Check out this FREE method for retrieving forgotten Windows passwords. I works on Windows XP and Vista (not yet tested on Windows 7).
Ingredients: one Linux live CD (that auto mounts Windows partitions – e.g. Ubuntu, Backtrack, Fedora, openSUSE).
Save the .iso and burn it to a disc.
Boot from the CD and follow these instructions (assuming your are using backtrack, but should be similar for other Linux distributions):
- Open a Linux terminal and enter the following commands:
- cd /mnt
- ls (make a note of the folders listed here. You might need them in the next step.)
- cd sda1/Windows/System32/ (If this doesn’t work you might have the wrong hard drive: try replacing ’sda1? with sda2, hda1, or hda2)
- mv utilman.exe utilman.old && cp cmd.exe utilman.exe
- reboot (and remove the CD)
- Once rebooted, at Vista or XP log in screen, press the Windows key + U to run CMD with system privileges. Replace the username below with one of your choice – it must not already exist!
- c:\>net user username mypassword /add
- c:\>net localgroup administrators username /add
- Log in with the new admin account!