Offline Windows Password Reset

Recently, I had to reset a user account password on an Acer netbook. Recovery can take some time, unless you have the right tools such as hashcat and a few gtx 780 TI cards laying around. Resetting a password can take less time and there are many options available. My personal favorite is to replace the sticky keys application with command prompt by using the repair option from a windows boot cd.

This time around, this was not an option for me. Being this was a netbook running a “custom” version of Windows 7 and the user did not have the original packaging, I was out of luck. Trying a full-featured Windows 7 disc failed to properly recognize the installation. This was not due to a driver issue, but merely Acer stripped down the install presumably to save space.

Enter chntpw which can be downloaded here in various forms. I opted for source, as I had the hard drive from this little netbook connected to my Mac to first perform a backup. Download the source code and extract it. We must first modify this a bit to compile to slightly usable code for OS X. I should also note that some NTFS read/write drivers are required. Open up the Makefile in your favorite editor. Replace the following lines of code:

Line 16:

Line 30:

Line 71:

Diff of the original and modified file is below:

Save and exit the Makefile then run make to compile the code. Check out this guide for the ins and outs of chntpw.

Update: October 5, 2014

I recently needed to reset the password of a virtual machine that I had running in VMWare Fusion. VMWare Fusion used to include a tool called VMDKMounter, which was removed January 2011 (source). Paragon has a product that seems to offer similar functionality for *free* (link), registration required.

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