Offline Windows Password & Registry Editor, Bootdisk / CD
I've put together a CD or USB Drive image which contains
things needed to reset the passwords on most systems.
The bootdisk should support most of the more usual disk controllers,
and it should auto-load most of them. Both PS/2 and USB keyboard supported.
More or less tested from NT3.5 up to Windows 8.1, including the server
versions like 2003, 2008 and 2012. Also 64 bit windows supported.
DANGER WILL ROBINSON!
If password is reset on users that have EFS encrypted files, and the system is XP
or newer, all encrypted files for that user will be UNREADABLE!
and cannot be recovered unless you remember the old
password again If you don't know if you have encrypted files
or not, you most likely don't have them. (except maybe on corporate systems)
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions
and the version history below before emailing questions to me. Thanks!
How to use?
Please read the walthrough (now
a bit outdated, sorry) and the FAQ before mailing me questions
If you have the CD or USB, all drivers are included.
DON'T PANIC!! - Most questions can usually be answered with the
default answer which is given in [brackets]. Just press enter/return
to accept the default answer.
- Get the machine to boot from the CD or USB drive.
- Load drivers (usually automatic, but possible to run manual select)
- Disk select, tell which disk contains the Windows system.
Optionally you will have to load drivers.
- PATH select, where on the disk is the system? (now usually automatic)
- File select, which parts of registry to load, based on what you
want to do.
- Password reset or other registry edit.
- Write back to disk (you will be asked)
The walkthrough and instructions is now on
its own page! but is quite old.. hope to make a new one..
What can go wrong?
Well. Lots of things, actually. But most of the problems is of the
type "cannot find" something. And then nothing happens.
Also, see the FAQ for help with common problems.
For linux-knowledged people, you may do things manually if the scripts fail,
you have shells on tty1-tty4 (ALT F1 - ALT F4).
- Automatics for you: Auto search for windows on all disks! NICE!
- New major feature: Full local group membership edit now working!
- That means the promote user to admin feature won't mess up!
- The user edit menues has been changed a bit, now easier to get out
and I hope more logical.
- More and newer drivers.
- However, drivers have bloated!
- So: Old ISA stuff is out. PCI(e) SATA/ATA/SCSI support only.
- Also, less sata-overethernet/ata-over-avian-carrier and
all that, since some of those drivers are really huge (and avian
carrier rather slow)
- Tried to focus more on home systems rather than servers.
- If my bootimage does not have drivers for your system, you can try
other boot images (live linux, for example ubuntu) and run the
"chntpw.static" executable from the commandline. See
the FAQfor more info.
- Newer kernel with newer disk and NTFS drivers as usual.
- Hopefully fixed the problem for the CCISS driver used in a
lot of servers, for example the HP DL3xx series and such. Thanks to
everyone who reported it, and also to the several people who
explanined my mistake (I missed that the access path for it had
changed in the driver).
- Some minor tweaks to the path select again. See also below.
- Major bugfixes and functionality expansion of the registry edit
functionality, but that is more for administrators using the tool in
their own ways. See other pages on this site.
- Newer kernel with newer disk drivers as usual.
- Path select has been improved, I hope, it should now also tell
what it does find on its way, and be more likely to work automatically.
- If it does not find the correct path, you probably selected the
- NOTE: Windows 7 has a small boot partition first (number 1) for
the boot loader, and my system may not be smart enough to select
number 2 instead. So you select number 2 manually. Thanks! :)
- Release contains some small bugfixes that may be able to handle
some problematic registries. Or maybe not.
- For more change info not directly related to regular password
reset, se the other pages.
- Update 2009-12-01: This old 2008-08-02 release also works on Windows 7,
all versions as far as I know. New release hopefully sometime early 2010.
- Now uses NTFS-3g
as NTFS filesystem driver.
- This hopefully removes some problems regarding dirty and "bad
flags" NTFS volumes.
- You will be asked if you like to force your way and continue anyway if the disk has
been uncleanly shut down.
- There exists a small chance of problems with the very latest
written files before the unclean shutdown if
you select to force it.
- Safest is still to boot into windows and shut down properly if
that is possible with an unclean volume.
- Path select now hopefully better at detecting default suggestion
and to actually find it...
- Newer kernel, and probably newer and better drivers.
- No changes to the passord/registry edit program (chntpw) since
- Sorry, did not have the time to finish the floppy version yet.
- Newer kernel, and probably newer and better drivers.
- Windows Dynamic Disks now supported, but maybe not all
combinations of mirrors etc. It recognizes the partition layout at
- Should now be possible to load extra drivers (drivers?.zip) from
USB the same way as with floppy. Or maybe not. Did not test it that much.
- Fixed a lot of bugs in the registry handling, did not affect
password reset much, but did affect larger registry edits.
- You still may experience hangs when the NTFS disk is mounted, it
will hang after saying "NTFS version x.xx" or such. If there is disc
activity, just wait, it may take a while.
- Patched up NTFS driver to get rid of hang on mount in many cases
(after selecting disk). Got many problem reports on this. At the same
time someone on the NTFS-for-linux mailinglist mentioned it, and Anton
Altaparmakov made a patch very quick. Thank you Anton!
