How to reset/remove a windows password you do not know

From time to time we get called out to a customer's computer because they simply cannot log on due to not knowing the windows password, this can happen for multiple reasons. Perhaps it's an old computer that hasn't been used in some time, maybe it's a business laptop that has been handed in by the former user after leaving a company, or infinite other legitimate reasons.

The best practice in this situation is to find a way to remove the password keeping all other data and user accounts intact, for this we recommend using a groovy little Linux program called chntpw.

Linux is an open source operating system that is free to install and use by anybody and so everything you need to run this kind of repair you can download from the internet. The more common versions of Linux available are likely Ubuntu or Debian.  Visiting either of their sites is a good place to pick up a live bootable Linux iso if you don't already have the software.

remove laptop password

Once you have downloaded burnt the software and booted into the Linux OS its time to get started.

Open a terminal session and navigate to your windows directory. Locate the windows/system32/config directory and run the command "sudo chntpw -u admin  SAM". In the example shown this would work for a user account called admin, you can replace that with whatever the account name is you wish to make alterations to.

remove windows password with linux

This will now give you a number of options which include removing the password, setting a new password, promoting the user to a system administrator, to enable an account or to quit.

Personally I don't recommend editing a password here, your much better off removing it completely and then setting a new one once you are back in windows.

 So to continue with a password removal we would type "1" press enter and then "y" to accept the change, again pressing enter.

The changes are instant and you can now restart the computer and boot into windows without a password.

And remember if you dont wish to do this yourself you can always call us to come run the repair for you, our call out is just £35 for the full repair, no hidden fees.