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How to Reset Forgotten Windows Password

A lot of people think that after having lost their Windows admin password, they absolutely have to reinstall their OS. Let me tell you something: They are wrong! There are a couple of free utilities on the internet that let you get back in your system without a sweat (or almost). Some risks are associated with the procedure, but who cares? You do have to get back in right? Sometimes, applying strong password security measures to your account can have its negative side doesn't it?

Notes:
- The built-in Administrator account is found on the Welcome screen only if there are no other accounts available, other than Guest, or when the computer is booted into Safe Mode.
- To get Admin account on the “Welcome Screen” make sure that there are no accounts logged in.
- The built-in Administrator account can create and change passwords for all users, but cannot restore a forgotten one.
- When a password is changed, that account will lose all encrypted files, personal certificates and stored Internet Explorer passwords or network resources.
- Press “CTRL-ALT-DEL” twice to get the classic Windows logon box. Type: Administrator. If this account has a password, enter it. Otherwise, leave the it blank.
- Recovering a password is much more difficult. Using a cracking program can take weeks!
RESET A PASSWORD USING THE ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNT

1. Boot into Safe Mode.
2. Log on using the built-in Administrator account.
3. Open: Control Panel -> User Accounts.
4. On the Users tab, select a user name, the password to change and click Reset Password.
RESET A PASSWORD AT THE LOGON SCREEN WITH THE COMMAND PROMPT

At the logon screen, press Shift+F10 to open a Command Prompt with adminisrative priviledges and type:

net user {username} {password}

{username} = The Account’s User Name
{password} = This will be the new password

RESET A PASSWORD USING MICROSOFT’S ERD COMMANDER

1. Download a 30 day trial from here:

Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset 5.0
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5D600369-0554-4595-8AB4-C34B2860E087&displaylang=en

2. Install it, run it and burn the image to a CD.
3. Boot the CD and run the Locksmith Wizard, found under Start -> System Tools.
4. The Locksmith Wizard is very easy to use, just select an account and input a new password. Too easy!
RESET A PASSWORD USING OFFLINE NT PASSWORD & REGISTRY EDITOR

Bootable CD (Freeware):
http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/bootdisk.html

- This disc can set, reset or unlock the password of any user account.
- You do not need to know the old password to set a new one.
- Works with Windows NT/2k/XP/Vista.

RESET A PASSWORD USING NT PASSWORD HACK

This will blank the Administrator password (Freeware):
http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/tools/ntpassword/ntpasswordhack.zip
RECOVER A PASSWORD USING THE LOGIN RECOVERY WEB SERVICE

Login Recovery is a service to recover passwords for Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista:
http://www.loginrecovery.com/index.php
LINKS

How to reset the Administrator’s password:
http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password.htm

EFS, Credentials, and Private Keys from Certificates Are Unavailable After a Password Is Reset:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290260/en-us

Administrator and User Passwords in Windows XP:
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/win_xp_passwords.htm