How to Reset an XP Admin Password in Linux

Written by chad anderson
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Using a Linux Live CD or a dual-boot system, you can easily view the entire contents of your Windows NTFS partition. Since Microsoft Windows stores its authentication details in SAM files on the primary Windows partition, you can easily edit those files, without restriction, from Linux. This can be useful when you have forgotten or just need to reset the Windows XP Administrator account password. Using the Linux application chntpw, you can quickly reset any password on a Windows partition.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Download and install the chntpw package through your distribution's package manager. On Ubuntu, or another Debian derivative, do this through the terminal by typing "sudo apt-get install chntpw" and pressing "Enter."

  2. 2

    Open a terminal window and type "fdisk -l" to see a list of partitions on your system. Make a note of the primary NTFS partition, as it is your Windows partition. For this example, use /dev/sda3 as the Windows partition.

  3. 3

    Type "sudo mkdir /media/win" and press "Enter" to create a mount point for your Windows partition. Type "sudo mount /dev/sda3 /media/win" and press "Enter" to mount your Windows partition.

  4. 4

    Navigate to the Windows system directory by typing "cd /media/win/WINDOWS/system32/config/." Press "Enter" to execute the change directory command.

  5. 5

    Type "chntpw -u Administrator SAM" and press "Enter" to start chntpw with a focus on the Administrator account. Choose "1" and press "Enter" after you are presented with a list of choices. This will reset the Administrator account's password.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also change any user account's password with chntpw.

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