How To Reset Your Windows Password When You Have Forgotten It

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winlogo.jpgThere's nothing worse than forgetting your password. Period. It can ruin your day completely. If you put off creating a Windows password reset disk or disabled automatic login and can't remember the password, now is the time to kick yourself.

Fortunately there are several online services out there that can help, if you are willing to pay or wait for them to reveal your password. Instead, this tip will show you how to reset your Windows password in minutes.


Online password recovery services such as Login Recovery and Fast Crack are easy to use, but either charge for priority service or make you wait two or more days to display your password. No thanks!

Instead there is an old tool, that is well supported and kept up to date, called Offline NT Password & Registry Editor that will reset Windows passwords on the fly and get you back up and running again…with out the wait.

I highly recommend that you read this tutorial first before attempted any password recovery. Not doing so could result in unexpected results. You have been warned!

NOTE: If you use EFS encrypted files, do not use Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, since all encrypted files for that user will be unreadable (after changing the password) and cannot be recovered unless you remember the old password again.

To get started select which boot method you want to use and download either:

NOTE: Right click on the links below and select Save Link As.

Floppy image along with SCSI drivers (if you hard drives are attached to a SCSI controller)
CD image – scroll down to "Download" section (includes SCSI drivers)
– If your PC supports USB booting, you can create a bootable USB drive from the files on the CD (see the readme file on the CD for more info).

Once you have selected and created the media, insert it in the drive (or plug into the USB port) and startup your PC. For this tutorial I am using the CD image for booting.

If you PC does not boot from the above media you selected, make sure your BIOS is enabled to boot from Floppy or CD or USB.

1 – At the first screen press the Enter key, which will automatically load disk drivers for you:

recoverpassword1.png


2 – In this step, select the boot partition, which is 1 on my Computer (arrow in below screen shot) and probably will be on your Computer. The default selection will also be in brackets before the blinking cursor. Since it is the default, you can just press Enter. If your boot partition is another number, type it in at the cursor and press Enter:

recoverpassword3.png


3 – After the boot partition has loaded, select the path to the registry folder. The table below shows you the path depending on which version of Windows is installed:

  • Windows NT 3.51 – winnt35/system32/config
  • Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 – winnt/system32/config
  • Windows 2003/Xp/Vista – windows/system32/config

Press Enter if you are running 2003, XP or Vista. For other versions, enter the number and press Enter:

recoverpassword4.png


4 – In the next step, since we want to change the password, press Enter to accept the default option of 1:

recoverpassword5.png


5 – In this step, press Enter to accept the default option of 1 – "Edit user data and passwords":

recoverpassword6.png


6 – Next, all users accounts on your System will be displayed. Enter the user name and press Enter. On my System, I need to change the password for the account WTN:

recoverpassword8.png


7 – Finally, the part we have been waiting for.  For best results, leave the password blank by typing an asterisk * (don't worry you can change it later) and press Enter then type y and Enter to acknowledge that you want to change the password.

recoverpassword10.png


8 – Type ! (exclamation point) to exit, then at the next question "What to do", type q then y to write to the files. You should see "Edit Complete"

9 – At New run? press enter. Remove the media from the drive or USB port and press Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot.

At the login prompt, just hit Enter and you should be able to logon to Windows.

If for any reason, Windows does not allow you to logon, repeat the steps again to change your password and at step 7, type in a password (instead of making it blank).

After logging on, don't forget to change your Windows password:

On XP, click on Start \ Run and type nusrmgr.cpl in the runbox and press OK. In the User Accounts window, click on your account and select Change my password.

On Vista, click on Start \ Control Panel \ User Accounts. Select your user account and click Change my password.

For more information, check out Offline NT Password & Registry Editor FAQ.

Comments on How To Reset Your Windows Password When You Have Forgotten It Leave a Comment

August 27, 2007

Joe Thomas @ 10:21 am #

Dude! This is AWESOME! THAnk you!!!!

September 15, 2007

ardit @ 10:42 am #

hi.
what password bullok leandroferr_93@hotmail.com

September 20, 2007

John @ 10:45 pm #

very cool, but very dangerous.