- Nice if people experiencing the hang in 2007-09-23 can mail me and
tell if the fix worked or not. Thanks!
- NOTE: It may still take up to a minute or two to select the disk.
- Floppy version had a script bug making it crash in the first
- CCISS driver (HP/Compaq DLxxx etc) had different device
paths. Hacked in support for it, may not be 100% still.
- Floppy version is back! (requires 3 floppies to get all drivers,
but you can compose your own driver set so you only need 2)
- Yes, VISTA is supported (even more)
- Disk select now indicates which disks are removable, ie are USB
keys for instance.
- Check for "read-only" NTFS mount, you get instructions on what to
do if there are problems with the disk so changes won't be saved.
- Missed out on some IDE/ATA and SATA drivers last time, better
now.. I hope.
- User can be added to the administraror group, making them administrators.
- Stupid typo in readme.txt on CD fixed, on how to make USB bootable.
(earlier history removed)
Note: Some links may be offsite.
CD release, see below on how to use
- cd140201.zip (~18MB) - Bootable CD image.
- usb140201.zip (~18MB) - Files for USB install
The files inside the USB zip are exactly the same as on the CD.
See below for instructions on how to make USB disk bootable.
- cd110511.zip (~4MB) - Bootable CD image.
- usb110511.zip (~4MB) - Files for USB install
Floppy release (not updated anymore), see below on how to use them
- bd080526.zip (~1.4M) - Bootdisk image
- drivers1-080526.zip (~310K) - Disk drivers (mostly PATA/SATA)
- drivers2-080526.zip (~1.2M) - Disk drivers (mostly SCSI)
Previous versions may sometimes be found here (also my site)
NOTE: Versions before 0704xx will corrupt the disk on VISTA/win7/8!
NOTE THAT THE BOOTDISK CONTAINS CRYPTHOGRAPHIC CODE, and that it may be
ILLEGAL to RE-EXPORT it from your country.
How to make the CD
Unzipped, there should be an ISO image file (cd??????.iso). This can
be burned to CD using whatever burner program you like, most support
writing ISO-images. Often double-clikcing on it in explorer will pop
up the program offering to write the image to CD. Once written the CD
should only contain some files like "initrd.gz", "vmlinuz" and some
others. If it contains the image file "cd??????.iso" you didn't burn
the image but instead added the file to a CD. I cannot help with this,
please consult you CD-software manual or friends.
The CD will boot with most BIOSes, see your manual on how to set it
to boot from CD. Some will auto-boot when a CD is in the drive,
some others will show a boot-menu when you press ESC or F10/F12 when
it probes the disks, some may need to have the boot order adjusted
How to make an bootable USB drive
Copy all the files that is inside the usbXXXXXX.zip or on the CD
onto an usb drive, directly on the drive, not inside any directory/folder.
It is OK if there are other files on the USB drive from before,
they will not be removed.
Install bootloader on the USB drive, from command prompt in
windows (start the command line with "run as administrator" if possible)
Replace X: with the drive letter the USB drive shows up as (DO NOT USE C:)
If it seems like nothing happened, it is usually done.
However, a file named ldlinux.sys may appear on the USB drive, that is normal.
It should now in theory be bootable.
Please know that getting some computers to boot from USB is worse
than from CD, you may have to change settings, or some will not
simply work at all.
How to make the floppy
The unzipped image (bdxxxxxx.bin) is a block-to-block representation
of the actual floppy, and the file cannot simply be copied to
the floppy. Special tools must be used to write it block by block.
- Unzip the bd zip file to a folder of your choice.
- There should be 3 files: bdxxxxxx.bin (the floppy image) and
rawrite2.exe (the image writing program), and install.bat
which uses rawrite2 to write the .bin file to floppy.
- Insert a floppy in drive A: NOTE: It will lose all previous data!
- Run (doubleclick) install.bat and follow the on-screen
- Thanks to Christopher Geoghegan for the install.bat file (some of
it ripped from memtest86 however)
Or from unix:
dd if=bd??????.bin of=/dev/fd0 bs=18k
How to make and use the drivers floppy
- Simply copy the zip file onto an empty floppy.
- You MUST NOT UNZIP THE ZIP FILE!
- Depending on your hardware you may only need one of the driver
sets or the other, or maybe both.
- To use, insert one of the driver floppies when asked for it after booting, the zip
file will be unzipped to memory.
- If no drivers matched (no harddisk found), you can select 'f' from
the main menu to load the other driver set.
- Then select 'd' to auto-start the new drivers (if it matches your hardware)
- Sometimes it fails detecting the floppy change and you get an
error, just select 'f' again, it works the second time.
- For more advanced users that uses this often, it is possible to
unzip just the drivers you need and zip them up into a new zip archive. The
zip file name must start with "drivers", the rest is ignored. (it
Other places to go for password and disk recovery
Bootdisk credits and license
Most of the stuff on the bootdisk is either GPL, BSD or similar
license, you can basically do whatever you want with all of it,
the sourcecode and licenses can be found at their sites, I did not change/patch
The "chntpw" program (password changer, registry editor) and "reged" is licensed
under GNU GPL v2. COPYING.txt
Stuff I used, big thanks:
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