NTPWEdit changes passwords by direct modifying file C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SAM. When running, operating system blocks any access to this file, so password editor must be executed on another Windows copy.
NTPWEdit is a free tool that allows you to reset a Windows password without knowing the administrator password. Of course, this only works if you access the Windows installation offline and boot from a second Windows system. NTPWEdit officially supports Windows 2000, XP, and Vista, but I have used the tool to reset the password of a Windows 7 installation.
After you launch the tool, you have to specify the path to the SAM file that contains the local passwords. On most systems this is C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SAM. The tool displays the available accounts when the SAM file is opened. After you reset the Windows password of a certain user, you have to save the changes.
Some methods for use this program:
- Boot Windows PE or BartPE environment from CD-ROM and launch NTPWEdit.
- If system partition formatted in FAT filesystem - boot DOS from floppy disk, copy SAM file to floppy, edit this file on another computer and copy it back.
- If system partition formatted in NTFS filesystem - copy file using Windows recovery console.
- Attach hard drive to another computer, and edit passwords there.
- Boot system from separate partition (if multiple OS are installed).