Administrator passwords

Every now and then I get the situation where I really have to get rid of an administrator password on a PC. For instance, someone gives an aging relative a laptop which they used at work, which has an admin password on it, then I have to do some work with it. There are probably other ways of getting rid of them (passwords not aging relatives), including blowing away the disk and re-installing  windows! As I seem to be becoming a specialist in non-destructive rebuilds of windows systems, I need a way that does not do any damage.

Fortunately, some kind soul has written a Linux utility to do just this, a full write up of which can be found here . Thanks Ubuntucat!

In summary for my own purposes it boils down to these steps.

  1. Boot from an appropriate Ubuntu live CD or USB key
  2. Change the repositories to include the Software restricted by copyright or legal issues (multiverse).
  3. Use synaptic to download and install chntpw
  4. mount the windows drive
  5. in the terminal window go to the windows config using something similar to
    cd /media/disk/WINDOWS/system32/config/
  6. run the utility to change the admin password using
    sudo chntpw SAM

This is now part of my tool box I use for these sorts of jobs. Not something you should abuse though!

Posted in Computer Stuff

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