How to Reset Windows Password with Ubuntu for Free

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Ubuntu is the most popular desktop Linux distro for many years. And one of the nice functions you never expected is to use the Ubuntu Live CD to reset admin or user password on any Windows computer, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. This tutorial is a bit long and involves some command line operations so read it careful. Please start taking actions unless you fully understand how to do it. If you have any question about the steps, please leave the comment in below, we will try our best to assist you.


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Things You Need to Reset the Password:

  • The computer you forgot login password.
  • USB flash drive with 1 GB+ free storage .
  • UNetbootin and chnptw on Ubuntu.

Tutorial for Recovering Forgotten Password from Ubuntu Live CD


Step 1 : Create a Bootable USB Drive With Ubuntu

The first step forward is to download the disk image file or ISO file from the Ubuntu website. You are required to choose between the 32-bit version and 64-bit depending on your existing Windows OS. After the download, you must have to burn the ISO file to a CD or DVD using your favorite software.

If you don't know how to do it, then there is a simple and free tool that you can use. It is called UNetbootin. Please download and open the program. Now insert a USB drive into the computer and remember its drive name. From the main window of this program, select Ubuntu and a release from Distribution list shown on the top. Click OK to start the download process. After this, it will install Ubuntu Live CD to the USB drive.

Note: Make sure the storage of USB drive is more than 1GB and formatted it as FAT32. Back up the data on the drive before burning.

Step 2: Boot Ubuntu from CD or USB on Locked Computer

Insert USB flash drive into the locked Windows computer and restart the PC. Now press the special keys to enter into BIOS settings or Boot menu, which will be shown on first screen. In usual, the keys are one of them (Delete, ESC, F2, or F10). Make sure set USB drive (removable devices) as the first bootable device. Then save the settings and reboot the computer.

This time, the locked computer will boot from USB drive. Select Default when UNetbootin is displayed. Then, you can see Ubuntu being loaded in 1-2 minutes.

Step 3 : Install chntpw on Ubuntu

After Ubuntu starts, the first step is to set up the special software that will be used to clear the password. Go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. In the window that opens, go to Settings -> Repositories. Tick the box "Community-maintained Open Source software (universe)" under the Ubuntu Software tab and close the window afterwards.

Click Reload to update the repository and package information. In the quick search box, type "chntpw" and press Enter. Check the box near the chntpw name and click on "Mark for Installation". Finally, click Apply button on the top menu to start downloading and install it on the computer.

Step 4: Reset Windows Password with chntpw on Ubuntu

Open Terminal app on Ubuntu and enter the command "cd /media", then run the "ls" command to list all of the installed drives. Run the command "cd xxxx", replacing xxxx with the Windows system disk references displayed previously.

Now we need go to a certain Windows directory. Enter the command "cd WINDOWS /system32 / config", then run the command "sudo -i chntpw SAM". You will see all the windows account names shown on the screen. There are four choices listed in User Edit Menu. In this case, we suggest to set the password to blank. You can do this by typing "1" and "y" to confirm.

Now shut down Ubuntu and take out the USB disk. Turn on the computer and there is no password required for login. The above tutorial is not easy for beginners and will get you into trouble if you do it wrongly. For normal users, I recommend using UUkeys Windows Password Recovery because it has a clean user interface. To reset the password, you only need a few mouse clicks. Here is a demo tutorial you can check out to reset Windows password with the help of UUkeys software.

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