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Recover lost administrator password in windows 2008 / Windows 7

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MAS (MVE)
Exchange Server, Windows Server, Active Directory, Virtualization, Skype for Business Expert.
The password reset disk is often mentioned as the best solution to deal with the lost Windows password problem. In Windows 2008, 7, Vista and XP, a password reset disk can be easily created. But besides Windows 7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2008 and other Windows OS don't allowed its users to create a password reset disk. When you forgot administrator password on Windows 2008, do you know how to create a disk to reset Windows Server 2008 administrator password? If not please check this. In fact, it is available to create a password reset disk in Windows Server 2008 as long as you can get the Windows password reset software. With the help of this Windows password reset tool, you are able to create a password reset disk with a CD/DVD or USB flash drive for all popular Windows operating system. It is a best practice to create a password reset disk when the OS is installed.

You can reset the Windows 2008/Windows7 password using the below steps if you don't have a reset disk created.

1. Boot with the official windows2008/Windows7 DVD.
2. Select Language to install, Time and currency, and Keyboard or input method.
3. Click "Next".
4. Click on "Repair your computer".
5. From the  "System Recovery Options" window, select your OS i.e. Microsoft windows server 2008 / Windows7 and click "Next".
6. Click on "Command prompt".
7. You will get a command prompt with a path of "X:\Sources>".  type "C:" and enter.
8. Now navigate to "c:\windows\system32"  by typing "cd c:\windows\system32" and enter.

For Windows 7 go to step 15, Steps 9 to 14 only for Windows2008
9. Type the command "move  utilman.exe  utilman.exe.bak" and enter.
10.Then type the command "copy  cmd.exe  utilman.exe" and enter.
11. Now exit command prompt and restart server.
12. When you see the prompt "press CTRL+ALT+DEL to logon" or last logged in username (if it is a domain added server) press the key combination "windows+u".  
13. After pressing "windows+u" command prompt window will open.
14 If command prompt not open, Restart server and repeat steps 1-8. then continue from step 15 .If command prompt is open go to step 19
15 Type the command "move  sethc.exe sethc.exe.bak" and enter.
16 Then type the command "copy  cmd.exe  sethc.exe" and enter.
17. Now exit command prompt and restart server.
18. When you see the prompt "press CTRL+ALT+DEL to logon" or last logged in username (if it is a domain added server) press the shift key 5 times or more, you will get a command prompt window.
19. For Windows7 you may have to type the below command if administrator account is disabled
  'net user administrator /active:yes'.
19.1 Syntax is "net user <username> <new password>". You type the command "net user administrator P@ssw0rd" in the command prompt windows to change the password to "P@ssw0rd"  and you will get confirmation saying that "The command completed successfully" if the password is changed.
20. You may login to the server with the password "P@ssw0rd".
21. To restore the functions of utilman.exe/sethc.exe repeat steps 1 to 8.
22.1 From the command prompt type "ren utilman.exe cmdtemp.exe"
 22.2 From the command prompt type  "ren sethc.exe cmdtemp1.exe"  (Ignore this step if you get the command prompt windows from step12)
note:One of the command may show you error which you can ignore. But make sure one command ran without Later you can delete the files named "cmdtemp.exe" and  "cmdtemp1.exe" from "c:\windows\system32" after logged in to the server.
23.1 Then type "ren utilman.exe.bak utilman.exe"
23.2. Type "ren sethc.exe.bak sethc.exe"  (Ignore this step if you get the command prompt windows from step12)
24. That's it. You can restart the server and continue working.
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Author:MAS (MVE)
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by:MAS (MVE)
Article completed. Please advice if anything pending from myside.
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by:MAS (MVE)
Added few more points
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Expert Comment

by:Jawahar Eswaramoorthy
Everyone has to make sure that they are renaming utilman.exe.bak to utilman.exe , else this will be the easiest way to hack the system if they have forgotten.
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by:MAS (MVE)
@Jawahar Eswaramoorthy
Thanks for your advise.
Step 23 is for renaming it back to utilman.exe.
FYI everyone can access the system if they have physical access even if its a server.

Thanks
MAS
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