October 2, 2007

george @ 1:06 pm #

The link for (CD image ) doesn't work. Help please..!

george @ 1:07 pm #

the link for CD image doesn't work.Please help!

November 23, 2007

Leo @ 8:03 am #

Nice. I can finally change my account to Admin and do what I want to do on the box in my bedroom. It's funny how parents think they can lock a child hacker out of a computer.

December 4, 2007

NEO @ 8:00 pm #

rofl, to Leo comment.

January 19, 2008

chaz @ 11:18 am #

Everything goes as directed until I get to steps 6 and 7. It doesn't give me any user options to change. I get this error: SAM registry file (which contains user data) is not loaded!

January 23, 2008
March 18, 2008

Phil @ 11:50 am #

It loads everything fine, but it doesn't actually find any partitions to select.
Hard drive is a standard IDE drive. And it keeps wanting drivers for SCSI. but there are no scsi drives in that machine.

March 22, 2008

arditferizi @ 3:45 am #

It loads everything fine, but it doesn't actually find any partitions to select.
Hard drive is a standard IDE drive. And it keeps wanting drivers for SCSI. but there are no scsi drives in that machine.

arditferizi @ 3:45 am #

If something is going to go wrong, it's usually at steps 2 or 3. Make sure you pick the boot partition and the path registry folder is correct. If it still does not work, check out the FAQ at – http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/

May 17, 2008

DDos @ 11:25 am #

this really awesome, thanx dude 😀

August 19, 2008

Jawed @ 12:48 pm #

I really hate Windows Vista, as I didn't forget the password, System is just not accepting it i don't know whats wrong with it. I have been using same password whole day, without any issue but after restart it just not working.

I believe theres some problem with the vista system. This is the second time happened with me and same case as this one and same password. I was using password with 5 characters, an @ sign and two digits like ccccc@dd, hope you could tell me whats wrong with my password or its vista that can't understand once it restarts.

Thanks a lot man for good work.

September 5, 2008

Trevor @ 4:39 am #

Ok so I completely dismantled my old computer to get the floppy drive out of it. Took the motherboard and all out. Then I ghetto rigged the floppy drive to my HP Pavilion. I run the first start up floppy like it ask and it loads the first file says I need to insert another floppy for the second file and I take out my floppy stick in the Drive 1 floppy like it says to do in the instructions but it wont even try to loan it. The sec I press any key Enter, F, D anything it says to press in the instructions it just starts the computer normally and brings me to the log in page with nothing to do. I have sooo much stuff on that computer I don’t want to have erased. I found a blank CD to burn but my CD burning doesn’t have a program anymore to burn with because this (moms comp) crashed and got a new blank hard drive. Should I just shoot my face. Seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Plus I tried taking the hard drive out and inserting it into my Enclosure but the hard drive is new and doesn’t go in it……. Wtf.

September 26, 2008

JohnDupuis @ 11:07 am #

In corporate environment the best choice is password self management solutions. It's a good way for users to do password resets without any extra requests to helpdesk staff.
In turn, passwords are kept as secure as possible.

The tool I personally use in our company – desktop authority password self service

This solution forces users to answer several challenge questions for reseting their passwords. A
nd all new passwords always comply with our implemented password policy.

October 20, 2008

Bubba @ 2:26 pm #

Brilliant tool. Works on Server 2008, had to clear the current password first.

Note: At first it would let me change the password to something else, however the new password didn't allow me to logon. So did it again but just cleared the password. Rebooted, automatically logged on and I could change the admin password – happy days!

October 30, 2008

Clive @ 11:47 am #

Thank you so much for this, Brilliant. Like Bubba I tried to select a new password and it didn't work but when I cleared the password and selected blank the machine logged on straight away!! BRILLIANT!!!

November 28, 2008

lol @ 4:56 pm #

Nice. I can finally change my account to Admin and do what I want to do on the box in my bedroom. It's funny how parents think they can lock a child hacker out of a computer.

lol, knowing how to change a windows password makes you a pr0 1337 h4xx0r! Oh wait, it doesn't.

