Posted by: Odzangba | January 3, 2011

Reset Windows Administrator Password With CHNTPW

I occasionally have to reset Windows passwords for my colleagues and friends… it’s a chore but it has to be done The easiest way to reset a Windows password is to use the Ultimate Boot CD. However, when you can’t get your hands on an UBCD, you can fire up an Ubuntu LiveUSB, install chntpw, mount the windows %systemroot% partition (the one with the Windows folder) and reset the password.

According to its manual page,

chntpw is a utility to view some information and change user passwords in a Windows NT/2000 SAM userdatabase file, usually located at \WINDOWS\system32\config\SAM on the Windows file system. In addition it also contains a simple registry editor (same size data writes) and an hex-editor which enables you to fiddle around with bits and bytes in the file as you wish.”

Before we proceed, let’s make a few assumptions:
1. You are using Windows 7/Vista
2. Your windows partition is located at /dev/sda1
3. We’ll mount it at /media/mnt/
4. We’ll reset the Administrator account.

Now fire up a LiveUSB/CD/DVD and install chntpw via the terminal like so:

sudo apt-get install chntpw

You can also download the deb here

Mount the windows partition like so:

sudo ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /media/mnt ; cd /media/mnt/Windows/System32/config

Adjust the device names and folder paths to suit your setup. If you don’t know your username, chntpw can list all users like so:

chntpw -l SAM

Reset the Administrator password like so:

chntpw -u Administrator SAM

You should get a prompt similar to this:

- - - - User Edit Menu:
1 - Clear (blank) user password
2 - Edit (set new) user password (careful with this on XP or Vista)
3 - Promote user (make user an administrator)
4 - Unlock and enable user account [probably locked now]
q - Quit editing user, back to user select
Select: [q] >

Type 1 to clear the password. This option has the best chance of success and comes with the least complications. You should get another prompt similar to this if you choose option 1:

Hives that have changed:
# Name
Write hive files? (y/n) [n] :

Type y and you should get this:

0 - OK

Reboot the into Microsoft Windows like so:

sudo reboot

and create a new password for the Administrator account.


  1. Talk about simplicity that accomplishes its purpose.

  2. […] the in Microsoft Windows like so: sudo reboot and make a new password for the Administrator account.How To Reset Administrator Password – Google Web-log Search What’s on Twitter:Announcements on the subject: Talks on the subject: Question by Cassandra […]

  3. can we do this using linux redhat…??????????

  4. kit from I have found to be very useful, which runs from cd, but can install it to usb .comes with menu for winpass, regedit, virus scan or
    use command line

  5. Hi! I have a problem.

    I got this message once I have reset the password:

    Select: ! – quit, . – list users, 0x – User with RID (hex)
    or simply enter the username to change: [Administrator]

    Now, I press ! and Enter to save and exit but I get:

    Cannot find value

    So I Cannot exit or save,
    what should I do?

  6. Excellent items from you, man. I have take
    into accout your stuff prior to and you’re just extremely wonderful. I actually like what you’ve obtained here, really like what you are stating and the
    way in which during which you say it. You are making it enjoyable and you continue to
    care for to keep it smart. I can not wait to read much more from you.
    This is actually a wonderful website.

  7. Hi there, I desire to subscribe for this web site to obtain
    hottest updates, thus where can i do it please assist.

  8. Your chntpw ‘How to’ worked perfectly for me (WinXP, HP nx6310)
    Thank you very much

  9. PCUnlocker Live CD is easier than chntpw.

  10. Hi! it did not work for my Win7 64bit!! in ubuntu all goes right. but after rebooting win7 don’t log me on user root who is admin((

    What’s wrong?

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