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

January 14th, 2008 by Andrea Matesi 1009 Views

Generally, I am used to store my _important_ combo of user/password inside a key+strong password encryption DB file. The Software I love (and hate) is KeepassX (grab your copy here http://www.keepassx.org/ - XP, Linux or Mac OS X). Once in a while (especially after holidays...), I may forgive to keep my passwords DB updated, as a result, I may end up struggling to gain access at a damn login screen :-(( ...and that's what just happened recently! So I was in the search of a free method to reset the MS Windows Local User Account's Password. The case applied to an install of MS Windows 2003 Server, but it should apply as well as for Windows XP and Windows Vista. After some Goggleing, I ended up to 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 VM and booted it. Then I just followed the on screen info (it's easy: menu driven), you are presented with a List of functions to choose from, simply by pressing corresponding letters/numbers. Important Note: This method writes data inside windows registry by using ntfs-3G, a GNU/Linux RW NTFS compatibility layer, believed safe to use (no warranties BTW). Be sure to have Windows NTFS partition (were Windows resides) CLEANLY UMOUNTED, else the program won't work. Some W2k3 (for security reasons I guess), need to be correctly shutdown from an user logged in; if you shut it down by cold reset or power OFF, you'll end up with an unclean NTFS. I've read somewhere (and suggest hereby) first booting Windows in "Safe Mode" (by pressing F8 before the Boot Up process), then Reboot from there. Next mount the iso and boot from it. Then you're ready to reset the User Local Account's Password ! You could now boot your windows & enjoy.

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