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How to Reset Windows Vista Password If You Forgot It

The forgot password problem gets a little tricky when you don’t remember the administrator account password of your Windows Vista and probably hard to recover the lost password again. In this case, you will normally search for solutions on the internet regarding Windows vista password reset. Before you reinstall Windows Vista on your system, we are presenting a few methods that you can try to bypass the Windows Vista password to regain access to the system.

Method 1. Reset Windows Vista Password with Built-in Administrator in Safe Mode

One of the best methods to regain access to your locked Windows Vista is using a Windows password reset disk, but most users avoid this method because in this way they have to take care of password reset disk or some of them even don’t know the method of password recovery through the password reset disk exists or not. But don’t worry there are various other methods which can help you to find your lost password and one of them is resetting your Windows vista password using a built-in administrator account method in safe mode.

Before resetting your Windows Vista password in safe mode, you must have a primary knowledge about Safe Mode. According to Wikipedia, Safe Mode is a particular mode of Windows based operating system in which critical system problem hinder the normal operation of Windows. Windows Safe mode allows you to troubleshoot computer problems and to gain access to your computer again.

In Windows, typically three types are known for a safe mode which are:

  • Safe Mode
  • Safe Mode with Networking
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt

We usually use safe mode to reset Windows Vista password. Let’s see how to recover your Windows vista password in safe mode.

Some Windows creates a built-in administrator account while its installation and when you start your Windows, this administrator account doesn’t appear on the login screen. It will show up on the login screen when you have enabled it. You can google to see how to enable Windows Vista administrator account but let’s suppose you have enabled it and now forgot the Windows password. We will explore how this pre-enabled built-in administrator account helps in password recovery method.

Follow the steps listed below carefully to get rid of Windows vista forgotten password problem.

Turn on or reboot your system. Instantly press F8 when vendors logo appears to enter into the Advanced Boot Options. Choose Safe Mode by up and down arrow keys and press Enter.

boot windows vista from safe mode

After loading Windows files it will show you the login screen, choose the account which is named as Administrator.

choose administrator account in windows vista

In case if administrator account doesn’t appear, simply click on Switch User and select the Administrator account.

switch user in windows vista

Now you can change or remove passwords of other user accounts, go to Windows menu box and search for the control panel. Find the User Accounts option in the control panel and click on it.

choose user account in control panel of windows vista

Select Manage another account option.

manage another account in user accounts of windows vista

Select the user account for which you want to change password. Click on either Change the password option or Remove the password option.

change or remove password in user accounts of windows vista

After changing your forgotten Windows vista password, you can easily unlock your computer with the new password.

Method 2. Reset Windows Vista Password with Reset Disk

Another very great and efficient method to reset your Windows vista password is using the password reset disk method. The password reset disk method is only authentic for those who already have created a password reset disk in case if they forget the password.

Start your computer and choose the user account on the login screen for which you want to reset the password. Type an incorrect password for login user to get an incorrect password message. A Reset password option will appear under the password dialogue. Click on this link to proceed with the process.

reset option in windows vista

Click on Reset Password option to enter into Windows Vista Password Reset Wizard. Click on Next.

password reset wizard in windows 8

Insert your password reset disk to go on with the process. Select that drive form options and click Next.

insert the password reset disk in windows 8

Enter the new password that you want to use for future login and Click Next. You can also add a password hint for your own ease.

enter new password and hint in windows 8

Click on Finish to end the password reset process. You can now log in with your new password.

Method 3. Reset Windows Vista Password with Command Prompt

Another less known but working method is resetting your Windows Vista password with the command line. The reason why this method is less known is its complex and very caring process because if you are expert in commands then changing a Windows vista password through command line will never be a problem for you but if you are not expert then I suggest you try another method instead of this one. You can enter into Windows utility program Utilman by hitting Win KEY+U before login screen appear. This will execute Utilman.exe program which occupies in the Windows\System32 directory, and you can easily swap the Utilman.exe file to reset your Windows vista password.