December 7, 2008

marcus @ 9:34 pm #

Tried and Tried NT PASSWORD, cant get pass sam registry error. after boot i simply press enter to this point. also tried choosing the actual number then pressing enter. Vista Basic OS, Dell C521. booting with cd-rom

December 11, 2008
February 14, 2009

Bob Beale @ 7:34 pm #

Thanks for doing this. I lost a laptop to a lightning strike and had to drag out one I hadn't used for three years, forgotten password and all. Was able to download your software and it worked like a dream – got on as Administrator, cleared the password and voila! I'm boss of my computer! Thank you: your efforts are much appreciated.

March 28, 2009

Chelsea Cloutier @ 3:09 am #

I keep running into the same problem. It saysSAM registry file (which contains user data) is not loaded! I have seen several other posts from people encountering the same problem but no solutions. Any ideas?

April 16, 2009

vistapro @ 10:30 am #

I been trying this for ages but doesnt work. I get to step 6 enter the user account then at step 7 the writing on my screen is different displayed to the screen above. I never get the chance to enter new password. It doesnt work. Help Please.

June 6, 2009

Moose @ 9:46 pm #

Awesome! Thanks heaps 🙂

June 8, 2009

me @ 2:36 pm #

yea this too complicated and mine dosent show any of this plz help help

June 10, 2009

LUKA @ 5:43 pm #

man this stuff absoluuuuuuuuutly rocks thank you so much guys.

July 3, 2009

farouk @ 5:53 am #

Hello,
Because Sam registry is not mounted so
This is the solution for "SAM registry file (which contains user data) is not loaded!" :
In step two choose partion 2 that's it !!
If you look partition after step one you can see :
dev/sda1 1 13334 …
dev/sda2 12255 125458 … BOOT
dev/sda3 151547 5632144 …
So you must write 2 at step two, because boot sector is on sda2

August 16, 2009

katie @ 8:53 am #

i am having the same problem as Chaz on 19 january 2008
i cant go further than stage 5.

when answering What to do? i enter number 1 – edit user data and passwords

but i get ERROR: SAM registry file (which contains user data) is not loaded!

how do i overcome this?

August 27, 2009

Suhas @ 9:51 am #

Hi,

I am seeing the same error as Katie,

ERROR: SAM registry file (which contains user data) is not loaded!

Till stage 5 everything works as shown on this page

Help please!

October 15, 2009

tanpopo @ 9:04 pm #

here is the methods I know.

The first thing which you check if you forget login password. When we install Windows, it automatically creates an account "Administrator" and sets its password to blank. So if you have forget Your user account password then try this:
Start system and when you See Windows Welcome screen / Login screen, press ctrl+alt+del keys Twice and it'll show Classic Login box. Now type "Administrator" (without quotes) in Username and leave Password field blank. Now press Enter and you should be able to log in Windows.
Now you can reset your account password from "Control Panel -> User Accounts".
Same thing can be done using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode Windows will show this in-built Administrator account in Login screen.

Windows XP and further versions also provide another method to recover forgotten Password by using "Reset Disk". If you created a Password Reset Disk in Past, you can use that disk to reset the password. To know more about It, please visit http://www.resetwindowspassword.com/

November 4, 2009

Giovanni @ 1:38 pm #

I have windows 7 and windows vista and I'm getting stuck on the step that asks for the path to the registry directory. I've tried to enter windows/system32/config and it did not work. Is the path on Vista and Windows 7 different from the other versions of Windows?

November 7, 2009

Ms Thompson @ 1:25 am #

Thank You
I tried two other websites and this one worked. Thanks to farouk
Hello,
Because Sam registry is not mounted so
This is the solution for "SAM registry file (which contains user data) is not loaded!" :
In step two choose partion 2 that's it !!
If you look partition after step one you can see :
dev/sda1 1 13334 …
dev/sda2 12255 125458 … BOOT
dev/sda3 151547 5632144 …
So you must write 2 at step two, because boot sector is on sda2

November 19, 2009

Nigel @ 4:14 pm #

Strange that Bubba got through on a Server 2008 O/S. I have used this tool in one of our off-site locations and was able to reset all our local admin passwords. Yet when I tried it on a server 2008 machine, it won't work. My manager seems to think that it doesn't have the drivers to load a SATA disk drive… any ideas ??

