1. When you get to the Welcome to Setup
Setup Windows now
2. The Licensing Agreement
next - Press F8
to accept it.
3. The next screen is the Setup
which gives you the option to do a Repair.
It should read something like “If one of the following Windows XP
is damaged, Setup can try to repair it”
Use the up and down arrow keys to select
your XP installation
(if you only have one, it should
selected) and press R to begin the Repair process.
4. Let the Repair run. Setup will now check
your disks and then start copying files which can take several
5. Shortly after the Copying Files stage,
you will be required to reboot. (this
automatically – you will see a progress bar stating “Your
reboot in 15 seconds”
6. During the reboot, do not make the mistake
of “pressing any key” to boot from the CD again! Setup will
resume automatically with
standard billboard screens and you will notice Installing
7. Keep your eye on the lower left hand
side of the screen and when you see the Installing Devices
bar, press SHIFT + F10
This is the security
hole! A command console will now open up giving you the
wide access to your system.
8. At the prompt, type NUSRMGR.CPL
. Voila! You have just gained graphical
access to your User Accounts
in the Control Panel.
9. Now simply pick the account you need
to change and remove or change your password as you prefer. If
to log on without having to enter your new password, you can
at the prompt and choose to log on without
for password. After you’ve made your changes close the
windows, exit the
command box and continue on with the Repair (have your Product
10. Once the Repair is done, you will be
able to log on with your new password (or without a password
if you chose
not to use one or if you chose not to be asked for a
password). Your programs
and personalized settings should remain intact.
I tested the above on Windows XP Pro with
and without SP1 and also used this method in a real situation
could not remember their password and it worked like a charm to
problem. This security hole allows access to more than just user
You can also access the Registry and Policy Editor, for example.
And its gui
with mouse control. Of course, a Product Key will be needed to
with the Repair after making the changes, but for anyone intent on
access to your system, this would be no problem.
And in case you are wondering, NO, you cannot
cancel install after making the changes and expect to logon with
Cancelling will just result in Setup resuming
at bootup and your changes will be lost.
Ok, now that your logon problem is fixed,
you should make a point to prevent it from ever happening again by
a Password Reset Disk
. This is a floppy disk you can use in
event you ever forget your log on password. It allows you to set a
Here's how to create one if your computer
is NOT on a domain:
- Go to the Control Panel and open up User Accounts.
- Choose your account (under Pick An
Account to Change) and under Related Tasks, click "Prevent
a forgotten password".
- This will initiate a wizard.
- Click Next and then insert
a blank formatted floppy disk into your A: drive.
- Click Next and enter
your logon password in the password box.
- Click Next to begin the creation of your Password
- Once completed, label and save the disk to a safe
How to Log on to your PC Using Your Password
Start your computer and at the logon screen,
click your user name and leave the password box blank or just type
This will bring up a Logon Failure box and you will then see the
to use your Password Reset disk to create a new password. Click it
will initiate the Password Reset wizard. Insert your password
into your floppy drive and follow the wizard which will let you
a new password to use for your account.
Note: If your computer is part of a domain,
the procedure for creating a password disk is different.
See here for step by step instructions: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;306214&