Windows – How to reset the admin password of a Windows XP VM running in VMWare?

resetwindows xp

Possible Duplicate:
Windows: How to reset the administrator password?

I have a Windows XP VMWare Fusion image whose admin password is not known. How can I reset or recover the password?

Best Answer

My solution was to boot the XP vm via a Linux system rescue disk and clear the password using the tools provided therein. Here are the steps:

  1. Download the sysrescuecd ISO (
  2. In VMWare Fusion, head to the Settings for the XP vm and set CDs & DVDs to "Use disk image", pointing to the ISO.
  3. Boot up the vm and access the BIOS. By default the BIOS is flashed instantly, so you may have to add a delay (instructions here).
  4. Once in the BIOS, change the boot order so that CD-ROM is first.
  5. Save and Exit the BIOS to restart the vm.
  6. Boot into sysrescuecd by following the onscreen instructions. Default settings are fine.
  7. When presented with the /root % prompt, execute the following commands to clear the admin password:

    Mount windows:
    % ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows

    Change password (and confirm):
    % cd /mnt/windows/WINDOWS/system32/config
    % chntpw SAM

    Exit Linux:
    % halt

  8. Your password should now be cleared. Undo the changes you made in steps 2-4 and restart the vm.