If you boot from a Windows PE stick or DVD you can use the free tool NTPWEdit to access the Windows SAM database to reset the Windows 7 password.
Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

Update: I published a new guide that explains how to reset the Windows 8 administrator password without the need of any third-party tools.

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.

NTPWEdit also allows you to unlock the built-in administrator account. This can be useful if you don't know which of the accounts on the system where you want to reset the password has admin privileges. I recommend disabling the local administrator account once you have access to the system. I covered the abilities of the built-in administrator account in detail awhile back.

I think NTPWEdit belongs in every admin's tool box. Resetting Windows passwords on user laptops is a common task. I have tested NTPWEdit on Windows PE 3.0, and it worked without problems. The other famous password reset tool, Windows Password Renew, appears not to work on Windows PE 3.0.

As mentioned above you have to launch NTPWEdit from a second Windows installation. If you have not yet built your own rescue stick please read my instructions for how to boot Windows PE 3.0 from a USB drive. Also check out my article of how to reset the administrator password.


  1. Alexej 13 years ago

    Kon-Boot allows for Windows systems to enter any password protected profile without any knowledge of the password.

  2. Fred 13 years ago

    I get “open failed” when I point to the SAM file. Maybe because my machine is a domain member? My motivation would be old machines that fall off the domain anyway

  3. Alexej, thanks a lot for the tip. I will have a look at Kon-Boot.

    Fred, my test machine also was a domain member. On which OS did you run NTPWEdit and which was your offline system?

  4. Fred 13 years ago

    Online: XP Pro sp3.

    Haven’t tested offline yet

  5. It only works offline. If this worked online, Microsoft would have a severe security problem.

  6. Alexej, Microsoft Essentials, some other anti-virus tools classify Kon-Boot as malware. Could be because they see it as a hacking tool. I removed the link (just to be sure).

  7. cft6yhn 13 years ago

    I can testify to Kon-Boot, I’ve only tested it on XP, but it worked a treat.
    I was actually thinking about this a few days ago, does something like Kon-Boot render BitLocker useless?

  8. Yes, you can’t use Kon-Boot with a BitLocker-encrypted drive. This also applies to NTPWEdit.

  9. dgwg 13 years ago

    Hi there! What tool in this package will help recover an administrative p/w for a Windows Vista home user who has not been given software?

  10. sona 13 years ago

    i forgot my forgot administrator password for window vista and i can not download anything. Is there a way where i can retrive my password without deleting my files andif possiable for free

  11. This solution works without downloading software if you have a Windows DVD.

  12. ming 13 years ago

    omg i solved the problem.
    it was all jus stupid me.
    I LOVE U.

  13. ephyra 12 years ago

    i lost my admin password on my aspire one netbook.. it running windows 7 stater.. anyy solution to recover without using dvd reader..

  14. panos 12 years ago

    you saved my life. I followed this guide:
    As mentioned above you have to launch NTPWEdit from a second Windows installation. If you have not yet built your own rescue stick please read my instructions for how to boot Windows PE 3.0 from a USB drive. Also check out my article of how to reset the administrator password.”

    Worked like a charm, took a while though 😉

  15. Annette 12 years ago

    Some kid put a password on my computer and can’t remember and I can’t get in. I don’t have a reset disk, so will this NTPWEdit work for me?

  16. Marcella Williams 12 years ago

    I have an administration password for making changes to my computer. I do not have a problem logging into windows. I can not download or delete old programs from my computer. When I try a box pops up that reads enter password. Can you please help.

  17. Laura Hernandez 10 years ago

    Hi, I have a Windows 7 laptop and for the first time it asks me for a administrator password or the power on password. I haven’t used my laptop since 2011 and its basically brand new. I only used it for 3 weeks and my screen turned all white and from there it has been put up in my closet. Any I idea what it could be and what I need to do to get in my laptop because right now it asks for Administrator Password or Power On Password.


  18. Lewis Brinin 9 years ago

    frustrating. I have to reset a password for a friend on his windows7 home computer. I have three programs to try but none seem to have instructions. I have changed bios and can boot from the cd , all three programs boot from the cd but then what??? What do i do after it boots???
    I only have instructions for one and that was trinity but after typing windpass -u username it said it could not find that account so now I am trying ntpwedit but again, if it boots ok, then what???

  19. Lewis, if you need a step-by-step guide, try this.

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