Thank you for your question.
How frustrating. As you might imagine, you are not the first to have
this problem nor the first to seek help out on the Web. There appear
to be a number of possible solutions for you short of a reinstall of
the OS. Some cost and some are free. They vary as to the complexity of
using the utility.
MCSE World notes several tools, but the most promising appears to be the following:
"...EBCD ? Emergency Boot CD (v0.60)
EBCD is a bootable CD, intended for system recovery in the case of
software or hardware faults. It is able to create backup copies of
normally working system and restore system to saved state. It contains
the best system software ever created, properly compiled and
configured for the maximum efficient use.
EBCD will be very useful when you need to:
Copy/move files (with long names, not necessary in CP437 encoding)
from/to the disk but OS which can handle them (windows, Linux...)
cannot boot. In particular, you may create a backup copy of normally
installed and configured Windows and later restore Windows from such
backup copy. So, in the case of fault OS itself and all software and
its settings can be restored in 5-10 minutes.
Perform emergency boot of Windows NT / 2000 / XP. When the loader of
this OS on the hard disk is damaged or misconfigured, you are able to
load OS using another, standalone loader from this CD.
Recover master boot record of HDD. This allows to boot OS after
incorrect uninstallation of custom loader (LILO, for example), which
made all OS on your PC not bootable.
Delete, move, copy to file (image) and re-create partition from file.
Image transfer over network is also supported: so you may configure
one PC and then make contents of hard disks of other PCs same as
contents of the hard disk of the first one.
Change password of any user, including administrator of Windows
NT/2000/XP OS. You do not need to know the old password.
Recover deleted file, even file re-deleted from Windows Recycle Bin,
and, in contrast, wipe single file or a whole disk so that it will be
impossible to recover it in any way.
Recover data from accidentally formatted disk. Sometimes it helps to
recover data from the disk, damaged by a virus.
Recover data from a floppy disk, which is not readable by OS. Format
3.5" disk for 1.7 Mb size.
Also the disk includes full set of external DOS commands, console
versions of the most popular archivers/compressors.
Moreover, emergency boot CD includes minimal Linux distribution
(Rescue Linux distribution) which may be very useful to a professional
Read more at http://ebcd.pcministry.com..."
You can also find a utility called ERD Commander 2003 here:
"When your server or workstation won't boot, you need ERD Commander
2003. ERD Commander 2003 boots dead systems directly from CD into a
Windows-like environment. You'll have full access to the dead system's
volumes, so you can diagnose and repair problems using tools located
on the ERD Commander 2003 Start menu. And you'll have built-in network
access to safely move data off of, or on to, the dead system. The
Locksmith utility allows you to quickly reset the Administrator
password on locked-out systems. With ERD Commander 2003 you can repair
a system quickly and easily, saving you time and rescuing your
Workstation version: For use with Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and
above, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP (32-bit versions)..."
Although this sells for $149 a seat, there is a 5 day licensed version
that can be downloaded.
Admin Tip #262: Recover Lost Windows NT Administrator Password
About the middle of the page:
"...Sunbelt released NTAccess which can replace the administrator
password of a Windows NT; Windows 2000 system with or without Active
Directory; or XP. It can bypass syskey protection. NTAccess can
replace the administrator password of a Windows XP, Windows NT or
Windows 2000 system by rebooting the computer with a special set of
boot disks or CD-ROM (XP only). This is useful if you forgot the
administrator password and cannot access the Windows XP/2000/NT
This program sells for $70
The above page also has a number of other suggestions and utilities
that can be purchased.
Tech Republic lead me to a page for other downloaded password recovery utilities:
"...SHowin has the Ability to recover passwords Additional features
include the ability to enable windows that have been disabled, unhide
hidden windows (try the program with the include invisibles option set
and see how many windows you have on your desktop that you didn't know
about!) and force windows to stay on top or be placed below other..."
One of my favorite sites for questions of this type is Experts Exchange:
"...My query is regarding my operating system,
I installed windows XP prof. some time back in my pc,
I became the administrator, and made another user in it,
The problem is, I forgot the password of my administrator account,
I did not make a password recovery set in it,
neither did I place a hint in the password,
Now, this account contains many important documents,
Is there any way in which I could recover either the lost documents or
I cannot afford to uninstall or format my disc,
If anybody can help me out of this, it would be great,
Although it appears you need to login to see the replies, you do not.
Just scroll down for a dozen or more links to programs to assist.
A number of sites discussing recovering or resetting an Admin Password
point to here:
This is a utility to (re)set the password of any user that has a valid
(local) account on your NT system, by modifying the crypted password
in the registrys SAM file.
You do not need to know the old password to set a new one.
It works offline, that is, you have to shutdown your computer and boot
off a floppydisk or CD. The bootdisk includes stuff to access NTFS
partitions and scripts to glue the whole thing together.
Works with syskey (no need to turn it off, but you can if you have lost the key)
Will detect and offer to unlock locked or disabled out user accounts!
It is also an almost fully functional registry editor!
This is free and has links to download and read all the documentation
at the bottom of the page.
More good information to be found here:
HOWTO Reset Windows 2k & XP password if forgotten..
"This is my first howto/tutorial, so if there are any suggestions of
any kind or questions, please let me know.
my email is: lepricaun2003-at-yahoo.com
<i'm not responsible for any of this info i will give you here, it is
for educational purposes only, what you do with it is your business,
<For all the tools i've mentioned i will give the link to download
them or the original site of that tool at the bottom of this article.>
I thought this info might interest lot of other people so here it is: "
There are a number of links to utilities here.
There more I searched, the more happy users I found of the utility at
http://home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/. It seems to have worked for
quite a few people in your predicament.
As with any software that goes this far to the heart of the operating
system, you use it at your own risk. However, it comes highly
recommended many places and if I were in your position, I would read
their documentation carefully and give it a try.
xp recover admin password
forgot admin password xp
I trust my research has provided you with a variety of solutions for
your password problem. If a link above should fail to work or anything
require further explanation or research, please do post a Request for
Clarification prior to rating the answer and closing the question and
I will be pleased to assist further.