XP Administrator Password


unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
So my father in law as nuked his system. He managed to mess up the NTLDR file so it won't boot. Now I know the fix to that is simply to copy the ntldr and the ntdetect.com files to the root directory of the machine after booting it with the XP CD and going into the repair console.

However, they have managed to forget the administrator password for the computer, which SEEMS to be required to move on the the repair console.

After googling windows XP adminstrator password, I've been presented with a number of methods to potentially get it changed or bypassed. However, I have no clue which maybe right or which may lead me to disasterous ruin.

http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password.htm#2 is some of the stuff I found.

Any help.... PLEASE.


Turbo Monkey
Nov 19, 2001
Kenmore, WA
Maybe put the HD into another NTFS computer as a secondary. I know it's not supposed to work, but it has for me on many an occasion.

If you want, I have a utility that boots the computer into a LINUX style environment and allows you to change the admin password. It says it should work with XP, but I've only had the opportunity to use it on 2000. (And it worked well).


My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
Towing the party line.
the bootable linux works like a charm!
That's what I figured. You can find the protected password file and simply change it, it is stored in cleartext.

This will work well as well.


1. Place your Windows XP CD in your cd-rom and start your computer (it’s assumed here that your XP CD is bootable – as it should be - and that you have your bios set to boot from CD)

2. Keep your eye on the screen messages for booting to your cd Typically, it will be “Press any key to boot from cd”

3. Once you get in, the first screen will indicate that Setup is inspecting your system and loading files.

4. When you get to the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER to Setup Windows now

5. The Licensing Agreement comes next - Press F8 to accept it.

6. The next screen is the Setup screen which gives you the option to do a Repair.

It should read something like “If one of the following Windows XP installations is damaged, Setup can try to repair it”

Use the up and down arrow keys to select your XP installation (if you only have one, it should already be selected) and press R to begin the Repair process.

7. Let the Repair run. Setup will now check your disks and then start copying files which can take several minutes.

8. Shortly after the Copying Files stage, you will be required to reboot. (this will happen automatically – you will see a progress bar stating “Your computer will reboot in 15 seconds”

9. During the reboot, do not make the mistake of “pressing any key” to boot from the CD again! Setup will resume automatically with the standard billboard screens and you will notice Installing Windows is highlighted.

10. Keep your eye on the lower left hand side of the screen and when you see the Installing Devices progress bar, press SHIFT + F10. This is the security hole! A command console will now open up giving you the potential for wide access to your system.

11. At the prompt, type NUSRMGR.CPL and press Enter. Voila! You have just gained graphical access to your User Accounts in the Control Panel.

12. Now simply pick the account you need to change and remove or change your password as you prefer. If you want to log on without having to enter your new password, you can type control userpasswords2 at the prompt and choose to log on without being asked for password. After you’ve made your changes close the windows, exit the command box and continue on with the Repair (have your Product key handy).

13. Once the Repair is done, you will be able to log on with your new password (or without a password if you chose not to use one or if you chose not to be asked for a password). Your programs and personalized settings should remain intact.


unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
burn a bootable copy of Bart PE and boot to it. it has a utility that allows you to change the admin password.

Okay I was able to boot with the Bart PE and was able to copy the ntldr and ntdetect.com files to C: without messing with the password. (Bart PE seems like a pretty slick little deal) However that fixed the one problem but it still won't boot because of a bad or missing boot.ini file followed by a bad or missing hal.dll file. Researching that seems to indicate that the hal.dll file is actually not a problem and that it is the boot.ini file.

So now I think that I have to do something with that password it order to get the Windows CD to repair the boot.ini file. I didn't install any of the plugins for Bart PE for password repair but if necessary I'll do that next. OR is there another way to fix/replace the boot.ini file?

The Bart PE program is going to let me get the data off the HD pretty easily. So if worse comes to worse a rebuild won't be a total disaster and in reality might be a good thing for all the crap that my father in law has put on his system.

That being said I'd still like to fix it.

And for the record I was drinking a beer working on it but only one cause I had to drive Willow home.

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
There are two functions of the XP install CD. There is the Recovery Console, then there is the "Repair" installer function. Give the repair installer function a shot. Start the install like normal (that is, don't go to the recovery console) and when it detects your Windows installation, hit "R" for the Repair function.

The repair function rebuilds your Windows file structure. It essentially re-copies all the non-user files to replace any corruptions or deletions that might have occurred.

All that said, pulling his data off, formatting and reinstalling sounds like an easier option than trying to figure out what might have been screwed up along the way.