To get started with Reset Windows Vista Password with Command Prompt method follow the steps below:

First of all, create a bootable USB drive or DVD/CD for your Windows Vista on another computer operating system. If would be great if you already have it.

Insert this bootable USB drive into your locked computer and Reboot. It will show a “press any key to continue” message on the screen. Then Windows installation GUI will appear, click on Next.

install windows vista choose language

A screen will appear with different actions, choose the Repair your Computer option and click on it.

repair your computer in windows vista

The setup program will locate your Windows installation. Confirm it by clicking on Next.

system recovery options in windows vista

It will show many options, each has its own functionality respectively, choose the command prompt option and hit Restart link.

select command prompt in system recovery option of windows vista

In case to be able to undo this process later if something gets wrong first create a backup copy of the file “sethc.exe” file. Type the following command on cmd to make a copy of it in the C: \ directory:

copy C:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe C:\
make a backup copy of sethc.exe

To replace the “sethc.exe” file with the “cmd.exe” file enter the following command.

copy /y C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe C:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe

The switch / y confirms that the file “sethc.exe” is overwritten.

Type “exit” to close the cmd, detach the bootable device from the computer and reboot your laptop again. When the Windows 7 login screen appears, hit the Shift key five times.

Enter the following command to reset a new password for your Windows vista.

net <username> <new pasword>
net username new password

Restore the original state by copying the backup copy of the “back to the original location. To restore the original state of copied sethc.exe” file of the lock function to its default location, insert the USB again and Reenter into command prompt mode and type this command.

copy /y C:\sethc.exe C:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe

That’s it, exit the command prompt and reboot your computer to login with the new password.

Remembering again if you’re not expert, I advise you to not use this method to reset your Windows Vista admin account password. In case, if any damage happens to your system we will not be responsible for it.

That’s all, you have successfully changed your Windows vista password.

Method 4. Reset Windows Vista Password with Windows Password Recovery

So almost we have discussed every possible method for Windows vista password recovery within the system or without the help of any external tool or program. These were the methods which Windows itself provides us for assistance in order to get our Windows vista password back. But often it happens when we didn’t prepare any password backup in case if we forget our Windows password because we didn’t think that we can lose our password in the future. We also know that Windows vista doesn’t support Microsoft account, we can only use local account in it so there is no way to recover our lost Windows vista password online. In this situation when you see any of Windows password recovery method can’t help you, a third-party Windows password recovery tool can assist you in recovering your Windows vista password. You can find several tools on the Internet but I will highly recommend using iSunshare Windows Password Recovery Tool.

4.1. Bypass Windows Vista Password with iSunshare Windows Password Genius

iSunshare Windows password genius is an incredibly simple, super effective and a powerful tool with the purpose of to let users recover their forgotten password rather it is a Windows administrator user account or Microsoft account, and domain administrator or a user account. It’s paid version is typically used for commercial use but a trial version is also available for free to let their customers know how it works. You can easily download it from its official website and install it on your computer.

Free Download Free Download

Supported Platform:

  • Windows- 10/8/7/Vista/XP/2000
  • Windows Server- 2000/2003/2008/2011/2012/2016
  • As we all know Microsoft no longer supports Windows 2000/XP/Vista But iSunshare still supports these OS.

Follow the Password recovery steps:

Create a Windows Vista Password Recovery USB drive or CD/DVD by inserting them on another system. Choose whatever “USB Device” or “CD/DVD”.

isunshare windows password genius choose media type

Select your USB from the dropdown-down and click on “Begin Burning” to start burning.

isunshare begin burning

Take out your USB drive after the burning is successfully finished and attach it with the locked computer/laptop and boot it from the USB drive. An attractive interface of password recovery tool will appear, choose Windows Vista from the list.

isunshare reset password

It will display all user accounts of Windows Vista. Click a user account for which you want to recover the password. Most probably it will be the Administrator Account.

Click on Reset Password option, a confirmation prompt will appear, click on Yes to proceed.

It will remove the administrator account password and you can see that now the password field will be labeled as blank instead of unknown.

Click on Reboot to get into your computer. press the Yes button as well to confirm the action.

