How to Restore an Administrator Password

by Maxwell Payne

A lost or forgotten administrator password can wreak havoc on one's computer because without this key password, the user has no access to any files on the computer. Fortunately there is a way to recover or restore an administrator password for a computer without resorting to reformatting the hard drive. Downloading a free software program that can recover the password will allow most users to regain access to their computer, including access through the primary administrator password.

1

Access the Internet from another computer that has a CD burner installed. If you have other user accounts on the main computer, you can attempt to log in to those accounts just to get to the Internet.

2

Download Ophcrack, a highly rated free password cracker for Windows. The website has been included in the References section at the end of this article. For easy access, download the file to the computer's Desktop. You will be downloading the ISO image of the program which can be burned onto a blank CD-R.

3

Insert the blank CD-R CD. Select the ISO image of Ophcrack that you just downloaded, and right click on the item. Select 'Burn' from the drop down menu. If a burn program opens, click Burn Disc to burn the program to the CD-R.

4

Remove the burned disc, and go back to the original computer that you are locked out of. Turn on the computer, and immediately insert the disc into the CD-ROM drive. This will allow the computer to boot from the CD-ROM. You may be prompted in DOS to boot from the CD-ROM, select "Yes."

5

Allow Ophcrack to run; it will run automatically and display the administrator and user password on the screen as it recovers them. Write down the passwords, and wait for the program to finish.

6

Remove the burned disc, and restart the computer. Allow the computer to load to the sign in screen, and enter the newly recovered password. You should have full access to your Administrator account once again.

Tip

  • check Try to remember your administrator password before attempting any password recovery attempts.

Warning

  • close This information is provided for recovering forgotten or lost passwords. Ophcrack is designed as an aid to help remember passwords. Using this guide or software to access accounts that you do not own may be against the law.

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About the Author

Maxwell Payne has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in integrated science, business and technology.