December 13, 2009

J Blai @ 6:40 am #

This worked AWESOME on my Windows 7 machine this morning (3:39AM). My daughter messed with the computer earlier & the password was screwed up. I was pulling my hair out until I came along this website. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

December 22, 2009

Marth McGregor @ 2:48 pm #

I cannot access the account. I am looking this up on a public computer, but my actual computer has a password and I cannot log in… can someone tell me an easy override for this?

January 12, 2010

Antony @ 4:31 pm #

Hello everyone. My concern is if this tool works for a server 2008 when this server is the domain controller. Thanks for your support.

January 28, 2010

Lance @ 9:50 pm #

First off the program does work. But when I get to step 7 instead of "type y and Enter to acknowledge that you want to change the password" coming up it goes to the next step and asks for the ! to quit.

Please help.
PS: up to this step everything is done the same as the directions say.

February 23, 2010

zukram @ 5:27 am #

Lance.. if this is not working for you.. you try to download hirens v.10 there is a password remover there that is easy to use..(active password remover)

Good luck..

March 23, 2010

John @ 2:16 am #

Truely awesome workaround. Thank you gentlemen for helping me (and alot of others) out of one very frustrating situation!

April 19, 2010

KRD @ 4:34 pm #

worked great!!!! you just really have to follow the steps. kudos!!! 🙂

May 27, 2010

flyers @ 8:20 am #

worked like a charm .. thanks!!

Erika @ 10:21 am #

@John:

Why is this dangerous?
thanks!

June 3, 2010

Liam Brady @ 5:26 am #

Hey I'm getting stuck on step 2. I can't choose the default partition 1 it fails and has error "invalid argument" so I select 2 and that works but then step 2 I don't know what to do simply pressing enter does not work. It just keeps asking me what is the path to the registry etc… I'm running vista what should I type here please help it's frustrating the hell out of me.

June 9, 2010

Mary @ 10:42 am #

Liam,

I am having the same problem as you! It won't load the boot drive. i even tried c:/windows/system32/config and that didn't even work.. ANYONE HELP!! I changed my password to something i thought i would remember and now I can't log in i think i may have hit the CAPSLOCK key in the middle of changeing it but can't figured out where.. and now i'm stuck not able to access my system. Pease help. anyone know how to get this the boot partition?

June 23, 2010

KErri @ 1:07 am #

I'm HAVING SAME PROBLEM—CANT GET PAST STEP 2! REGISTRY PATH???? PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kerri-woklearn@sbcglobal.net

Shanxin @ 2:54 am #

There are many tools can reset Windows XP/Vista/7 Password,
just download these tools,by tested,windows password key 8.0
earns its great popularity.

July 17, 2010

judy rodriguez @ 12:06 am #

did you get the information that you were seeking for?

August 2, 2010

david steger @ 4:14 pm #

Just reset the password for Server 2008 (member server) on a brand new Dell PowerEdge R310 with a Dell 6iR RAID adapter. The first time it did not work but I believe it was due to Windows being in a "dirty" state. The second time I ran the reset it worked like a charm. Could not have been easier. Must have for the tech arsenal!!!

August 7, 2010

martin .r @ 7:40 pm #

Thanks for this .. worked well and now back into my pc realy big thankyou .. windows know about the clitch that caused my lockout its a common problem but they dont seem to want to patch it .. pity i wonder if they are in league with the folks that charge for the password recovery apps that you have to buy lolsss . ..

August 28, 2010

BigChill @ 5:19 pm #

Error SAM registry file which contains user data is not loaded!
I have tried 2 at step 2, still getting the same error everytime. What can I do? My CD rom is broken and my wife changed the password and forgot it the same day. I'm using a usb to boot. I need my files and need administration to fix CD rom . Please help me been at this for a while . 🙁

BigChill @ 5:22 pm #

@Nigel:
Error SAM registry file which contains user data is not loaded!
I have tried 2 at step 2, still getting the same error everytime. What can I do? My CD rom is broken and my wife changed the password and forgot it the same day. I'm using a usb to boot. I need my files and need administration to fix CD rom . Please help me been at this for a while . 

