Yesterday, I had a relative that forgot the password for the admin account on their Windows Vista box. How can I recover that password? Free is preferable.
migrated from serverfault.com Aug 2 '10 at 9:01
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Recover or reset?
I would use Nordahl's tool (bootable cd) and just reset it.
If you want or need to recover it however, it's a completely different beast and not always possible depending on the configuration... see the answers about cracking, but realize you need to get your hands on the hash to crack to begin with.
Presumably, with "relative" you're talking about a home edition of Vista. In that case, chances are that they still don't have a password set on their Administrator account (one can hope). In that case, just boot into Safe Mode, use the Administrator account, and reset their other password from there.
(Just to clarify, I'm referring to the account that is actually named Administrator, with a user ID of 500.)