Go to TogaWare.com Home Page. GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
Duck Duck Go

Resetting Passwords

If you can't log in to a MW/Windows computer because you have lost/forgotten your password, then use Live Linux CD and the chntpw application. This should work for all NT-based version of Windows (Windows 2000 and later, including Windows 7).

Note that encrypted files on the MW/Windows hard disk encrypted (using the built-in Windows encryption) may not be available after changing the Windows password as we describe here.

Boot your computer from the System Rescue CD (sourceforge.net/projects/systemrescuecd/ to obtain a command line.

Mount the MS/Windows disk. It might be /dev/sda1 or /dev/sda2.

$ ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows
$ ls /mnt/windows

We should see in the directory listing a WINDOWS folder, and under that a system32 folder. If not, then it might be the wrong partition. So try /dev/sda2.


$ cd WINDOWS/system32/config/

The file SAM contains the Windows registry, which includes the passwords.

To list the users we can use the command:

$ chntpw -l SAM

To change or reset the administrator password, enter:

$ sudo chntpw SAM

Some text will appear and we will see a list of all of the users of the system.

At the “User Edit Menu:” prompt at the bottom of the terminal window choose to clear the password to blank. We can always set a new password in Windows once you log in. To do this, enter “1” and then “y” to confirm.

To reset or change the password of a user other than the administrator, enter:

$ sudo chntpw -u <username> SAM

Then reboot into MS/Windows.

Copyright © 1995-2020 Togaware Pty Ltd
Support further development through the purchase of the PDF version of the book.
Brought to you by Togaware and the author of open source software including Rattle and wajig.
Also the author of Data Mining with Rattle and Essentials of Data Science.