My Windows 2008 R2 Password Recovery (On IBM x3550m3) Experience

I had just installed Win 2008 R2 Sp1 (64bit) on an IBM x3550m3 series server. We use an awesome (FREE) imaging software called Clonezilla by the way.

Unfortunately, upon reboot, none of our “normal” passwords worked for the Administrator account. The fella who built the images could not remember the password if it wasn’t one of our “normal” ones.

After some googling around with no successful results, I decided to try an old utility that helped me way back in the day when I managed some Windows NT machines (10 years ago?)… AND IT WORKED!!

Woohooo Enter Offline NT Passsword & Registry Editor!

Offline NT Password and Registry Editor

It’s pretty easy to use.


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  • I used the “Bootable CD Image”. Burn it to a cd.
  • Insert cd in machine you need to recover password. Let it boot off the cd.
  • Take all default options which will clear out local Administrator password. Though there was no domain involved in my example, I think it will work for domain passwords too if you really need it too.
  • The only NON-DEFAULT choice you will take is at the very end when you confirm “y” (yes) that you want to make changes
  • Reboot (ctrl-alt-del)
  • Upon exit/reboot your Administrator password will be blanked

When it boots up, it will see no Administrator password and it will login automatically for you!

Ta-dahh!!!!!!!

Pretty cool! And linux based just like Clonezilla! Wowee!

p.s. the younger more brash unix/linux admin in me would be saying “See? Windows isn’t so bad ..when you have a linux utility to save it from itself” but that’s not me anymore ;)

p.p.s. I first used it when I managed Windows NT machines (10 years ago?!). So during my unsuccessful searches I had thought back to my Offline NT password recovery tool I had used a long time ago. Would it still work? Not sure. .. Especially these IBM M3 series IBM servers with their new raid cards ..they’re a bit touchy with the drivers and some OS won’t install because they can’t recognize the disks

So glad it worked! I was pretty surprised too!


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Secondary method for resetting the administrator password

During my research, I found the most common solution was to boot off the Windows 2008 R2 Sp1 install dvd, and do a bit of hacking. Unfortunately that doesn’t always work for me because the servers sometimes do not see our DVDs as bootable.

The above method is much much easier.

That being said, here are some secondary instructions for you which I found on the internet.

Here are the instructions in case you want to give it a go:

Method 1: reset the local and domain administrator password on Windows Server 2008 with just the Windows Installation Disk

* Insert the original Windows Server 2008 installation DVD
* Reset the computer, boot from DVD
* Choose option “Repair your computer”
* Start command prompt
* C:\
* CD C:\Windows\System32
* MOVE Utilman.exe Utilman.exe.bak
* COPY Cmd.exe Utilman.exe
* You may also need to “Enable” the administrator account which can be done by using “NET USER administrator /active:yes”
* Restart windows
* At the login screen, type Windows-U, this fires up cmd.exe now
* NET USER administrator Presto! Login as administrator!
* Now repair computer again and move the original Utilman.exe back

(By the way those instructions are from here)

See it in action here:

Good luck!!

, , Windows

5 thoughts on “My Windows 2008 R2 Password Recovery (On IBM x3550m3) Experience

  1. Offline NT password & registry editor is very popular! But I prefer to spend a few dollars to purchase the commericial software – PCUnlocker. It is easier to use and more powerful than Offline NT password & registry editor.

    • I’ll agree Offline NT looks a bit intimidating and might scare people off, otherwise it’s not difficult to use. But yes it looks intimidating. I’ll still use Offline NT until it stops working for sure. Thanks for the recommendation though, because once Offline NT stops working for me I have something else to look into ! (Not to mention anyone who reads this blog post and decides Offline NT is not for them, they now have something else to look into too). Thanks for the comment!

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