Change your Windows XP Password even though you can't remember it

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 17, 2005
Updated • Feb 26, 2014
Security, Windows XP

I found an interesting article over on Logical Expressions that provides users of the Windows operating system with a clever solution to restore access to their account even if the Windows XP user account password cannot be remembered.

This is clearly a security issue because all users, not only the user who forgot the password, can change it. The only requirement for this to work is that you have a Windows XP CD at hand that you need for this to work.

I don't want to repeat the whole article, just the essence of it. Fire up your Windows XP CD, boot from it, select Repair and let the repair process finish the restoration. Reboot when its finished and when you see the Installing Devices progress bar, press SHIFT + F10.

A console appears, enter nusrmgr.cpl and you have graphical access to your user accounts. You can change or remove passwords for all accounts here directly in the menu, and use the control userpasswords2 command on the prompt to configure accounts for login without password authentication. You will have to continue with the repair process though, it won't work otherwise.

A pretty handy solution, the article also gives tips on creating a password rescue disk.

Another solution that may be viable in some situations is the following. If you have a second administrator account, you can simply sign in to that account to change all other user account passwords from with the Windows interface.

Administrators need to open User Accounts in the Control Panel. There on the Users tab they can reset the password of any local user account. Once the password has been reset enter a new password and confirmation password and click ok to set it. The user from that moment on has to use this password to log in.

Additional information about this procedure, and how to change a user password with limited rights, are available on this Microsoft documentation site for the Windows XP operating system.


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  1. Lobo Schmidt said on April 28, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    That’s a nice tip and a good thing to learn.

    But you can also use the Unlocker (a freeware that I learn about here, thanks again) to do this tip and a lot of another ones:

  2. Martin said on April 28, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    Yes Iam using Unlocker but if you watch lots of Avi movies its simply to much work to always select unlocker to unlock the avi.

    With the tip you can delete it immediatly. I´am using unlocker for other files though ;)

  3. paul said on May 6, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    can this FIX also help with MP3 files? i had a problem with “getpopupinfo.exe” from dbpoweramp not allowing me to delete a an MP3 file. i used WHOLOCKME to see what was blocking it and it said getpopupinfo.exe. i used 3 programs (incluing MS tasks option) to close the getpopupinfo.exe program but it kept reappearing. supposedly i have to change a DBP option, but was unable to even get there ( i ended up uninstalling DBP.

  4. john said on January 18, 2008 at 6:32 am

    thanx for the tip. i just wish i would have read this before purchasing a regcare program that didn’t work.

  5. Rohit said on December 12, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Or u could just close the directory where the file is, go to dos mode (CMD.exe) and delete file from there….saves u from accidentally messing up your registry

  6. Anonymous said on June 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    How comes that Microsoft don’t want to fix that problem them self? It should be their responsibility…

  7. Markus said on August 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks! I tried all kinds of other things that people suggested, and this finally worked.

  8. RyAn said on November 18, 2009 at 9:08 am

    rename it to a .csv

    open with excel

    delete everything

    save the csv

    close excel

    delete the csv


  9. Parminder said on June 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks, it really helped my problem

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