How To Reset Your Windows XP Password

Discussion in 'Desktop' started by crackerjacker, Nov 18, 2005.

This thread is being watched by 15 users.
  1. crackerjacker

    crackerjacker Member

    by Vic Ferri

    Can't Log On to Windows XP?

    If that’s your only problem, then you probably have nothing to worry about. As long as you have your Windows XP CD, you can get back into your system using a simple but effective method made possible by a little known access hole in Windows XP.

    This method is easy enough for newbies to follow – it doesn’t require using the Recovery Console or any complicated commands. And it’s free - I mention that because you can pay two hundred dollars for an emergency download of Winternals ERD with Locksmith which is a utility for unlocking lost Windows passwords. See here

    ERD is an excellent multi purpose product, but you should know it is not a necessary one if you have a healthy system and your sole problem is the inability to logon to Windows due to a forgotten password. Not necessary because you can easily change or wipe out your Administrator password for free during a Windows XP Repair. Here’s how with a step-by-step description of the initial Repair process included for newbie’s.

    1. Place your Windows XP CD in your cd-rom and start your computer (it’s assumed here that your XP CD is bootable – as it should be - and that you have your bios set to boot from CD)

    2. Keep your eye on the screen messages for booting to your cd Typically, it will be “Press any key to boot from cd”

    3. Once you get in, the first screen will indicate that Setup is inspecting your system and loading files.

    4. When you get to the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER to Setup Windows now

    5. The Licensing Agreement comes next - Press F8 to accept it.

    6. The next screen is the Setup screen which gives you the option to do a Repair.

    It should read something like “If one of the following Windows XP installations is damaged, Setup can try to repair it”

    Use the up and down arrow keys to select your XP installation (if you only have one, it should already be selected) and press R to begin the Repair process.

    7. Let the Repair run. Setup will now check your disks and then start copying files which can take several minutes.

    8. Shortly after the Copying Files stage, you will be required to reboot. (this will happen automatically – you will see a progress bar stating “Your computer will reboot in 15 seconds”

    9. During the reboot, do not make the mistake of “pressing any key” to boot from the CD again! Setup will resume automatically with the standard billboard screens and you will notice Installing Windows is highlighted.

    10. Keep your eye on the lower left hand side of the screen and when you see the Installing Devices progress bar, press SHIFT + F10. This is the security hole! A command console will now open up giving you the potential for wide access to your system.

    11. At the prompt, type NUSRMGR.CPL and press Enter. Voila! You have just gained graphical access to your User Accounts in the Control Panel.

    12. Now simply pick the account you need to change and remove or change your password as you prefer. If you want to log on without having to enter your new password, you can type control userpasswords2 at the prompt and choose to log on without being asked for password. After you’ve made your changes close the windows, exit the command box and continue on with the Repair (have your Product key handy).

    13. Once the Repair is done, you will be able to log on with your new password (or without a password if you chose not to use one or if you chose not to be asked for a password). Your programs and personalized settings should remain intact.

    I tested the above on Windows XP Pro with and without SP1 and also used this method in a real situation where someone could not remember their password and it worked like a charm to fix the problem. This security hole allows access to more than just user accounts. You can also access the Registry and Policy Editor, for example. And its gui access with mouse control. Of course, a Product Key will be needed to continue with the Repair after making the changes, but for anyone intent on gaining access to your system, this would be no problem.

    And in case you are wondering, NO, you cannot cancel install after making the changes and expect to logon with your new password.

    Cancelling will just result in Setup resuming at bootup and your changes will be lost.

    Ok, now that your logon problem is fixed, you should make a point to prevent it from ever happening again by creating a Password Reset Disk. This is a floppy disk you can use in the event you ever forget your log on password. It allows you to set a new password.

    Here's how to create one if your computer is NOT on a domain:
    Go to the Control Panel and open up User Accounts.
    Choose your account (under Pick An Account to Change) and under Related Tasks, click "Prevent a forgotten password".
    This will initiate a wizard.
    Click Next and then insert a blank formatted floppy disk into your A: drive.
    Click Next and enter your logon password in the password box.
    Click Next to begin the creation of your Password disk.
    Once completed, label and save the disk to a safe place

    How to Log on to your PC Using Your Password Reset Disk

    Start your computer and at the logon screen, click your user name and leave the password box blank or just type in anything. This will bring up a Logon Failure box and you will then see the option to use your Password Reset disk to create a new password. Click it which will initiate the Password Reset wizard. Insert your password reset disk into your floppy drive and follow the wizard which will let you choose a new password to use for your account.

    Note: If your computer is part of a domain, the procedure for creating a password disk is different.

