, and you can login with an account. Right click on My Computer and select Manage. Then select Local User and Groups –> Users. Right click on your username and select Set Password. Follow the prompts and set yourself a new password.") gives me a window that warns "Resetting this password may cause irreversible loss of information for this user account ...", which is just enough to make me stop (effective warning, eh?).

    Is this just something to keep out those of us who don't know what we're doing, or is it truly as serious as they make it sound?

    Thanks for all of the options in this article, by the way.

    • Jack Cola
      December 4, 2009 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Doug,
      As a last resort, you may want to do this. Off memory, I think it only affects if you use Offline files and sync files, however, don't quote me on that.

      And thankyou for your other suggestions too.

  27. kaotic
    December 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    you forgot one of my faves: start -> Run -> then type "control userpasswords2" (no quotes)

  28. Krispekreme
    December 3, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Just use Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

    http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/

    * This is a utility to (re)set the password of any user that has a valid (local) account on your Windows NT/2k/XP/Vista etc system.
    * You do not need to know the old password to set a new one.
    * It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot off a floppydisk or CD or another system.
    * Will detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts!
    * There is also a registry editor and other registry utilities that works under linux/unix, and can be used for other things than password editing.

  29. jorel314
    December 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Ophcrack is another option which retrieves your original password for you.

    http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/