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Hot Tip: You've lost your only Windows 7 password, what now?

Before you do a complete re-install, read this ...

broken windows
Credit: Wikipedia

Long-time reader and Way-Out-West Gearhead correspondent Miles Baska recently dropped me a note about how to perform a password reset on Windows 7 which, if you’ve lost the password to the only active account, will come in pretty handy.

Here’s the method:

  1. Boot to a Linux LiveCD (Miles recommends Zorin: "Very Windows-ish")
  2. Go to the \windows\system32 folder on your HD
  3. Perform the following steps (exactly how you go about this will depend on which  LiveCD you use):
    1. Rename UTILMAN.EXE to UTILMAN1.EXE
    2. Copy CMD.EXE to UTILMAN.EXE
  4. Shutdown and restart Windows
  5. When asked for a password, click on the "Ease of Access” icon in the lower left corner
  6. A command window opens
  7. Enter:  net user <username> <new_password>
  8. Exit and restart Windows; the password <new_password> should now work
  9. Reverse step #3 by repeating #1 and #2, then:
    1. Delete UTILMAN.EXE
    2. Rename UTILMAN1.EXE to UTILMAN.EXE

Great! Now all should be alright with the world until the next time you loose the password of your only active Windows 7 account ...

If you have a Hot Tip of your own, let me know at gearhead@gibbs.com

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