After rebooting you can sign in to your Windows vista computer without any password and can set your new password from control panel settings.

4.2. Bypass Windows Vista Password with Spower Windows Password Reset

Spower Windows Password Reset is another best tool to recover password for Windows and the interesting thing is that it looks very similar to iSunshare Windows password recovery tool. So you can use it as a replacement if iSunshare Windows password recovery tool is not available.

The thing you should know about Spower Windows password reset is that hence it looks like iSunshare Windows Password Genius but still it has the most powerful password crack ability regarding Windows. Spower tool is an extraordinarily powerful and provides high performance and counted in between one of the fastest crackers available today. Moreover, it has an attractive and very easy-to-use GUI and meets all of the features of modern recovery software.

Supported Platform:

Windows: 10/ 8/ 7/ Vista/ XP/ 2000/ 2003/ 2008/ 2012/ 2016 (32 bit & 64 bit)

Follow the steps to reset Windows Vista pasword:

Download and install the Spower Windows Password Reset tool’s trial version into another computer to create a password reset disk.

Run the Spower tool (Run as administrator) and insert a USB drive or blank CD/DVD.

spower choose media type

Choose the media type which would you like as your password reset disk and click Begin burning.

spower begin burning

Wait for a while so that it can burn the USB drive. After the burning procedure ends, take out the USB drive and insert into your locked computer to reset the password.

Select a Windows system for which you want to recover the password. All Windows system installed on your computer will be shown in the combo box. You can skip the step if there is only one Windows system installed on your system.

spower select windows system

Choose a user account with admin privileges you want to reset its passwords.

spower select user account

you will see a Reset Password button below this combo box, click on it and it will prompt a warning message, simply click Yes.

spower click reset

Clicking on the Reset Password button will remove the password of that user account and will mark it as blank instead of an unknown password.

spower password shown blank

Restart your computer to apply changes and after reboot, you can enter into your computer without any password.

spower reboot

That’s how to use Spower Windows password reset to reset your Windows vista password.

Method 5. Bypass Windows Vista Password with John the Ripper

John the Ripper is a totally free open source Windows password cracker tool. This tool is designed for both individual use and commercial use. Many unique features if it makes it better than others and might be the best free tool to recover WindowsVista password. Not only for Windows it is also available for Unix, Windows, DOS, and open VMS. It can easily detect weak passwords without any problem. John the ripper can be run on a huge variety of passwords and hashes.

Most of the popularity of John the Ripper is due to its dictionary attacks and brute-force attacks. This tool is free of cost but there are some features which are only available to paid customers. For example, to discover the cracked password of wordlist file you have to pay for it. It only uses a command line environment so it can be difficult to use or understand it for the first time.

Before cracking your Windows password using John the Ripper method you should know that in Windows, the password is usually stored in SAM file and can be located at %SystemRoot%\system32\config. Windows uses the NTLM hash types. These hashes from the SAM file gets decrypted using SYSKEY during the boot process and loaded in the registry used for authentication purpose.

Windows don’t allow users to copy the SAM file to another location so you can use another Operating System to copy the SAM file. After the file is copied we can easily decrypt the SAM file with SYSKEY and get the hashes to break the password.

We will use here Kali Linux OS to mount the Windows partition over it.

You can download Rufus for making the bootable disk. Launch the Rufus tool and select the iso image file of Kali Linux.

As soon the boot process finishes, insert this bootable drive into your locked computer and the first thing we have to do is to check where is the Windows installed in the hard drive.

type fdisk -l to find.

john the ripper where is the windows installed

By looking at the size of each partition you can easily find in which partition your Windows is installed.

Mount:

Type mkdir /mnt/CDrive to create a directory

type mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/tmp/CDrive to mount the dev/sda2 into the CDrive directory.

Type ls -ltr /mnt/tmp/CDrive to know the mount point.

To check the mounted drive type the mount.

