Locked disc being unlocked by a key

How to Reset the Password on Almost Any Windows Computer

UPDATED 4-12-19 To work with latest Windows 10

There is a fault in most later versions of Windows that allows someone with physical access to the computer to change the passwords of users, create new users, and elevate users to administrators. This article will show you how to do this. We are not going to go into extreme detail on this. We are going to assume that you have some basic computer repair skills. We are a San Marcos, TX based managed IT business so we use this hack very often.

Time to Complete: 30 minutes or less
Difficulty level: Medium
Tools needed: A Windows Install Disk that matches the operation system on the computer

Note: This method works with several Windows OS’s. We are going to show you how to do it on a Windows 8 computer.

Step 1 – Replace Utilman.exe with CMD.exe

Boot into the install CD or USB Installer that matches your operating system. If you do not have one there are several tutorials out there that can help you make one.

Click on Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, and finally Command Prompt.

At the command prompt type the following command:

copy c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe c:\

…and press Enter. You should see a “1 file(s) copied ” confirmation.

Now type this command and hit Enter:

copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

Answer with Y to the question about overwriting of the utilman.exe file. You should now see another file copy confirmation.

Reboot the computer normally into Windows.

Step 2 – Manipulate the users you need

When the Windows logon screen is available, click the Ease of Access icon at the bottom-left corner of the screen. An ADMINISTRATOR Command Prompt will open. There are several commands you might need to use below. In them replace “myuser” with the actual username. Replace “newpassword” with your desired password.

Enter the following command to get a list of users:

net user 

Enter the following command to change the password of an existing user.

net user myuser newpassword

Enter the following command to create a new user:

net user myuser newpassword /add 

Enter the following command to elevate an existing user to an administrator:

net localgroup administrators myuser /add 

Once you have ran than commands that you need to run, log in and double check your work.

Step 3 – Putting Utilman.exe Back

Reboot into the install CD or USB Installer that you used earlier.

Click on Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, and finally Command Prompt.

At the command prompt type the following command:

copy c:\utilman.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

Confirm the overwriting by answering Yes. Reboot your computer. Profit!

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