Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Resetting the Administrator password on Windows Server 2003

At my work we use Microsoft Virtual PC quite extensively. One of the "fun" things about this is that you end up collecting alot of passwords. Normally I just have a text file in the same directory as my virtual images that reminds me what the Administrator password is.

Today I booted an image and could not remember the password. I started Googling and found a few solutions. I finally found one that was able to blank out the Administrator password. The project is called Trinity Rescue Kit. It is a bootable Linux ISO image. Once it boots you simply execute "winpass" and follow the prompts. It gave me some scary warnings saying that the filesystem was in use (because I wasn't able to shut down the image cleanly because I couldn't log in) and because something called SYSKEY was enabled. I forced a mount of the filesystem and that turned out fine. I also choose the default option for the SYSKEY question (which left it enabled) and that in the end I can now log into the VPC.

Hurray for Trinity Rescue Kit!


Dave Harris said...

Have you tried using something like KeePass to manage usernames and passwords? I find it quite helpful, and has the added benefit of being secure (if that's important).

Jeremy Wiebe said...


Yes, I do use KeePass, but this was a VPC that I hadn't used in quite some time. There is still the necessity to keep KeePass up to date.

For VPC's I think I prefer just keeping a text file in the VPC image directory because the text file is easier to keep in sync with the actual passwords. If I put that type of password into KeePass I have to maintain paths to VPC images in KeePass so I know which Administrator password I'm talking about.