Wednesday, 19 August 2015

How to recover lost local admin password on Windows Server 2008

Today, I received a query from one of the followers of my blogs about how to recover lost local admin password on Windows Standard 2008. From the given information, I understand that he had installed Windows Standard 2008 server on a PC and made it a domain controller. He used to log in to server locally by using Administrator account. Now, he can’t log in to PC, as he doesn’t remember the password. He asked me if I could suggest some solutions to overcome this situation and save his time to install Server again. In addition to that, he said that he doesn’t have server installation disk.

I thought, it’s very challenging, as he doesn’t want to reinstall server. So, my first reaction was, let me test this on virtual PC running on my Server. I installed Windows Server Standard 2008 and made it domain controller.

Now, I was ready to try different things to see if I can recover local admin password. So, I started to search on Internet. I found couple of ways to do it. First option is if user has official Windows Server 2008 DVD from Microsoft and second option is to use third party tool to recover password. I will go though both options one by one.

Using Official Windows Server 2008 DVD:
  1. Insert the disk into PC and boot PC from DVD
  2. Select “Repair your computer”
  3. Launch CMD (Command Prompt)
  4. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32
  5. Rename Utilman.exe file to Utilman.exe.bak
  6. Copy Cmd.exe to Utilman.exe
  7. Restart PC
  8. When login screen appears, press Windows key + “U” key together.
  9. Type following command in to Command prompts: net user administrator <newpassword>
  10. Restart server and boot it using DVD. Follow the above steps from1 to 4 and rename Utilman.exe.back to Utilman.exe

Note: I haven’t tried ISO image downloaded from Microsoft but it’s worth giving a try, if you don’t have official DVD.

Now, moving on to another stage where we don’t have official server disk. In this case, there are third party utilities available on Internet that we can try. I came across one of such utilities, called “Windows Password Rescuer Advanced”. It will not only recover lost local and domain password but also password for Active Directory Domain administrator. You can use this application to reset Windows Local administrator and user password from Windows Vista and above plus Windows server 2000 and above.

  • Download “Windows Password Rescuer Advanced” full version on other PC and install it.
  • Run the application to create Windows password recovery disk with disk or USB.
  • Insert Windows password recovery disk/USB to server and boot PC from it.
  • Application will start automatically and graphical interface appear.
  • Select the appropriate Windows Operating System from the list.
  • Click on Administrator account from users’ list.
  • Click on Reset Password option when a confirm message pops up, click Yes
  • Click on Restart button to reboot server. Eject your disk/USB to so that server boots in normal way.
  • At the logon screen, login as Administrator with new password.

You can find more information this utility by visiting this link:

I hope you find this article information. If you like this article, please leave your comments in comment box.

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