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MS Windows XP, Win2k3 & Vista Password Reset mini-Howto.

January 14th, 2008 by Andrea Matesi 1047 Views

I am used to store my URLs+User+Password combos inside an encrypted DB file.

The Software I love (and hate) is KeepassX (grab your copy here http://www.keepassx.org/ - XP, Linux or Mac OS X).

Every now and then (especially after the holidays...), I may forget to keep my passwords DB updated. As a result, I might end up struggling to gain access to a damn login screen :-((

Someday I was in search for a free method to reset the MS Windows Local User's Account Password.

This time, I couldn't login to a MS Windows 2003 Server (the method here on described should also work well for Windows XP and Windows Vista).

After some Goggleing, I found an interesting method that worked fine (and freely) for me: I downloaded a mini CD with a linux kernel from here:

http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/ (thanks pnordahl!).

Mounted the iso inside the locked VM and booted it.

I then just followed the prompts (it's easy - all menu driven).

At some stage, you are presented with a List of functions to choose from (you may do so by pressing the corresponding letters/numbers).

Important Note: This method writes data inside the Windows registry by using ntfs-3G, a GNU/Linux RW NTFS compatibility layer, believed "safe" to use (no guarantees BTW).

Be sure to have the Windows NTFS partition (ie. were Windows resides) CLEANLY UMOUNTED, otherwise the program won't work.

Some W2k3 (for security reasons I guess), need to be correctly shutdown (ie. after a User successfully logged-in or from the login prompt).

If your Windows has been shutdown by a cold reset or a power OFF, you'll end up with an unclean NTFS.

This is clearly a "Catch-22" situation that can be worked around by booting Windows in "Safe Mode" (ie. by pressing F8 before the Boot Up process).

Once Windows has been Shutdown from Safe Mode, the next time you mount the Password Reset ISO, you're ready to reset the Local User's Account Password!

Senior Professional Network and Computer Systems Engineer during work hours and father when home.

Andrea strives to deliver outstanding customer service and heaps of love towards his family.

In this Ad-sponsored space, Andrea shares his quest for "ultimate" IT knowledge, meticulously brought to you in an easy to read format.

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