I have forgotten the Administrator password of my Windows XP installation and locked out. Is there a way to reset it? I do have physical access to the PC.
How to reset the Windows XP Administrator password?
Follow these steps:
Find the drive letter of the partition where Windows is installed. It is usually
C:(Vista and XP). It could be
D:under Windows 7 because the first partition contains Startup Repair and will be assigned with
C:. To find the drive letter, type
D:and search for the Windows folder. Note that Windows PE (RE) usually resides on drive letter
Create a backup copy of
sethc.exewith this command (for later restoration):
copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\
c:with your correct drive letter if needed)
copy /y c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
Reboot your computer and start the Windows installation where you forgot the administrator password
After you see the login screen, press Shift five times or press on Accessibility.
Now It will open a command prompt!
Enter the following command to reset the Windows password:
net user YOURUSERNAME NEWPASSWORD
(If you don’t know your user name, just type
net userto list all available user names)
You can now log on with the new password. Now you have privileges of user
SYSTEM and you can do whatever you want with your current system (be careful)!
It works with all Windows versions you can find nowadays from Windows XP to 8.1, x86 or x64, and probably it will work on earlier and newer versions too.
No need to prepare anything. You can do this with any bootable media media which is in your hands at that moment. Started from MS-DOS* bootable disks and Windows installation disks to LiveCD/USB/and others.
Many other programs that change password from registry are usable, but if something goes wrong, they can damage the OS. This method is safe and can't damage anything.
Finally, it's free.
*Note: If it's MS-DOS bootable media, make sure it has NTFS driver (NTFS4DOS/Paragon NTFS or something like it).
Note: It works when accessibility options are enabled (5x shift, sticky keys), and its enabled by default.
And how to prevent this?
Disabling accessibility options will partially prevent this.
Partially, because it's possible to change another files/settings and achieve the same results.
Change BIOS settings and disable booting from other devices and set BIOS password. There are some hacky methods to bypass this restriction, but it's another theme. For more security, you can lock your case (really, use a real lock) to prevent BIOS reset, especially if it's a very important computer (or if you are paranoid ;)
Let me give my 2 cents on this question. I personally would use using KON-BOOT , it bypasses all windows password checking, so you can boot to windows and change the password. Its like a live cd that boot prior to windows and tricks it when asked for the password.
Great tool for hacking your own box (you can only change the pass, you can't see the old one)
From the site:
Kon-Boot is an prototype piece of software which allows to change contents of a linux kernel (and now Windows kernel also!!!) on the fly (while booting).
In the current compilation state it allows to log into a linux system as 'root' user without typing the correct password or to elevate privileges from current user to root. For Windows systems it allows to enter any password protected profile without any knowledge of the password.
It was acctually started as silly project of mine, which was born from my never-ending memory problems :) Secondly it was mainly created for Ubuntu, later i have made few add-ons to cover some other linux distributions.
Finally, please consider this is my first linux project so far :)
Entire Kon-Boot was written in pure x86 assembly, using old grandpa-geezer TASM 4.0.
This is very easy to do, but rather than explain it all here, ive found two articles that show you exactly how to do it.
This is the easiest method, but for this you need to have the Windows Setup DVD that came with you computer, if not go to the second link.
If you dont have the setup DVDs, then follow this link to fix it. This method requires a bit more work though, but is just as effective.
I had this problem in the past but I found a way to break the password.
Download the file from here: http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/
Copy all downloaded files in your removable drive (pen drive)
Open a command prompt and write this line:
h:\syslinux.exe -ma h:(replace "h" with your removable drive like i,j,G)
Insert a pen drive in your targeted PC and boot this pen drive (legacy must be ON).
enterthoughout all the steps until you get an instruction like
clear password, complete this step and restart your system. Now it will not ask you to enter a password and the computer will start.
Using these steps, I have broken my administrator password many times; it is very efficient.