What you need to complete these instructions is the following:

  1. A bootable Windows based live CD or
  2. A bootable Linux Live CD with NTFS Support

    Examples: Hiren’s Boot CD, BartPE, UltimateBootCD

  3. Boot your computer using the live CD
  4. Access your Windows Partition and navigate to <Driveletter>:\windows\system32
  5. Rename the file utilman.exe to something else (e.g. utilman.exeold)
  6. Create a copy of the file cmd.exe in the same location and rename that to utilman.exe
  7. Reboot your computer back into windows. (remove the live cd)
  8. On your login screen you should find an icon for “Accessibility options”. Click on that and a black command window will open
     

If you want to reset the password for a user called User1, you will now have to type the following command:

net user User1 <password>
(replace <password> with the new password you want to set)

If you want to add User1 to the administrators group, use the following command:

net localgroup Administrators User1 /add

Then reboot your computer. You should now be able to logon using User1 and the new password you set.

This works because a click on the Accessibility options would usually open the file utilman.exe. Since we replaced that with cmd.exe, it will instead open a command prompt. This command prompt will be running under the System account which means it has all the rights it needs to reset users and passwords.

As alway, if you do such a thing, make sure you are authorized to run these steps on the machine. If you use this to get Administrative rights on your office computer, you could be breaking IT rules and could be fired.