In Windows there is super user, which known as administrator account. Generally you set a strong password of this administrator account. This habit is good for your safety, but some time you may forget your password or if any employee left his job without giving his admin password. Now the problem is how to get back or reset this admin password, because you can’t do anything without password. One common solution is to format the PC, but of course it is a long procedure and also changes to lose any important data which is on same drive where the OS is.
Forgetting your password can be very frustrating, but no worries if you forgot the admin password. Here are ways to reset the Windows administrator password on Windows
Create A Password Recovery Disk:
You know very well “Prevention is better than cure”, but we don’t follow these. It is always better to create a password recovery disk before anything happens.
If you forget your Windows password, you can use a password reset disk to create a new one. We recommend that you create a password reset disk when you create your password, so you don't lose access to your files and information
To create a password reset disk -
- Insert your removable media(a USB flash drive).
- Open User Accounts by clicking the Start button --> Control Panel --> User Accounts and Family Safety, and then clicking User Accounts.
- In the left pane, click Create a password reset disk, and then follow the instructions as follows-
- When the Forgotten Password Wizard window opens click Next.
- It will ask you for the USB drive letter in which you want to store the password reset file. Select the correct drive and click on Next.
- Now it will ask for the current password. Enter the correct password and click next.
- Once it completes the creation process, click on finish.
After creating a password reset disk, Make sure you store the password reset disk in a safe place
To recover password using this disk, click Reset password, and then insert your password reset disk or USB flash drive. Follow the steps in the Password Reset wizard to create a new password. Log on with the new password.
Reset the Windows administrator password:
Here are 2 ways to reset the Windows administrator password on Windows-
Option 1: Reset password with installation boot disk:
This is a reliable way to reset a Windows administrator password, and does not require third-party software. You have to boot PC with original Windows installation disk.
- Boot your PC with your Windows 7/8 setup DVD or flash drive, which you previously installed.
- Select the “Repair your computer” option, which is on the lower left-hand corner.
- Follow the steps and select the option to open the Command Prompt.
- First type the following command (replace “c:” with the correct drive letter if Windows is not located on C:)
copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\
- (This creates a copy of sethc.exe to restore later.)
- Then copy the command to replace sethc.exe with cmd.exe:
copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
- Now reboot the PC.
- Once you see the logon screen, press the SHIFT key five times and it will open an administrator mode command prompt.
- Enter the following command to reset the Windows password
net user administrator *
(Note: in the name of administrator you can put your name of admin account name, but if there is a space between the name of admin user then this command will not work.)
- Now you can type your new password here.
Note: When performing this, you will permanently lose access to any user-encrypted files.
I recommend that you replace sethc.exe with the copy you stored in the root folder of your system drive in step 3. For this, you have to boot up again with Windows PE or RE because you can’t replace system files while the Windows installation is online. Then you have to enter this command:
If you want to put the original sethc.exe file back, then boot again with installation disk --> open the command prompt --> type the following command.
copy /y c:\sethc.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
Option 2: Use password reset tool
There are many tools available on Internet, that are used to recover or reset lost user and admin passwords in Windows operating systems. You have to create bootable CD or USB Drive from these ISO tools and then boot your PC with this bootable media and follow the stops to recover or rest password.
Here are free open source password reset tools which will quickly crack Windows passwords-
Ophcrack is open source Windows password cracker that uses rainbow tables. Ophcrack is based on a time-memory trade-off that recovers 99.9% of alphanumeric passwords quickly.
- Visit Ophcrack's website and click the Download ophcrack LiveCD button to download.
(For Windows 7 and 8 select ophcrack Vista/7 LiveCD.)
- Burn the ISO file as above method to a disk or USB drive.
- Boot your PC with this bootable disk or USB drive.
- Next when you can see “Ophcrack LiveCD”, don’t do anything, it will continue automatically.
- Now in next windows, it automatically finds and shows you a list of all user name and password that it can find your PC.
But keep in mind that password which are too long and complicated, Ophcrack won't find them.
2) Offline NT Password & Registry Editor:
The Offline NT Password & Registry Editor is a completely free Linux based password recovery tool. It can delete or reset all user’s password, even you don’t know the username. Unlike Ophcrack, it doesn’t find users password, but delete it.
- To start, visit the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor website and then scroll down to the "Download" section near the bottom of the page.
- Download Bootable CD image file cd140201.zip
- After extracting, burn this ISO image to a disk or to a USB drive.
- Now boot your PC from the boot disk and follow the instructions