August 30, 2010

Before you use NT OFFline to reset your password, try to start Windows in safe mode and login as 'administrator' with a blank password. If that doesn't work and you're having problems using NT Offline, try viewing some of the youtube videos here… http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ntoffline&aq=f

September 14, 2010

M11GEG @ 10:51 am #

Hi

I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for the info above. My son had forgotteen his password for many months' and has been using the comp through his "guest" acc.
The instructions and visual screens were very helpful though I did get into a bit of a pickle at the * point…but after 2 attempts I have managed to get into my son's acc so he is very happy again.

Many thanks
M11GEG

September 23, 2010

Mango23 @ 10:40 pm #

Ok, so it took me a couple of tries but I'm so suprized this actually worked!
Thanks so much, I'll deff use this the next time my mind draws a blank.

October 4, 2010

imnewonhere @ 10:50 am #

I've tried it and nothing happens.

November 1, 2010

kevin @ 2:42 am #

I would like to introduce Windows Password Recovery Tool 3.0 . it not only supports XP, 2000, and NT, I have personally tested it with Vista Home Premium and Ultimate.

November 18, 2010

Bill @ 11:33 pm #

The best solution I found was to use the Winlogon Password Reset(link below), it got me in seamlessly and there were absolutely no problems.
http://www.windows-logon-password.com/

December 9, 2010

Rylai @ 9:37 pm #

You can create a Windows password reset disk to reset your lost or unknown Windows password. I have created one with the tool Windows Password Breaker and used it to reset my administrator password successfully.

Chris @ 9:51 pm #

Great post! There are many methods for windows password recovery. At one time I forgot windows password. I created a windows password reset disk with a program from http://www.windowsloginrecovery.com/ and I successfully reset the forgotten password with the disk.

January 17, 2011

Dhananjay Adhav @ 12:38 am #

Hi

I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for the info above.
The instructions and visual screens were very helpful though I did follow and it worked out perfectly

Thanks
DJ

January 30, 2011

Ariel @ 10:43 am #

I have downloaded Windows Password Resetter 1.7. It is a very quick and useful utility for resetting passwords. It not only supports XP, 2000, and NT, I have personally tested it with Vista Home Premium and Ultimate. It works perfectly to reset any local user account to a blank password.
Just an easy to use bootable CD/DVD . It can also be used on a USB Flash Drive. http://www.resetlostpassword.com

February 2, 2011

netsh @ 7:37 am #

this AWESOME!!!!!! big HELP!!!!

February 13, 2011

hailey @ 12:45 pm #

This worked perfectly! Thank you

karen @ 8:55 pm #

i'd love to give this a try, as all of a sudden, my computer isn't recognizing my password. however, any time i try to download and install an .exe file, i get asked for the admin password! (i need winzip or another utility to open the iso file, apparently)…everytime i do anything, its asking for that damn password. can anyone help?

February 14, 2011

mikey @ 5:54 am #

HELLP!!!!
Im stuck on finding the registry path im using vista .

February 16, 2011

charles @ 12:20 pm #

You Da Man !! This is fantastic. Worked – just as it said on the tin ! Thank You.

March 1, 2011

ameen basil @ 2:54 am #

Really Thanks

I changed the admin password in windows7, and working fine

once more thanks to all

Basil

March 28, 2011

mirushaki @ 3:30 am #

Very cool!
It's a best solution I've ever seen

Thanks a lot!

March 30, 2011

Nanshan @ 2:14 am #

Saved me today. After many hours of installing and tweaking a brand new PC, something went wrong. I was not able to log into the only Administrator account I had, once the machine had been rebooted.

I burned Windows Password Key to usb, followed the onscreen prompts and in a few minutes was back in the machine.

What a lifesaver!

