Windows Password Reset

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.

Offline NT password and registry editor

The Offline NT Password & Registry Editor 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.

Creating your password reset disk

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.  The defaults work for most systems so just press “d” to automatically scan and load disk drivers.

6. The program will scan the drive to identify the partition containing the Windows installation.  In this case, it is option 1.  You can press enter to select the suggested partition or select a different one by typing the number associated with the partition.

7. The program will scan the drive to identify the registry location on the Windows installation.  You can press enter to accept the location it finds.

8. Select password reset by pressing enter or tying 1.

9. Select 1 for edit user data and passwords.

10. Once you see the user accounts, select one by pressing the number associated with that account.

11. Choose 1 to either blank the password or 2 to set it to a new one.

You will be prompted for a password if you chose to edit the password.  Otherwise, the password will be cleared.

12. Select ! to quit the program.

About The Author

Eric Vanderburg

Eric Vanderburg is an author, thought leader, and consultant. He serves as the Vice President of Cybersecurity at TCDI and Vice Chairman of the board at TechMin. He is best known for his insight on cybersecurity, privacy, data protection, and storage. Eric is a continual learner who has earned over 40 technology and security certifications. He has a strong desire to share technology insights with the community. Eric is the author of several books and he frequently writes articles for magazines, journals, and other publications.

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