Changing the local administrator password with a boot disk

Many people have asked me how to reset their Windows password so I decided to write this blog about it.  There are quite a few free Windows password reset tools.  They are mostly Linux boot disks that interface with your Windows drive to rewrite portions of the Windows registry that contain the passwords for your Windows accounts.  The tool listed below will read the data from the registry and provide you with a list of users to either reset the password or blank out the password.  I find it is easiest to blank out the password, log in and then set the password to something you can remember.

Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Go to the website above and download the CD image.
  2. Decompress the zip file using WinZip, 7Zip or some other decompression program.
  3. Burn the ISO to a CD. (You can use CD Burner XP Pro, a free tool to burn the ISO.  Here are instructions)
  4. Start your computer and boot from CD.  If your computer does not automatically boot to CD, go into the BIOS and modify your boot order.
  5. The program will have you load drivers, select the disk that contains your Windows drive, select the path and which part of the registry to load but don’t worry.┬á The defaults work for most systems so just press enter at each prompt.
  6. Once you see the user accounts, select one by pressing the number associated with that account and then choose to either blank the password or set it to a new one.

Vista Updates

The reason why Aero Glass fails sometimes is because Virtual PC 2004 does not support the Aero glass look.┬á I can turn on glass when Virtual PC is not running and not VM (Virtual Machines) are in a saved state.┬á However, I have been using SQL Server quite a bit lately so I have not been able to enjoy Aero Glass.┬á 🙁

Vista Updates

I loaded the Virtual PC on with Server 2003 and SQL Server and everything is running fine.  I have not installed SuSe yet but I plan to in the next week or so. 
I do have an odd situation.  My Aero glass interface is not working.  I keep trying to re-enable it but it will not take.  The OS still looks nice but I want to be able to see the glass instead of just grey and back bars.  I will probably mess with it tonight to see if I can get it all fixed. 


Thanks to Ian an a new laptop I am now running a copy of Vista.┬á I think it is a very good OS.┬á It is very graphically appealing and feature rich.┬á I enjoy the new “Aero Glass” interface.┬á Borders on windows have a fogged glass look to them.┬á Windows below can be seen.┬á It makes the window borders seem smaller than they actually are and really works better in my massively multitasking environment.┬á The sidebar is nice but it could be improved in much if there were gadgets available for it.┬á So far there are just the ones included with the OS and 8 more online.┬á I wish I could check my mail, view instant messenger conversations in it, and have a better RSS reader along with a number of other fun things.┬á Until then, I will be study looking at a slideshow of my 31,000+ pictures and playing Sudoku which brings me to the games included with the OS.┬á There are a number of much appreciated games included.┬á My personal favorites are Chess and Mahjong.┬á┬á I enjoy both quite a bit but I hear that they will only be available in Vista Ultimate Ed. which has an estimated retail price tag of $649.99.┬á Microsoft, there is still time to add Go to your list of games.┬á <hint, hint>
Vista comes with a picture program similar to Google’s picasa.┬á The program is called Windows Photo Gallery.┬á My favorite feature is the automatic orientation changing it does to my pictures.┬á I do not have to mess with it and already my pictures are all straight.┬á It did take a little messing with to get everything to my liking but now it works perfectly displaying the names of my files and organized by folder.
MSN messenger was not installed by default.  I wanted to see how other MS programs performed in the OS so I downloaded it.  I have installed a number of applications in it including Alcohol 120, Nero 7, NetStumbler, RealVNC, Winamp, and others and all of them performed without issued.  I am, however, having occasional problems with my graphics driver.  Windows allocated 256MB to my graphics card (Thank God I had 1GB) but this OS really loves VRAM.
On the RAM side, I allocated 3GB for the pagefile and I am thinking of adding another 1GB to the machine.  Right now I am indexing all my documents and pictures that I recently dumped onto the computer.  There are thousands of each and I want to explore the searching features of Vista.  You will hear about these features in future blogs.  I also intend to get Virtual PC working and then importing a number of virtual machines in to see how they perform.  I will run Windows 2003, Windows 2000 and a copy of SuSe linux inside the machines and possibly benchmark them.
As always with a new machine or OS, I have been running performance monitor to see how things are going and to get a system baseline.  As you know from a previous entry, I tried this on my Dual Core Mac Mini and found that I desperately needed more RAM.  This machine seems to be holding up fine but unfortunately, I am running on the 32 bit edition instead of the 64 bit.  I am a little bummed about that.  The install of the 64 bit ed. kept failing so I was left with no choice but to use the 32 bit ed. for now.  I think my performance would be better with the other edition.  Oh well.  When I buy the OS, I will get the 64 bit and they should have the major bugs worked out by then.  I do stress the word Major since this is Microsoft I are talking about.
I am very happy with the OS so far in my trials.  It has withstood my intense usage of it.  I am very hard on machines with my mutitasking.  I guess I am a computer slave master.  Here are a few screenshots I took.
Vista4 Vista3 Vista2 Vista1

Windows on the Mac Update

I got the latest intel update for Mac OSX. It was about 150MB but now
I can see my NTFS partition for Windows within Mac OS. I am glad to
know that I can edit those file whenever I wish. I was about to try
to mount the volume from the Unix shell but it was there before I
could try. 🙂

Windows on a Mac

If you read the Wall Street Journal, you will know that on Wednesday,
Apple released software called Boot Camp that allows users of the
Intel processor macintosh computers to dual boot with Windows XP and
Mac OSX. Naturally, this interested me. I downloaded the software
and repartitioned my drive, allocating 10GB for the Windows partition.
Next, I had to get a copy of Windows XP with SP2 already on it. I
had my class slipstream SP2 onto an installation disk so I was
prepared to slipstream it but Ian had a copy already so I just burned
the disk. I had my own CD key to use. The next step was to burn a CD
of drivers that would allow me to use the mac features within Windows
XP. This also provides support for the Mac hardware including the
wireless Airport card, Bluetooth adapter, and other devices. After
that, I started the Windows XP install just as you normall would do on
a PC. The installation was the part that took the longest. After
installing, I updated to get all the latest patches, I joined it to my
domain and then installed a game to try out the graphics card.

The graphics adapter is amazingly adaptable. (no pun intended) I was
able to adjust the amount of system memory it uses. I have it using
256MB but I might decrease that. My entire system has 2GB of RAM in
it. My bottleneck is the GPU, not the RAM so the additional RAM is
not helpful. I ran Battle for Middle Earth 2 (BFME2) and the graphics
did look pretty bad. I was able to adjust a few thigns to clean it up
but it certainly does not look as nice as Justin’s machine (3.5GHz AMD
Athlon 64, 256MB Graphics card). Another issue is the fact that my
widescreen resolution is not supported in game. I can, however,
utilize the 1920×1200 resolution in the OS.

To switch between Windows and MacOS Tiger, hold down the Option/Alt
key as the computer boots. It will then give you a selection screen.
The screen does not look anything like the boot loaded in Windows.
This is a graphical menu that you click on. Is this functionally any
better than the one included with XP? No, but it does look nice.

I do wish that the two systems could share data on the file system.
MacOS uses the HFS+ file system and Windows uses NTFS. I was hoping
that Apple would write some drivers to allow the XP OS to read from
the HFS disk and vice versa. This is not a large inconvenience though
because I primarily use network storage. There is 1.2TB of storage on
the network that I can take advantage of.

The process was fairly simple and I do not miss the other 10GB so I am
happy to have tried this.