Robert Firth wrote:
> Try starting your computer in Safe Mode. You can log in with the
> administrator account there. There isn't a password for that account,
> press enter when it prompts you for the password to login to that
Because this thread, although old, is a good hit on Google for "lost
password vista" I thought I'd follow up to remark that this didn't work
Under XP starting the computer in Safe Mode was one of my favorite
tricks whenever one of my customers' kids had passworded their account,
but when I chose Safe Mode in Vista  no Adminsitrator icon was
Booting with the free demo version of http://www.password-changer.com/
showed the Administrator account to be disabled - this utility has a
page which shows which hours a user is permitted to use the computer,
and for the administrators all hours for all days of the week were X'd
out. The user Dave - who forgot his password immediately after using the
new computer for the first time - did not show this page; presumably
this indicates that Dave is allowed to log in at any time and perhaps
(??) that the Administrator account is disabled by default on new
installs of Vista (or maybe it's just this brand of laptop??).
I read elsewhere that the demo version of the password-changer CD
allowed you to view passwords but not change them - this would have been
sufficient for my purposes, but unfortunately this proved not to be the
case. The CD listed the users present on the system (Administrator, Dave
& one other) and suggested I pay the $60 for the full version.
The Linux Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, Bootdisk / CD
<http://home.eunet.no/%7Epnordahl/ntpasswd/> states that at the present
time it will not work with Vista - it "will render the disk unbootable,
even the installer from the Vista DVD will hang!!" But rereading this
today I noticed the author states that the "problem is in NTFS driver on
boot CD/floppy, the password reset program itself actually works. It can
be used if on other rescue CDs."
I was pretty sure that the latest Knoppix (I think I used
V5.1.1CD-2007-01-04-EN) featured the "next-gen" NTFS driver with good
write support, so I booted from that. I found that I was able to run
`apt-get update && apt-get install chntpw` (even entirely booted from
CD!), make a back-up copy of /mnt/sda2/Windows/System32/config/ and edit
the SAM file within.
Running `chntpw` on the SAM file showed some warnings - something like
"extra blocks in hive, ignoring" - but listed the users correctly.
Stragely Dave was listed as "disabled", just like the Administrator, but
I decided to trust my back-up and risk it, anyway. Removing the password
looked good, so I saved & rebooted. It went straight into Dave's
desktop, never asking for a password!!
So I hope this is helpful to someone else. gekkoab doesn't state whether
or not Robert Firth's suggestion worked for him or not, and I have no
idea if Robert Firth has practiced this repeatedly under Vista. It may
be that this suggestion works fine for many other people, and will
continue to do so for me in the future, but I thought I'd post this for
posterity in case it transpires that MS have started locking out the
Adminsitrator account by default. This would, after all, be a sensible
I don't read the group regularly but this is a VERY long-standing email
address, so please feel free to CC me on any replies. I would be very
interested to hear of anyone else's experiences with lost passwords in
Vista, as I'm sure to encounter them in the future.
 Note that if you choose "safe mode" and then turn away for a few
minutes, it's not obvious when you turn back that you're IN safe mode -
I found the display resolution on this system to be as high as with the
nVidia drivers installed in regular mode.
 I double-checked myself by setting a new password & rebooting - just
to be sure the original problem _was_ that Dave had misremembered his
wife's name, and that he hadn't been locked out for some _other_ reason
- but setting the password to MSsucks worked fine.