How to recover a lost xp password
How to recover a lost xp password
These techniques to recover a lost xp password are among the more
advanced Windows XP Tips and Tricks. In some cases, recovering from a
lost password can be very easy though.
For completeness' sake we start with the simplest tips that can
help you regain access to a locked account. But even if you find
yourself in a more complex situation, please read on. You'll find out
what to do.
Warning : Be extra careful if you are using
Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows XP Professional. If you don't
know what EFS is, you probably shouldn't worry about it. It's a feature
in Windows XP Professional that deals with file security on a local
level. If you do use it, please always make sure to
export your private and public keys before attempting to reset your
If you can login with another user account
If you share your computer with other users it's fairly simple to
regain access to your account. You could ask one of the other users to
log on to Windows with their password and perform the following steps :
- Click the Start button
- Click "Run"
- In the "Open" field, type "control userpasswords2" (without
- Click ok
Windows opens a user accounts dialog. Select the user with the
lost password and click the "Reset Password" button. Enter a new
password (and a second time in the confirmation box) and click ok. Click
ok once again and you are ready.
Now you can log on to your account using the new password.
More advanced password recovery
If there are no other users on your machine to unlock your
account, you need to reset your password "offline". Offline means that
you boot your pc from outside your usual Windows XP environment using a
boot disk or a bootable cdrom.
This offline technique to recover a lost xp password isn't for the
faint of heart; the procedure isn't presented in a nice graphical
interface and there even is a small risk involved ...
Sometimes the password reset fails and as a consequence you cannot
log on with the locked user account afterwards. This doesn't happen
often though, and if you are reading this because you need to recover a
lost xp password ...
you weren't able to log on after all ...
Of course you will need access to another pc to create a boot disk
or bootable cd.
Is your boot sequence right ?
Your computer's boot sequence is set in the BIOS and determines if
the pc can boot from a floppy or cdrom. To get into the BIOS, you
typically need to press a certain key or key combination during startup.
Depending on the brand of your computer this can be :
- The F1 key
- The F2 key
- The F10 key
- The del key
If you have made your way into the BIOS, now would the time to
choose either your floppy drive or your cdrom as primary startup device.
Below is a BIOS boot sequence screenshot where the floppy drive
has top priority.
Creating the boot disk
You can download an offline password and registry editor to create
the bootable disk at Offline NT Password & Registry Editor or if
this url has become invalid over time, you can request your copy with
the small form below. You will receive a mail with a valid download link
Don't worry, we will use your email address only to send you the
download link, not for anything else. We hate spammers as much as you
Yes, please mail me a valid download link for a
password reset boot disk
Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk
must be filled in.E-mail Address*
After you have downloaded the Offline Password and Registry editor
you have a .zip file on your hard drive that could use some unzipping.
Depending on the choice that you have made in your BIOS, you either need
to carry out the steps to create a bootable floppy, or the steps to
create a bootable cdrom.
Instructions for the boot disk (floppy)
Once unzipped, you'll have 3 files : rawrite2.exe, install.bat and a
.bin file. Put a blank, formatted floppy in your floppy drive and launch
install.bat. That will create a bootable floppy from which you need to
boot your pc (the one with the lost xp password).
The bootable cdrom
The unzipped file delivers a .iso file that you need to burn to a cd
with your cd burner software. That creates a bootable cd to boot your pc
(again, the one with the lost xp password).
Time to fix that lost xp password
Shortly after you boot your computer from the floppy or cd you'll
have an intimidating screen filled with text staring you in the face.
Like this :
There's no need to feel overwhelmed. In order to reset your lost xp
password you need to go through some questions in a number of steps. In
each step the program offers a default answer. Usually these defaults
are ok and you just need to press ENTER.
Step 1 : Select the disk where the Windows XP
Step 2 : Select PATH and registry files. For most
Windows installations you can safely accept the defaults.
Step 3 : Password or registry edit. Select "Edit user
data and passwords" - the default. After that you need to choose the
user account. The program defaults to "Administrator", so you need to
type the name of the user with the lost xp password if it's not the
administrator account that you're trying to unlock. Once you've made
clear which user account's lost xp password you want to reset, you need
to supply the new password. To finish it off confirm the password change
and type "!" to quit the user selection menu. Now type "q" (for quit)
to continue with ...
Step 4 : Writing back changes. This step requires one
more confirmation and then wants to know if you want another run.
Answer with the defaults, remove the bootable floppy or cdrom and reboot
You should now be able to log on with your account and the new
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