Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Use System Restore to overcome a lost Administrator password

Even though I wear the tech guru pants in our household, my wife insists on maintaining her own Vista system — she’s my toughest customer. Fortunately, she does take my advice when she is unsure of the necessary steps and I was able to get her to use a Standard User account and then to provide the Administrator credentials at the UAC prompts, as a security precaution.

Because I’m always talking about security and passwords, she recently changed the Administrator password in order to keep her system safe. Unfortunately, a few weeks later when she needed to make a change to her system, she realized that she completely forgot the new password. Of course, this snafu was now my problem to fix.

Now, being a very customer oriented tech, I calmly assured her that everything was going to be just fine. While she does have a password reset disk for her user account, we never created one for the Administrator account.

Fortunately, I remembered seeing a Microsoft Help and Support article about being able to use System Restore to gain access to a system on which the Administrator account password was forgotten.

To my surprise, the procedure worked without a hitch and I won the best tech of the year award. Seriously now, since this is a great technique to have in your tech support toolbox and because it will work in both Windows Vista and Windows 7, I thought that I would share it with TechRepublic readers.

In this edition of the Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I’ll show you how to use System Restore and a Windows DVD to revive a lost Administrator password.