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Need help! I lost my Windows XP admin password

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 19, 2009 4:44 AM PDT

Need help! I lost my Windows XP admin password

I have lost my Windows XP administrative password and can't find it to save my life! Am I stuck having to wipe and reload my computer? Or is there a method I can use to reset it or bypass the log-in screen. I do not want to lose everything! Thanks for your time!

--Submitted by Jill W.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question. NOTE:Please take caution when using these suggest programs or techniques when recovering or resetting your admin passwords, as there are risks and no guarantees.

ONTPRE does the job --Submitted by si

There are numerous ways to get your admin password back... --Submitted by darrenforster99

Changing the Admin password --Submitted by BillTR;posts#3066379

If you have an answer for Jill, click the reply link below and submit it. Please be as detailed as possible when providing your solution. Thanks!
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WinXP Recovery CD
by Arnie962 / June 19, 2009 11:14 AM PDT

If you got a Recovery CD then boot your computer with the CD in the drive. That should allow you to go into the control panel and change your settings. Also you may be able to do it in safe mode without the recovery CD.

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by puma / June 26, 2009 11:47 AM PDT
In reply to: WinXP Recovery CD

is not forgetting one's password a feature of windows? meaning that if you can't log in and check email or surf the web, you are much safer from getting infected by a trojan horse or some other malware. each new version of windows just gets better than the next!

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Trojan horse?
by santuccie / August 2, 2009 5:38 PM PDT
In reply to: feature

First off, do you know what a Trojan horse is? I do remember you saying a long time ago that you were some kind of technician (don't remember verbatim, much less the whole post, but it was something like, "Being a Windows tech, I hate to compliment OS X, but...;" of course nothing more than a preemptive attempt at a disclaimer for someone who would go on to make a career of bashing Windows and pushing OS X). If you were a Windows tech, regardless of which specialty(ies) you took to complement Core Components, you would know the difference between a Trojan horse and an exploit. Hint: same purpose, different attack method.

That said, and since this is an XP forum, I will first mention the fact that XP users (and 2K users) have plenty of ways to avoid infection, none of which require disconnecting from the Web or not using the computer at all (Cute, kid. How old are you again?). Some of these include sandboxing (virtual and policy), browser protection, and Invincible Windows. Three of the most widely used antivirus products (Norton, McAfee, and AVG) include browser protection to block drive-by downloads.

Then we get into newer OSes. After three years, we have yet to see any ItW exploits for Vista. And with a new technology in Windows 7 called "Safe Unlinking," it's going to be even tougher. As is already, Charlie Miller says you can find and exploit 5-10 bugs in OS X in the amount of time it takes to find one in Vista, even with UAC disabled. And Nils made his demonstration on Win 7 beta in March, two months before Safe Unlinking debuted. How much harder will it be next year?

While there is no consensus on how long it will be before we see ItW drive-by downloads for OS X, it is speculated that criminals will focus their full attention on the Mac if they start running out of reachable (vulnerable) XP machines. Along with more and continuously evolving anti-drive-by-download solutions, a lot of reviewers are heralding Windows 7 an "XP killer." It's been almost three years since I had an infection on any of my productive machines (I do have VPCs with which to test different products, including antimalware scanners). Of course most Mac (and Linux) users have been using their Windows alternatives much longer, also with no infections. But you can't assess the effectiveness of your Kevlar vest until someone actually fires at you. I have family who use credit cards on their Macs and, frankly, I am a little concerned.

If we were to consider the fact that someone has already assembled an "iBotnet" comprising a few thousand Macs, and recall that it took 2-3 years following the release of XP and IE6 for the first drive-by downloads to turn up, I wouldn't give it much longer. The hackers need time to get familiar with your platform, but they already have the advantage of knowing what an exploit is, what types of vectors to look for, and how easy it is to pull it off on a Mac (which has an added disadvantage of very few users running security products, none of which presently offer dedicated browser protection).

What's left? Oh yeah, Trojan horses, which exist for all platforms. Unless someone is trying to hide malware inside a data file, such as a Word document or PowerPoint slideshow, it doesn't take a buffer overflow or privilege escalation to infect a computer with an executable run locally. It could be a red flag if you have to sudo for a child program, but I've read in a couple of blogs that there are more privilege escalation vulnerabilities for Apple than there are for Windows anyway. I'll admit that I have no evidence to validate this hearsay, but I must say it seems reasonable, given the fact that security researchers say unanimously that OS X is the most vulnerable of all platforms on the market today. Snow Leopard will raise the bar a little with ASLR, but you'll still have to wait for NX, Safe Unlinking, and a few others before you can claim to be anything more than a sitting duck, putting your fate in the hands of the hunter and hoping he'll pass you over for a larger animal.

