What if you forgot administrator password?
Under certain circumstances, you may find yourself without the ability to log in as an administrator. Some situations include:
- You upgraded from Windows XP, and your administrator account is gone or disabled
- You demoted all administrator accounts to standard users
- Your administrator account was somehow disabled
- Your administrator account was hidden from the welcome screen, and you
are now unable to use it from inside of your standard user account(s)
- When attempting to run an administrative utility, you are required to enter the password for a hidden account called "ASP.NET Machine Account"
- You receive an error when trying to run an administrative program, preventing you from changing system settings and running many programs
In order to fix this problem, you will need to log in to the hidden "Administrator" account that is on your computer. This account will allow you to run administrative programs and change system settings so that you can fix your computer. This will require restarting your computer, so you may wish to print these instructions for your convienence.
Option 1: Try safe mode
- Restart your computer
- Press F8 before you see the Windows progress bar
- When the boot menu appears, choose safe mode
- If you are presented with the option to log in to the account named "Administrator", do so. Use this emergency Administrator account to fix your normal administrator account by using the user accounts control panel
If you are not given the option to log in to the hidden "Administrator" account, you will need to use Option 2.
Option 2: The really hard way
CAUTION: Improperly modifying the registry can harm your system.
- Click on the start orb. Write down your username (the name listed right below your picture on the start menu).
- Place your Windows Installation DVD into your DVD drive
- Restart your computer
- When prompted, press a key on your keyboard to boot from the DVD
- Select your language options and click Next
- Select the option at the bottom to repair your computer
- Select your Windows installation from the list. Make sure you notate what drive letter it is installed on.
- Select the last option from the list to open a Command Prompt
- Type the following command, and press enter:
- On the left, click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
- Click the File menu at the top, and then click Load Hive
- Click the option on the left to go to "computer"
- Double-click on the drive that Windows is installed on (you wrote this drive letter down in step 7)
- Double-click on the folder called Windows
- Double-click on the folder called System32
- Double-click on the folder called Config
- Click on the file called SAM and click Open
- Type "Target SAM" into the box and click OK
- Expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder by clicking on the triangle next to it
- Expand the Target SAM folder by clicking on the triangle next to it
- Expand the SAM folder by clicking on the triangle next to it
- Expand the Domains folder by clicking on the triangle next to it
- Expand the Accounts folder by clicking on the triangle next to it
- Expand the Users folder by clicking on the triangle next to it
- Click on the folder named 000001F4
- Double-click the item in the right called "F"
- You are now presented with an editor. You will see two columns: a list of letters and numbers grouped in pairs on the left, with a list of symbols on the right. We will only be using the list of letters and numbers on the left.
- Find the spot in the left column that says "11".
- Click to the immediate right of the 11, so that the flashing insertion line is to the immediate right of 11
- Press backspace to make the 11 disappear
- Using the keyboard, type the number 10
This should change the information in the left column from
02,00,01,00,00,00,00,00,80,8c,d7,b2,e9,97,c7,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,1f,ea,fd,ad,e9,97,c7,01,00,0 0,00,00,00,00,00,00,de,ad,60,9b,e9,97,c7,01,f4,01,00,00,01,02,00,00,11, ...
02,00,01,00,00,00,00,00,80,8c,d7,b2,e9,97,c7,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,1f,ea,fd,ad,e9,97,c7,01,00,0 0,00,00,00,00,00,00,de,ad,60,9b,e9,97,c7,01,f4,01,00,00,01,02,00,00,10, ...
- Click OK
- Close regedit
- Close the command prompt window and click on the 'Restart' button on the window that gives you the list of options.
- When your computer restarts, log in with the account named 'Administrator'. Use this emergency Administrator account to fix your normal administrator account by using the user accounts control panel.