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Lost Domain Administrator Password for Windows Small Business Server 2003

Last Modified: 2013-12-04
Hi Experts,

This relates to a lost domain administrator password on Windows 2003 Small Business Server.

I went to audit a new clients site and was told that the previous IT bloke flipped out and no one had the server password. They weren't even written down anywhere. The server had been running for over 300 days without a reboot, and when I ran a software and hardware audit tool on the machine it crashed and had to be restarted...

The problem being, there was no password to log the server in and with many attempted guesses we cannot log back in. Part of my audit also noticed that there we no backups on the server...

I believe that none of the users have domain administrator rights, so I am unsure how to reset or delete the domain administrator password. I have found a few tools that reset the local admin password, but nothing for the domain admin password.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to get me back into the server as admin? Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
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Hi Toni,

Looks like a good idea. I shall run through the process on a test server shortly, and if successful will do so on the clients server early next week.


You can also open Active Directory Users and Computers on any domain joined machine and take a look at the member of the Domain Admins group to identify if any user account is a Domain Admin as well.
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014

Please see my answer about this here:  http:Q_22879998.html



Hi Toniur,

When I try your method to reset the password, I cannot get past resetting the local administrator password. The SAM is read only, and the software indicates that it will not save changes.

I also read through the suggestion by TechSoEasy. It appears the other thread the tech ended up rebuilding the server.

Any other suggestions?


How do I do this?

mukulag:You can also open Active Directory Users and Computers on any domain joined machine and take a look at the member of the Domain Admins group to identify if any user account is a Domain Admin as well.

Toni UranjekConsultant/Trainer

Local administrator's password can be easily reset with these tools:

Take a machine that is already a member of the domain. (Windows XP would do). login to the machine with a normal user account. Install Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack and launch Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) from the Administrative Tools in the start Menu.
One you open ADUC you can find Domain Admins group and check who all are the members of that group.
An alternate and tried and tested way is to boot from ubcd. It is a well documented tool and you need to burn the iso image downloaded from the website. then boot from the CD and reset the Domain Admin password.


I was going to use one of the XP workstations to run the support tools and load active directory users and computers. But I found that all the workstations were in a workgroup?? Anyway, I tried to strip the local admin password as per the instructions posted by toni, and it worked. I don't know why it did not work on my test server. I am however running SBS2003 R2, and the client SBS2003 R1.

I then used the Windows support tools (SRVANY and INSTSRV) to reset the domain administrator password as per the instructions from http://www.nobodix.org/seb/win2003_adminpass.html

Problem solved. Thanks all.

Also, if anyone knows of a tool to strip the local administrator password on Windows 2003 R2.


Thanks for your assistance.
Toni UranjekConsultant/Trainer

Which tool did you use to reset local administrator's password on Windows 2003 R2 and it didn't work? Am asking because http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/ has not failed me yet and it works on Vista and should work on all previous versions of Windows. The only problem that I occasionally encounter when using these tools are related to missing drivers for "exotic" hard disk controllers . ;)


I did use that tool from http://home.eunet.no/pnordahl/ntpasswd/. The attributs were showing as read only when trying to reset the password for the local admin account. I am pretty sure I then restarted twice in safe mode and tried again with the same attributes listed.

Anyway, I am happy for now. It is not often you come across a server that requires a password reset. Thanks again for your assistance.

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