[email protected]:~/temp# mount
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
udev on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,nosuid,relatime,size=2042548k,nr_inodes=201161,mode=755)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,gid=5,mode=620,ptmxmode=000)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,size=412292k,mode=755)
/dev/sdb1 on /run/live/medium type vfat (ro,noatime,fmask=0022,dmask=0022,codepage=437,iocharset=ascii,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro)
/dev/loop0 on /run/live/rootfs/filesystem.squashfs type squashfs (ro,noatime)
tmpfs on /run/live/overlay type tmpfs (rw,noatime,size=2061444k,mode=755)
overlay on / type overlay (rw,noatime,lowerdir=/run/live/rootfs/filesystem.squashfs/,upperdir=/run/live/overlay/rw,workdir=/run/live/overlay/work)
tmpfs on /usr/lib/live/mount type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,size=412292k,mode=755)
/dev/sdb1 on /usr/lib/live/mount/medium type vfat (ro,noatime,fmask=0022,dmask=0022,codepage=437,iocharset=ascii,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro)
/dev/loop0 on /usr/lib/live/mount/rootfs/filesystem.squashfs type squashfs (ro,noatime)
tmpfs on /usr/lib/live/mount/overlay type tmpfs (rw,noatime,size=2061444k,mode=755)
securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
tmpfs on /run/lock type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,size=5120k)
tmpfs on /sys/fs/cgroup type tmpfs (ro,nosuid,nodev,noexec,mode=755)
cgroup2 on /sys/fs/cgroup/unified type cgroup2 (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,nsdelegate)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/systemd type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,xattr,name=systemd)
pstore on /sys/fs/pstore type pstore (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
bpf on /sys/fs/bpf type bpf (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,mode=700)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpuset type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,cpuset)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu,cpuacct type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,cpu,cpuacct)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/memory type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,memory)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/pids type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,pids)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/net_cls,net_prio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,net_cls,net_prio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/perf_event type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,perf_event)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/blkio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,blkio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/devices type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,devices)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,freezer)
systemd-1 on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type autofs (rw,relatime,fd=34,pgrp=1,timeout=0,minproto=5,maxproto=5,direct,pipe_ino=16732)
hugetlbfs on /dev/hugepages type hugetlbfs (rw,relatime,pagesize=2M)
mqueue on /dev/mqueue type mqueue (rw,relatime)
debugfs on /sys/kernel/debug type debugfs (rw,relatime)
tmpfs on /tmp type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime)
binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,relatime)
tmpfs on /run/user/0 type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,size=412288k,mode=700)
gvfsd-fuse on /run/user/0/gvfs type fuse.gvfsd-fuse (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,user_id=0,group_id=0)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw,relatime)
/dev/sda2 on /mnt/CDrive type fuseblk (rw,relatime,user_id=0,group_id=0,allow_other,blksize=4096)

It is the output generated by mount, and last line of result shows that target partition drive is mounted to CDrive successfully.

Now to copy the SAM file:

Type: mkdir /tmp/temp

Type: cp /mnt/CDrive/Windows/System32/config/SAM /tmp/temp

To extract the hashes from Windows SAM file, Samdump2 will fetch the SYSKEY.

Type sudo apt-get update and to install the Samdump2 then type sudo apt-get install samdump2

Type cp /mnt/CDrive/Windows/System32/config/SYSTEM /tmp/temp to copy the SYSKEY file.

Type samdump2 SYSTEM SAM to view the hashes in SAM file.

john the ripper view the hashes in sam file

Now we have to redirect the hash output to a file hash.txt

Type: samdump2 SYSTEM SAM > hash.txt

Everything is done, now crack the Windows password using John the Ripper.

Type: john –format=LM –wordlist=/root/usr/share/john/password_john.txt hash.txt

john the ripper crack windows password

Wait for a file and you will see your lost password at the end of the execution of the command.

Note: This method is only valid for Windows Vista/7 not for newer versions of Windows 8/8.1/10.

Conclusion:

Hope this article truly helped you to get rid of Windows vista forgotten password. If you faced any kind of problem understanding this article or didn’t find what you were looking for, please do let us know in the comment section so that we can help you in a better way.

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