Recover Your Windows XP Administrator Password With The Installation Disk

Karl L. Gechlik 05-11-2009

Recover Your Windows XP Administrator Password With The Installation Disk AskTheAdmin PWHeadHave you lost your Windows Administrator Password? There are lots of options to recover it nowadays but almost all of them require a third party piece of software. What if I tell you that you can recover your windows administrator password with your install disk? All you need is your install key (hint: this does not need to be the same key that is installed on your machine but the key needs to match the media).


We will actually be doing a Repair. Once the repair session hits the GUI screen we can launch a command prompt that will let us reset your password, create new accounts or promote another user to be the administrator. Heck we can even make it so the machine logs in as the Administrator automatically! So here’s how you do it.

Grab your CD along with its CD key and boot to your media. Once you boot to your CD, it will say, “Press a key to boot to CD”. Go ahead and press any key.

Let Windows do its thing and start. We will not format or lose any data if you follow my explicit instructions. I was amazed when I got this to work and also sickened by how insecure workstations can be! If you have a third party SCSI, RAID or SATA adapter you will have to point it at the drivers so it can access your hard drive. If this is you then you know what to do already – F6 and point it to the drivers.

recover windows administrator password

Another few minutes will pass by and Windows setup will say that it is starting Windows. Be forewarned – DO NOT HIT THE R KEY ON THE NEXT SCREEN. We will be hitting Enter to start the installation.

recover windows administrator password


On the screen below that says Welcome to Setup make sure you hit the ENTER key and not R. R here will take you to the recovery console – if you do not have the administrators password you will have to start ALL OVER AGAIN! So hit Enter to set up Windows and continue.

recover windows administrator password

The agreement pops up hit the F8 key to continue.

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Ah ha! Now on this screen below you will want to highlight your installation of Windows if there is more than one. And hit the R key! Yes, here is where you will hit that key to repair the installation. The process rewrites all the system files and what not.

recover windows admin password

After you hit that R key the Setup wizard will start to copy the system files from the media to your hard drive/Windows Installation. This took about 4 minutes on my machine.

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Windows will now reboot automatically or you can hit ENTER to speed things up a little. When the machine restarts DO NOT BOOT FROM THE CD! DO NOT HIT A KEY TO BOOT FROM YOUR CD! Take the CD out of the drive if you think this is going to be an issue for you.

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Once the computer starts back up it will jump into the installer. Here, when you get to about 37 minutes left on the installer it will say Installing Devices on the bottom left hand side of the screen – Hit Shift-F10 at the same time and a command prompt will pop-up! Just like to recover windows password

Using some basic command line kung fu we type control userpasswords2 and we can do whatever we want to. You can get at anything from this command prompt you have full root/administrator access!


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Once you have the user accounts control panel up, you can add, modify or remove users. Promote a user to administrator status or what have you. Remember only use this for good and not evil.

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Log in and you are good to go! Do you have another method to get back into your machine that does not require any media? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

Related topics: Data Recovery, Password, Windows XP.

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  1. Lalit Singh Negi
    January 4, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you so much dear. Its done

  2. Lalit Singh Negi
    January 4, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you so much dear. Its done..

  3. Trevor
    September 3, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    After resetting password how do you get to sign in screen without going back to the installation page ran from disk? Cause without the disk in I think still goes straight to that and has error from lack of disk then it reboots and goes to the same exact page

  4. Chris
    May 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I tried this with my Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade disc and was not given the repair option to repair, worked with the XP Professional ISO I downloaded though. I guess the media needs to match the current install possibly?

  5. HarryD
    March 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks a lot, your article resolved my problem!!!

  6. Karl Gechlik
    February 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Wow, another post still helping people 7 years later :)

  7. AllannScott
    December 4, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Worked perfectly; burned a lot of time searching and trying other methods... this is the only thing that worked and didn't require i buy something. Thank you.

  8. Chris
    January 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    good article. I can free to recover windows password now

  9. Chris
    January 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Good article. But not everyone has a installation disk and their key. Third party piece of software is not free. But it is really convenient to recover windows password.People that lost their password and no a installation disk can have a try.

  10. Law
    January 27, 2010 at 7:22 am

    thanx pal u r the champ!

  11. Linky Wu
    December 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    There's a way to reset the password and it doesn’t involve reformatting and reinstalling Windows. The solution is called Windows Password Reset 7.0. It can reset almost all Windows passwords in seconds. It is a great [b]windows password recovery[/b] tool . you can log in again just in one second. It also support windows 7 password reset.

  12. Cliff
    November 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I found this to be a lot fast than Hiren's, so thanks for this.

  13. Jack Cola
    November 5, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    There are easier ways to find/reset your windows administrator password without going through the lengthy install/repair process.

    I wrote an article about it on my site,

    In summary, it goes through how to reset your password through the windows welcome screen, through computer management, command prompt and save mode, using a live cd, or putting your HDD in another computer.

    Try these suggestions first before you attempt this, as it may be a little bit risky.

  14. Said
    November 6, 2009 at 1:34 am

    GREAT post! thank you so much for such info!you dont always have hiren's boot with you.

    the Shift+F10 twick was already known:
    the main point in this post is you can get full access to user accounts, but actually you are "no one" as you haven't signed in to the Windows. so it is great to know that you are "no one" with admin privileges!

  15. IronHedge
    November 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm


  16. Kello
    November 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Or you could just do this the easy way without any cd's or software.
    Put windows into safe mode and you can just change the administrator password from the control panel and you're done.

  17. kye
    November 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    hiren roacks....

  18. Fiona
    November 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Forgot windows password?Lost admin password? Have been locked out of computer?
    Lost computer login passwords, which is a common problem for the computer users. So there are many solutions. One of the popular solutions is as following,

    1.log on a computer that is linked to internet.
    2. Free download windows password unlocker
    3.Burn the downloaded .ISO file onto a blank CD
    4.Insert newly created CD into the locked computer and then reboot it the account you wanna reset the password.

    • Bob3000
      November 6, 2009 at 6:23 am

      Why would anyone pay $20 for something that everyone here is showing how to do for free?

  19. Will Robinson
    November 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Um, Karl,

    You neglect to mention whether you need to let the installer run its 37 minutes worth, or just restart and log in. If you just have to restart then this is a more efficient way than Hiren's BootCD - and it's less fidgety...

    Great post btw!

    • Karl L. Gechlik
      November 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

      You have to wait and let the repair complete or the changes will not take affect - but this is the only method of doing this with out any third party applications.

      • Will Robinson
        November 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

        I thought so. I know I've repaired a friends system using this method but kept forgetting about the second repair option and couldn't figure out how I did it. Now I know.
        Thanks for the prompt response (",)

  20. Bob3000
    November 5, 2009 at 8:47 am

    If you are a tech support junkie you probably know about Hirens Boot CD. It's likely the quickest way to bypass/fix Winsows password issues.

  21. dante29
    November 5, 2009 at 7:15 am

    hiren bootcd