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Admin Password
by gysgtusmc74 / June 27, 2009 5:28 AM PDT
In reply to: WinXP Recovery CD

Using the recovery cd wont work. If you boot into safe mode that gets you to the admin account and you would then still need the password. I use Hirens boot disk. It has an active password deletion program. Boot from the disk and delete the old password. You can then turn around and put in a new password if you want.

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about hirens boot disk
by Shiva prasad. / July 10, 2009 6:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Admin Password

what is hirens boot disk>>..

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Password Recovery
by gysgtusmc74 / July 15, 2009 8:40 AM PDT
In reply to: about hirens boot disk
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by viot76 / November 28, 2009 1:50 PM PST
In reply to: about hirens boot disk
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some recovery tool also may be help
by monkeylin / June 29, 2009 12:14 PM PDT
In reply to: WinXP Recovery CD
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by RoyLoo / June 19, 2009 11:25 AM PDT

If you go to you'll be able to get your Admin password with no problem. You will have to pay for it, but I've used it and it works every time. I've tried other methods, but none with the consistent success that LoginRecovery has. I know this may sound like an ad, but I'm just a very satisfied user.

Collapse - is a major scam
by download_fiend / June 26, 2009 4:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Try

i've tried the free feature on in 2008 and it does not work. i then paid for the professional recovery and it also did not work. i requested a refund and did not receive it. major scam. it is possible it actually may have helped some but it was fraudulent for me.

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Need help! I lost my Windows XP admin password
by Whiskey1441 / June 19, 2009 11:27 AM PDT
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Lost admin. password.
by baldbamboo / June 19, 2009 11:28 AM PDT

Dear Jill just $30.00 for SpotMau Power Suite 2008 can save your life.

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Recovering lost password
by patterjp / June 19, 2009 11:29 AM PDT

As I have had to do this many times for computers I work on and repair, I found best tool was from Lsoft, called Active @ Password Changer. They now have a version that works with everything from Windows XP to Windows 7 and Server 2008. It is not free, but it works every time. Instead of finding your password, it allows you to reset your password on boot-up.
Here is their URL

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hirens boot disk
by sarajohnson1 / March 18, 2010 6:00 PM PDT

hirens boot disk is a collection of software's with the ability of Boot able it has lots of softwares like Disk backup Tools, Partitions Tools and many more...

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lost password
by dxjanis / June 19, 2009 11:36 AM PDT

Amazing thing, google; I typed "reveal password" and found freeware that claims to do just that. XP admin as well as other forgotten passwords. Personally, I keep my passwords simple enough to remember.

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You can reset it with a Linux-based bootable CD Utility
by JEfromCanada / June 19, 2009 11:37 AM PDT

I personally use a utility created by Petter Hagen and freely downloadable from the internet. Whiskey1441 has already mentioned an article that contains a link to this utility, but I will provide the direct link here:

If you have encrypted volumes on your computer, using this method can destroy your data or make it unreadable, so use it at your own risk. Again, the article referenced by Whiskey1441 contains some useful warnings that you should read and be aware of. This warning can be found here:

When you download this utility (from a computer you can gain access to), it will place a file on your system that you need to run. This file, in turn, will create a bootable CD that needs to be run on the machine for which you are trying to reset the password.

The screens are wordy, but if you read them carefully, follow the directions exactly, and be mindful of the potential risks, this utility should work out for you.

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Getting past the windows password demand.
by wketel2 / June 20, 2009 5:22 AM PDT

Yes, if you can get the disk to do a LInux boot, then you are able to remove the password. I did it once a while ago, of course, I had the help of an IT master who described what to do, over the wall, from the next cube.
The cd that he gave me to do it was "hawke PC, #39", I don't know if that is actually the name, or what.
But booting in Linux from a CD is definitly a good way to go, and a bit cheaper than paying for it.

And next time, pick a password that you can put in your paper address book, under "P", and have it look like an address: PW 123MainStreet, as an example. But be a little more creative in picking the name.

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Great program to change passwords for 2000, XP & Vista
by OldSk00l / June 19, 2009 11:38 AM PDT

On another computer, go to and download CD080802.ZIP. Burn the ISO file to a CD. Look for the WALKTHROUGH instructions and print them out. This Linux-based program will allow you to change the password to whatever you wish for whichever account you want to change. I've used this many times and it works like a champ! Good luck!

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Lost XP password
by omiller315 / June 19, 2009 11:41 AM PDT
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A related xp home password problem, possibly stupid question
by techytacky / January 30, 2010 1:21 PM PST
In reply to: Lost XP password

Hi all (and this is a really cold case, but I need help),

I read the excellent introductory article on the main page of the XP Pro & Home page (How to repair your XP installation - Updated!), but unfortunately, that discussion is locked. I searched for a password problem in Home and ended up here, so here goes...

