Reset Lost Windows XP Administrator Password Using ERD Commander

There are plenty of ways to reset or change a lost Administrator password in Windows XP. Methods include using offline password reset tools with live CDs, using the SHIFT + F10 keystroke from Windows XP Setup screen to gain access to the Command Prompt (with full rights) and changing the password. Here is another way to reset or change the lost administrator password in your Windows XP installation.

Note: If you forget the password to a secondary administrator account, you can reset it by logging in to the built-in "Administrator" account easily. This article assumes the following:

  1. You have only one working administrator account in the system for which you’ve lost the password.
  2. You don’t have a Password Reset Disk
  3. You don’t have a Windows XP CD (which will be the case if you have a PC from OEM), or lost your retail Windows XP CD.

Resetting the Windows XP Administrator Password Using Locksmith

ERD Commander is part of the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) whose 30 day evaluation is available here (MSDaRT50Eval.msi – 64.2 MB). We’ve covered MS DaRT earlier in article Perform a System Restore rollback on a non-bootable Windows XP computer. Follow steps 1-7 in that article to create a ERD Commander Boot CD.

Warning: In Windows XP, the changing of a local user password by an administrator, or through a method other than by the user, will block all access to previously encrypted files (using EFS) by the user.

1. Insert the ERD Commander Boot CD into the drive and restart the system

2. Boot the computer using ERD Commander Boot CD. You may have to set the boot order in the BIOS first.

3. Select your Windows XP installation from the list

4. From the ERD Commander menu (Start menu), click System Tools and click Locksmith

5. Click Next

6. Select the administrator account from the list for which you want to reset the password.

7. Type the new password in both the boxes, click Next and click Finish

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

8 thoughts on “Reset Lost Windows XP Administrator Password Using ERD Commander”

  1. (1). Can ERD Commander reset domain Administrator password?
    (2). If you reset a domain Admin password. Is it possible to
    undo to old password?

    (1). Can ERD Commander reset domain Administrator password?
    (2). If you reset a domain Admin password. Is it possible to
    undo to old password?

    I did not see any comments on this particular topic here – the reaon I am asking?

  2. The fact is that you want to regain access to your computer without formatting or re-installing the operating system. What you need is getting out of this situation, maybe you could use Windows Password Recovery Tool 3.0 and have a try. Follow my steps:

    Step 1 – Download Windows Password Recovery Tool 3.0
    Step 2 -Burn your Windows Password Recovery Tool CD
    To burn your CD, you’ll need a blank CD-R and the .ISO file of Password recovery

    Step 3 – Put in your newly created CD and remove your Windows password.

    Hope it can help.

  3. @Michael Armstrong

    Thank you for your recent explantion. There is absolutely no sofware
    in this world that can view or change the Active directory Usernme / password. If you know of one please provide a link.

    Yes, it is easy to reset the PC Adminstrator’s password. But onece you get in, you see would be able to view or edit the ACTIVE DIRECTORY PASSWORD. The ERD cannot even do that.

    Do you have any objection to this?

  4. If you are looking for a working link to download ERD Commander for Wix XP try There’s a link to the download of the 30 day trial version, and instructions for unlocking the trial version with a tool included in the trial version download package. There is also some good info about ERD Commander 2010

  5. ERD commander software was available in the market till early 200-10. Microsoft purchased the ERD software and closed down with fear of furture vulnerabilities to its own XP OS.


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