Reset Windows Admin Password

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2017 by John in Labels: ,

Password: Swordfish
In my Server 2012 lab, I’m running a few different Domain Controllers in order to best represent a production environment. I spend a majority of my time working on the Primary Domain Controller and seldom even boot the other DCs up unless I’m working on AD replication exercises or something else that requires multiple servers. Today was a day where I needed a couple different servers up and unfortunately, I forgot the password to one of my servers. Normally, my head is like a steel trap when it comes to passwords. I still remember the sysop password of my BBS I had in middle school, but between the infrequent use and having a toddler waking up every day at 5:45 am, I just couldn’t remember. I did some searching and found an incredibly easy hack for resetting the administrator password. These instructions and pictures will be for Server 2012 R2, but I’m assuming that they’ll work on any Windows-based system.

Requirements: physical access to the system and an install disc. 

Step 1: Boot up from the install disc, select language, and then click the "Repair your computer" option.

Step 2: When presented to choose and option, select "Troubleshoot." 

Step 3: Select the "Command Prompt"

Step 4: Using the command prompt, navigate to the Windows\System 32\ folder and rename the utilman.exe file using the following command:

move D:\Windows\System32\Utilman.exe D:\Windows\System32\Utilman.exe.bak

Step 5: Make a copy of cmd.exe and rename it utilman.exe with this command:  

move D:\Windows\System32\Utilman.exe D:\Windows\System32\Utilman.exe.bak

Step 6: Reboot your server.  At the login screen click the "Ease of Use" icon in the lower left-hand corner.  

Step 7: Instead of the normal ease of use utility, a command prompt with administrative privileges will launch.  Type in Net user administrator * 

Type in your new password twice and you're done.   

Remember: It’s illegal to do this to other people’s systems without permission. 


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