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I have dilemma with an old laptop with windows xp. I forgot my password but I'm told that you can login as the administrator (which I never messed with in any way when I had access), by pressing ctrl alt del at the welcome screen. But I also heard that it's not enabled by default, but that you can boot into safe mode and do it there. If I didn't disabled/enable it, or change the password, how can I get access to the administrator account?

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Microsoft have published extensive documentation on how to recover lost password: – 50-3 Sep 24 '13 at 3:45

In order to enable the built-in Administrator account, you must be logged in as an administrative user. First you must reset your account's password by doing one of the following:

  1. Log into a different administrative user (if available) and change your password.

  2. Use a Windows Password Reset Disk (if available).

  3. Use a boot tool like Offline Windows Password & Registry Editor (which is included in Hiren's Boot CD) to reset your account's password.

The latter should only be done on a computer that you legally own.

Once you have access to an administrative account with the above method, you can enable the default Administrator account by doing one of the following:

  1. Right-click My Computer, then click Manage.
  2. Expand Local Users & Groups, then select Users
  3. Right click the Administrator user and click Properties.
  4. Enable the account and click Okay.

Alternative method:

  1. Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Winlogon \ SpecialAccounts \ UserList

  2. Use the File, Export option to backup the key

  3. Create a new DWORD Value named Administrator
  4. Double-click Administrator, and set 1 as its data
  5. Exit the Registry Editor.

In Windows XP Home Edition, you can unhide the Administrator account, but you cannot log into via normal login mode.

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Ophcrack would also be useful for seeing what the password is. Almost no one has a 15 char or longer password. – Blackbeagle Apr 8 '14 at 3:33

In Windows XP, the built-in administrator is disabled by default, and there is no password assigned to that account. You can only access the built-in administrator account from Safe Mode.

If you still can't log on to Windows, try the freeware chntpw (also known as Offline NT Password & Registry Editor) program and it can reset (clear) the password.

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By default, yes.

I have, unfortunately been able to recover many-a-forgotten password by booting to safe mode, and logging into the Administrator account.

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There are a couple of methods to reset windows password which is not limited to Windows XP.

  1. Reinstall Windows. However, data on C:\ will be deleted.

  2. Create a Windows reset disk with USB. This is recommended. Simple and no data loss.

  3. Use Ubuntu Live CD to reset the password.

  4. If you sigh in with MS account, then you can change the password on web and log in with the new password.

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The question isn't really about resetting a Windows password. Also, you should describe how to perform each of these to resolve the situation described in the original question. – Michael Kjörling Jun 2 at 7:33

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