When I try to do a recovery of my XP Home/ SP2 (after having dumped the stuff recommended in the aforementioned article), the installation process asks me for my password, which I dutifully supply. The problem is, it says that this is not the correct password. So I went to my little black book and looked up some old passwords, none of which worked (this took several bootings, because three strikes and you're out, as you probably all know). Then I got to thinking that maybe the startup system invokes NumLock (locks numbers?), and since there was a number in my password, this might have been the snag. Wrong! I changed it to something simple, without numbers, but same old same old when I tried to do the recovery - with my factory version Dell Reinstallation CD.

I have corrupted my C drive on this particular HDD, I think, by starting a format, then aborting (by just shutting off the PC, because I couldn't make anything else work). I was afraid that it was erasing my Reinstallation CD because suddenly my DVD drive began to whir like mad. I can start the HDD in question only in Safe Mode, otherwise a get a blue screen with one of those 0x(6 zeros)XYZ messages. Too late, I remembered that I should have formatted the drive from Disk Management. Now, when I go to DM, all of the drives but the C drive can be formatted! (I have two HDD, each partitioned into a system and a data drive, with C & E together and D & F together). Plus, somehow C drive seems to be the queen bee. I am wondering if there was an original password that came with this PC and which is embedded in the Reinstallation process, having nothing to do with the User Account passwords. Btw, I tried to just eliminate the password, but can't, possibly because of the corruption (I can eliminate it from the D drive). Help!

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Don't mess around paying for anything Ophcrack
by nickao65 / June 19, 2009 11:42 AM PDT

Don't mess around paying for anything Ophcrack.

You can even get onto the internet and use your computer with this program, surf the web etc. Most of all the Ophcrack will crack your password and for FREE!

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Did too
by djvic87 / June 29, 2009 12:07 PM PDT

Indeed. LOL I was about to say the same thing. Ophcrack all the way.

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Windows XP admin password.
by jlpfaffly / June 19, 2009 11:49 AM PDT

I use spotmau to take care of this problem. Not only will it find your password it will do so much more. It will cost you $49.95 for the newest version. Go to and read all about it. You will never be sorry that you purchased this software. I have nothing to do with the company. I am just a very satisfied user of the product.

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use ophack
by ldsaint / June 28, 2009 3:50 AM PDT

download ophack, burn to disk. start pc with disc, let it find your passwords. As long as you haven't made them really complicated it won't take long at all.

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Need help! I lost my Windows XP admin password
by wmm403 / June 19, 2009 11:49 AM PDT

Are you currently logged into a user account with Admin level privileges? If so, create a new user account with the same level of access and assign a password you will keep somewhere safe = or no password at all.

Note: Usualy when a PC is being setup, many users do not enter an Admin password or do not create a separate user account with lower level access. It could be you are already an Admin level user.

If not, then try this approach at:

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Shouldn't be
by SkywayTraveler / June 19, 2009 11:56 AM PDT

If there'a a way to get aound the Administrator's password, then Microsoft just wasted a lot of programming time, didn't they? Next time, just put it with your driver's license. If found, no one will know what the heck it is anyway.

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not good news
by debbyangelica / June 19, 2009 12:04 PM PDT

If you forget the administrator password and don't have a password reset disk or another administrator account, you won't be able to reset the password. If there are no other user accounts on the computer, you won't be able to log on to Windows and will need to re-install Windows.

If you've forgotten your Windows password, you can reset your password by using a password reset disk or by using an administrator account.

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Rethink the bad news
by counsler777 / June 20, 2009 9:23 AM PDT
In reply to: not good news

By pressing F8 repeatedly on computer boot-up you will enter safe mode. Click the Start Button and open Control Panel. Then User Accounts. Leaving you free to change, add, delete, and edit All User Accounts. This method definately works.

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not working this in vista
by satdrbe / June 22, 2009 9:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Rethink the bad news

the F8 and booting thru safe mode doesnt work with vista as even after entering in safe mode it asks for the login password. Any other way in vista. Thnx in advance

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this is not cheap but it is better than paying to reload XP
by comconk / June 19, 2009 12:05 PM PDT

Just head over to the Windows Geek site at: and purchase their password removal program (works with Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista and 2003) for just $34.95. Save yourself the headache of fighting to get back into your computer! Their method is so much faster/easier, and works great! Just download the software, burn it to a CD, insert the CD into the problem computer and all the current passwords will be removed so you can get back in and get to work.

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