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Windows XP lost administrators password

Some time ago, I’ve talked about chntpasswd as a great utility for when you’re locked out of a Windows 2000 or XP installation because you’ve either forgotten (or weren’t informed) of the valid password to get in. It turns out there is a different approach… well yes, you could format and install from scratch blowing away all data on the drive, OR you could do a second installation in the same partition – that could be messy though and waste space. If you just need a few files off, you could boot up a linux livecd and copy the files to another disc before wiping and rebuilding, but there is yet another possibility….


I hadn’t heard this approach before, it essentially has you restart from the install cd and do a repair installation of the existing XP install. It should churn away and copy files and will need to reboot, let it reboot (NOT FROM THE CD). In the lower left hand side of the screen you will see “Installing Devices” near the progress bar. At this point you need to press shift+f10 to get a console window. Type NUSRMGR.CPL and enter – you should see the user’s control panel applet open up. From here you should be able to change or remove passwords as necessary.

It appears that you can also type control userpasswords2 at the command prompt and choose to login without a password. Once all that is done, you should be able to close the windows and then let the repair process finish – you will need your product key. Once that’s done, you should be able to login with the re-set password (or no password) depending on what you setup.

They say it’s a security hole – it sure sounds like a “security through obscurity” attempt. I hadn’t heard of the shift-f10 combination to launch a command window in setup. I haven’t yet had a chance to give this one a try, but it’s good to keep in the back of your memory “just in case”.

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Posted by on September 5, 2006.

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Categories: Computers, Windows Software, Windows Tech Support

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