Techy: Resetting a Windows Vista Password

July 14th, 2009 by Richy B. Leave a reply »

Due to staff changes at work, we had two Windows Vista PCs (Business Edition, but these instructions should work all all versions of Windows XP and Vista) which had installed/purchased software on them, but we did not know the user passwords and/or administrator passwords. We also did not have a “Password reset disc”. We therefore needed to “break into” them and it’s a lot easier than you expect.

  • First of all, from a machine which you do have access to, download the Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) from http://trinityhome.org.
  • Now burn the ISO image to a CD/DVD (instructions will vary depending on which platform you downloaded the ISO from and what software you are using). Make sure you burn it as a “Disc Image (ISO)” (aka a “Bootable CD/DVD”) and not just storing the file “as is”.
  • Insert the TRK CD into the machine you need recovering and get the machine to boot from the CD drive (on Dell machines, just press F12 as it is booting for the “Boot Menu” and select “Boot from onboard or USB CD/DVD drive”).
  • Wait for TRK to load.
  • Select the first option on the TRK menu as you don’t need any fancy extras
  • Once booted, type “winpass -l” (that’s all in lower case and finishes with a hypen and then a lower case L for lima)
  • If you get a message about Windows already being mounted, just select the “Force” option.
  • You may then be asked to select a Windows installation – select one and see if it lists the username you are trying to reset. If it doesn’t, repeat the previous step and select another Windows installation
  • Make an exact note of the username as the spelling, spacing and capitalisation will matter
  • Type “winpass -u 'User Name'” where ‘User Name’ is the exact username you are changing. Select the same Windows installation as you did previously.
  • Select option 1 to reset the password for that account to “blank” and, if necessary, unlock the account with option 4 (if there have been too many resets previously).
  • When finished, type “q” and press return to exit winpass.
  • Eject the CD/DVD and reboot.
  • You should now be able to log into that user account without using a password (if it is the only Windows account on the machine, it should auto-boot into that account)

Needless to say, neither myself nor the makers of Trinity Rescue Kit can take any responsibility for any damage/problems caused by following these instructions and I can only say “it worked for me!” (twice).

This post is over 6 months old.

This means that, despite my best intentions, it may no longer be accurate.

This blog holds over 12 years of archived content - during that time, I may have changed my opinion of something, technology will have advanced (and old "best standards" may no longer be the case), my technology "know how" has improved etc etc - it would probably take me a considerable amount of time to update all the archival entries: and defeat the point of keeping them anyway.

Please take these posts for what they are: a brief look into my past, my history, my journey and "caveat emptor".

4 comments

  1. Senthil says:

    Fantastic ! will try if situation demands.

  2. Long Harry 30 says:

    Hey, ok, I get it, I guess – but does this really work?

    • Richy C. says:

      Yes it does – I’ve reset two Dell Windows Vista Business machines using this process without any problems at all.

  3. Ethan Thompson says:

    Windows Vista is good but it can hog your CPU and Memory.~~~

gamy-dance
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