It will become a permanent part of my toolset for fixing Winndows password problems.

http://download.cnet.com/Windows-Password-Key/3000-2092_4-75031111.html

April 12, 2011

m,anish @ 12:30 am #

hi Frnd ,

its good and Best soft nice grate search.

May 6, 2011

teddy bear @ 7:32 pm #

hi. i just found out about u . i have a notebook and it does not have a cd drive ..how can i recover my password or use your method. i am an old man with no experince or a great knowledge of computers..i am not tech savvy in other words. .but i am stuck/….so pls pls pls help me recover my admin password.

May 18, 2011

John Bonaccorso @ 9:09 am #

@Antony: Wouldn't think so Anthony since there are no "local" accounts on a DC. The DCPROMO process changes all local accounts on the box to Active Directroy Domain Accounts. Since this utility only resets the local administrator account, there wouldn't be one on the DC to reset.

May 25, 2011

Mark Hoppus @ 10:31 am #

@Jawed:

With all respect, no matter how much Windows Vista ticks people off, it does not change passwords. So either you forgot it, or you are not a good typist. No offense.

June 6, 2011

Liydnd @ 10:58 pm #

The quick and easiest way when you realize losing windows password is burning a Windows Password Key to a blank CD,and insert the disk to your computer, it allows clear the password without knowing the old one.

http://digg.com/news/story/Forgot_your_Windows_password_How_to_reset_Windows_Passwor

June 26, 2011

Nanci @ 12:08 pm #

Will attempting this process cause me to lose all my original files?

June 27, 2011
August 2, 2011

kenni @ 6:41 pm #

What I've noticed is that no one is responding to the issue concerning step 2. I'm also using Vista and I've attempted to boot the system 2x and at step 2 I cannot select option 1, 2, or 3. Would someone please provide a solution…and please don't say follow the instructions. Much appreciated!
K.

October 6, 2011

Joe G @ 1:32 pm #

Aloha! Most likely with 2008 your issue is capitalization and partition #. 2008 creates a boot partition and a "windows" partition. Select the second (or largest) partition if you've done a standard install. When it asks, your directory should be Windows/System32/config (note the caps and the Linux notation '/' NOT '\'). In Linux….and as God intended…. W is a different character than w and S is a different character than s. That is why W looks different than w! 🙂

January 6, 2012

Sancho @ 8:45 am #

I also know a windows password recovery tool which can easily reset lost windows password – http://www.top-password.com/reset-windows-password.html ,including your forgotten windows administrator password and user passwords.You can try this.

January 7, 2012

syonxu @ 7:19 am #

There are many Windows password reset tools, but I haven't personally tested them. Windows Password Rescuer is a widely spread edition on internet…
It supports running with CD/DVD/USB, remove the lost or forgotten password and then log in to your computer without any password.As long as you have another PC to install it and burn it to CD/DVD or USB Drive.You also can use Windows Password Rescuer to add a new user with administrator privilege to your Windows when you can not find target user. With this New user account you can and logon your locked computer directly to copy important data from the locked computer if you want to reinstall your Windows system at last.More detailed instruction you can visit :
http://www.daossoft.com/documents/how-to-reset-window-2000-xp-vista-win7-password.html

February 14, 2012

I need to find out how to get my computer back. I didn't forget it the password does not work!

My password does not connect.

February 28, 2012

musicpaladin @ 10:28 pm #

I download a software from http://www.magic-rescue-cd.com to reset my windows login password, I works and easy use!

May 31, 2012

Fiifi @ 6:39 am #

This is a cool resource. Cute and straight-forward

August 30, 2012

Thanujan @ 7:28 am #

Awesome dude

June 4, 2013

Love offline NT. I’m mostly a linux guy and had occasion to reset windows nt admin for a friend's desktop. Years later found myself in need of resetting win 2008 on IBM enterprise level server. Was surprised it still worked! I can't even get some linux to install because it doesn't have the write hard drive drivers… offline nt is awesome.

August 21, 2013

cphe @ 12:11 am #

Hi plz send me my password facebook idnt know send me text

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