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Reset Your Windows Password with a Ubuntu Live CD

If you can't remember the password of your Windows session, you can choose to reset it. Here's how to reset your password using a Ubuntu Live CD.

This tip applies to Windows XP, Vista, 7, and Windows 8.

How To Reset a Forgotten Windows Password

Create Your Ubuntu Live CD

The first step is to download and burn the Ubuntu disk image onto a CD or DVD.

Boot Your Computer on the Ubuntu Live CD

Insert the Ubuntu Live CD and reboot your computer. During startup, repeatedly press the Delete key to access the BIOS.

Once in the BIOS setup utility, go to the Boot tab > Boot Device Priority.

Move the CD/DVD drive to the top of the list and press F10 to save your settings.

Tap on Y (Yes) to confirm your selection and close the BIOS setup utility.

Your computer will boot on the Ubuntu Live CD.

Install the "Chntpw" Package

In the Ubuntu installer, select the desired language settings and click Try Ubuntu.

Go into System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager to open the package manager.

Next, click Settings > Repositories > Ubuntu Software > Downloadable from the Internet and tick the Community-maintained Open Source software - (universe) checkbox.

Close the Settings menu and click on the Reload button to update the packages.

Make a quick search for the chntpw package (Offline NT Password & Registry Editor). Once found, click on the little star displayed in front of the package and select Mark to Install > Apply.

Identify the System Drive

The next step is to identify the system drive (containing the Windows installation). Go to My Computer and search for the drive containing the Windows folder. Make sure to note down the reference of the system drive; you'll need it later on for a terminal command.

Delete Your Current Password

Go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal and run the
cd /media

Run the
command to get a list the hard disk drives present on your system.

Run the
cd reference_of_system_drive
command to select the system drive.

Next, type
cd WINDOWS/system32/config
, followed by Enter.

Run the
sudo chntpw SAM -i
command to launch the password removal utility (chntpw). Type
and press Enter to validate.

A table containing the names of the Windows users will be displayed. Retrieve the code for the desired user account from the RID column.

followed by RID code of the selected user account and confirm with Enter.

and press Enter to erase the password for selected user account. Once the operation has been carried out, type
and press Enter to quit the terminal.

Close all windows and restart your computer. Don't forget to remove the Ubuntu Live CD.

Connect to your Windows session and set a new password.

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