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Possible Duplicate:
Windows: How to reset the administrator password?

I want to login to my Administrator account in Windows XP, but I forgot the password. I really don't want to reinstall the OS. I remember some years ago, I was facing a similar problem and I was able to boot using linux from a USB device, save a "password file" from the Windows directory, and use brute force on it from another machine to find out the password.

Is there a smarter way to reset or recover my Windows XP Administrator password?

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marked as duplicate by DMA57361 Apr 21 '11 at 13:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Although I suspect points were probably deducted because this person admits to forgetting their password, I do believe that this is still a great question because the solution can be useful where sabotage by a previously trusted system administrator occurred (e.g., they were just fired from their job for a valid reason and decided to change the administrator passwords on the way out -- I know of an instance where this happened). – Randolf Richardson Apr 21 '11 at 13:08
or cause its very plausibly a grey area question - there's a lot of less than savory reasons for wanting to crack a password. CHanging a password is a little more socially acceptable – Journeyman Geek Apr 21 '11 at 13:48
This question gets re-asked quite a lot, please refer to Windows: How to reset the administrator password?. Closing as dupe. – DMA57361 Apr 21 '11 at 13:49
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, it should be in %systemroot%\system32\config - its a file called SAM. However its a lot easier to use the nt offline password changer, than to use ophcrack or other password cracking tool - in most cases its a lot faster (minutes rather than hours) unless you have an encrypted partition

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Why don't you use KonBoot, login into your admin user account and then change the password! You will need a blank CD and CD/DVD drive to burn the iso and boot from it.

If you don't own a CD/DVD drive, here's a tutorial on how to use a pendrive for the same. This will be way faster than trying to brute force your own computer to find out your own password. Besides why use brute force when you can by-pass it way simpler. (And hopefully you own this computer coz I wouldn't want to try this otherwise)

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This happened to a few different people I know. I use this Linux bootable CD image (it's free and open source) to clear the password for any account (including "Administrator") in any version of Windows with an NT kernel (I have successfully used it on Windows NT 4 Workstation, Windows XP {all editions, including that weird Media Centre Edition}, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows 7) and it has full and proper support for NTFS:

  Offline NT Password and Registry editor

Every technician who supports the Windows OS should have this CD in their toolkit.

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which is what i suggested ;) – Journeyman Geek Apr 21 '11 at 13:39
Ah, yes it is. Sorry, I was sitting on this page for a while before I posted a response and didn't know that you beat me to the posting -- NOTE TO EVERYONE: Please award points to Journeyman Geek's response instead of mine. – Randolf Richardson Apr 21 '11 at 13:46

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