    See here for step by step instructions:;en-us;306214&

  2. The Hunter

    The Hunter Janitor

    Thread stickied.
  3. Krell

    Krell worthless dirtball Expert

    Good Article, im not sure it's sticky worthy

    It's also the long way around.

    If you boot to the XP Winternals 2003 or 2004 ERD disk, you are actually IN XP Pro, and can use locksmith there to change the pwd on you account, then simply reboot, and log in as normal in one easy step.



    RACKnRAIL 今は知っているでしょ Staff Member Moderator

    Most people don't even password protect their default admin account, which would make it even easier to change a user's password from safe mode.
  5. boogiedan

    boogiedan Member

    v nice indeed
    much appreciated
  6. brnslaw

    brnslaw Member

    hello! cut the computer off then restart as it is booting back up hit f-12 repeatedly that will take you in the back door.then you can chang your password.
  7. kokanezub

    kokanezub Secretary General Established Member

    never heard fo the f12 back door

    umm just search for threads i postes and i have on on reseting a password and someone gave me a great boot disk...just stick it in hit 5 then 2 then enter then sam then <user> then to blank the p/w
  8. Krell

    Krell worthless dirtball Expert

    Yesterday, on a company laptop, needed to install software and required admin privs

    I could "run as" but didnt know the pwd for the account

    I used my Winternals, chose the proper account, reset the pwd to the same as the one I knew, and restarted

    I logged back in to that user profile, did a "run as" with the pwd I set, bingo, done deal.

  9. lifehacker

    lifehacker Member

    Or you could go to a site like and get instructions on how to create a floppy with which you can retrieve the passwrod. Very simple, works perfectly!
  10. collar

    collar Member


    It is really possible to reset lost or forgotten password using Active@ password changer utility. It is small, easy to use, and can quickly reset pass. That utility helped me before, so you can find it really useful.
  11. Jared Moya

    Jared Moya Chief News Editor Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    A little known trick, which I had to use just recently is log in as "administrator", leaving passwrod blank. Worked like a charm, but if you've set a password for that as well then it wont work obviously.
  12. collar

    collar Member


    I can say Active@ Password Changer tool can also help reset password. It is a small yet powerful util that can qucikly perform the operation. It never failed me and literally saved some times before. Give it a try.
  13. lifehacker

    lifehacker Member

    You could also use a boot cd to reset the password.
  14. xboxhaxorz

    xboxhaxorz Member

    Is there a way to just find out the password. I would rather remember my password instead of cracking it as that would allow access to my windows account but my password for websites and such wouldnt be crackable such as my hotmail and yahoo accounts.

    Just knowing the password rather than resetting it is wondeful. Hopefully its possible.
  15. lifehacker

    lifehacker Member

    Im having trouble understanding what you want.
    Do you want to find out th epassword for a hotmail account? Thats possible by using a brute forcer, keylogger or if the password is saved on the computer so you dont have to log in and some other more complicated ways.
    Or do you want your Windows password? Also possible and very easy.
  16. SoreVexed

    SoreVexed Resident Goth

    you could also just boot from floppy and then cd (change directory) to the master hdd and then browse and del (delete) the master and backup password files. (providing that you know where to find them and what their names/extentions are).

    you may also be able to read them from this file, but most will be under the reign of encryption. (128 bit cypher or better on most, like xp and nt)

    you could also modify them, but all that work just to get back in??? just use a nice bootable password decrypter. most passwords are (dissappointingly) simple and will be decrypted within moments. but if you have a secure password like what i like to use, it could take days. (in which case it may be easier doing it another way)

    nice thread. too bad i did not find it sooner. :)
  17. mfgbypooter

    mfgbypooter Super Pooper Staff Member Moderator

    you could also reformat your hard drive and do a fresh install of windows.

  18. SoreVexed

    SoreVexed Resident Goth

    thats what i usually do. i always have everything backed up on dvd rom and stuff like it. so its easy for me. but some ppl cant afford dvd burners and the media to go with it..... wait.... i only paid $150 for all.....

    reformating is nice because your computer runs so much better once you have got it done. re loading all ur programs and sh*t is a pain in the a$$, and you have to make sure you pop ur ram if you are reformatting after a virus infection, although some viruses wont flush from the ram. for that you can use proggies like system mechanic.

    i cant tell you how many times i have reformatted. probly more times than ive been laid. i would say thats sad, but then computers are easier to please than the opposite sex. and if they become a problem, just wipe their memory and hd out. back to new!!!!
  19. Potato

    Potato poe-tay-toe Established Member

    Reformatting, I think, should be a last resort.

  20. SoreVexed

    SoreVexed Resident Goth

    i agree. i try not to reformat too often, but then i do a lot of things that could get my hands slapped so i kinda have to.

Share This Page