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Reset Forgotten Windows Password with a Linux Live CD

Jerry Leo

Apr 07,2012 07:11 / Posted by to Windows Tips
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Forgetting your Windows password means losing access to important files and settings. A password hint can provide clues to help you remember the password again while a password reset disk allows you to change the lost Windows password in seconds.

Whether you are the administrative user or another account on a Windows machine, if you are a little more technical you might want to simply use the excellent System Rescue CD, which is based on Linux, you can use a Linux LiveCD to reset your password so you can access your account again. If you need to burn a Linux LiveCD and you do not have access to a friend's computer, sign in to your Windows installation as a guest so you can download and burn the ISO file.

Reset Windows password - Use Linux LiveCD

If you are not in favor of the methods listed above, another option is also available. That's to use Linux live CD. Here's how to reset Windows password with Linux Live CD.

Step 1: Just download the live .iso file for any Linux distribution and burn it into CD.
Note: Make sure the Linux LiveCD you choose has "chntpw" included.


Step 2: Insert the Linux LiveCD into the computer you want to access and boot your computer from this CD. You may need to configure your BIOS to boot to a CD before the hard drive.

Step 3: On the command prompt, type the following command to mount your Windows drive:
ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows -o force

Step 3

Note: Sda1 refers to your Windows partition. To get a list of the partitions on your machine, use the following command:
cat /proc/partitions
Substitute the name of your Windows partition for "sda1" in the command above.

Step 4: Run the following command to move into the Windows password file directory:
cd /mnt/windows/Windows/System32/config

Step 5: Type "chntpw -l SAM" to list the Windows user account names.(If you are running Trinity Rescue Kit, use this command instead: windpass –l)
Replace "username" with your exact user name. This command brings up a text-based wizard.
Step 5

Step 6: Reset the password for the target account by using the following command:
chntpw -u "username" SAM
Note: Replace "username" with your exact user name. This command brings up a text-based wizard.

Step 7: Press the "2" key on your keyboard to change the password, and enter the new password when prompted. Press "Enter." Press "y" to save the changes. Your Windows password has been reset.
reset password

Step 8: Type "reboot" to restart your computer. Remember to remove the boot CD.

Reset Windows Password - Use Windows Password Unlocker

That's all. If you are newbie, it's highly suggested to use Windows Password Unlocker, an efficient Windows password reset program for all Windows platforms, including Windows 7/Vsita/XP/2008(R2)/2003(R2)/2000. This tool comes with GUI interface and it's easier for you to reset a forgotten password.

By using Windows Password Unlocker, you are able to safely reset Windows password in 5 minutes by taking the following steps:

  • Step 1: Download Windows Password Unlocker Professional and install it in any computer.
  • Step 2: Burn a bootable password reset with CD/DVD or USB flash drive in seconds.
  • Step 3: Insert the disk in the computer you want to reset password of and boot from the disk.
  • Step 4: Select your Windows installation; select the target user account to reset its password to blank.
    Note: Click Reboot to restart computer. Please remember to remove the CD/DVD or USB drive.
  • Step 5: Log into Windows as normal. Select the target user account icon on the logon screen, press Enter. No password will be prompted for.

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