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Video: Create a Windows password reset disk on a USB flash drive

Bill Detwiler shows you how to create a Windows password reset disk using a USB flash drive instead of an optical disc or floppy.

For years, IT pros and end users have created Windows password reset disks using CDs, DVDs, and even old-school floppies. But, it's the 21st century and these days there's another option. During this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how to make a password reset disk on a USB Flash Drive.

Check out the following TR Dojo episodes for more cool things to do with a USB drive:

For those who prefer text to video, click the View Transcript link below the video player windows or check out Greg Shultz's' article, "Use a USB Flash Drive to create Windows Password Reset Disk in Windows 7," on which this video is based.

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About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

13 comments
deja_voodoo
deja_voodoo

Can you the same flash drive for multiple machines? After all, most of us have at least two computers, and, in my case, each has a different log-on password. I bought the smallest-capacity drive I could find, but I'm still using only a little itty bit of it - in fact, it's so small, it didn't even register on the Properties pie chart. I dread all of that space going to waste. @SgtPappy: There's no need to be so smug, Some of us are new to the field (as you were, once; remember?) and others are not blessed with perfect memories. It could also be that the owner of the computer has been away for a while (military, illness) and a password to a computer is easily swept aside for larger things to worry about,

yansilogin
yansilogin

Windows Login Recovery can also create a bootable CD/DVD or USB flash drive and recover the password in five minutes. I Have used it once, it's very great.You can learn more at: http://www.windowsloginrecovery.com

jwarner255
jwarner255

IMO, the baked in reset is a waste of time; google "offline nt password", download and burn THIS reset disk. Only one disk to carry and you can reset any machine or create new admin user.

matthew.james
matthew.james

Although it is only available to Enterprise customers, we use ERD from the Microsoft Diaganostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) which has the Locksmith utility. Generally only need to use it on pcs and servers that have lost their trust relationship with the DC and whoever set the admin password gave it some non-standard one.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how to create a Windows password reset disk using a USB flash drive instead of an optical disc or floppy. And while making a password reset is usually a good idea on stand-alone Windows machines, a lot of end users and even IT pros don't do it. What about you? Do you always make a Windows password reset disk for accounts on the stand-alone (non-domain) computers that you support? Watch the video and take the poll: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/itdojo/video-create-a-windows-password-reset-disk-on-a-usb-flash-drive/2605

dumbneasy
dumbneasy

Bill, There's one thing you didn't tell us. Of course, advanced users will know this; but I'm not that advanced. If you create a Windows forgotten password disk, will it work for any Windows 7 computer, or just the one you created it with? Thank you!

pafrisch
pafrisch

Gentlemen, You will find the Offline NT Password and Registry Editior in the Ultimate Boot CD (current version 5.0.3) along with a bunch of VERY useful tools. I have used it on a box that had lost trust with an AD domain and it works very well. You will find it in the Hard Disk section under Data Recovery. Don't leave home (or your desk) without UBCD.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

When you create a password reset disk, you're actually creating a very small file named userkey.psw and storing it on the USB drive. This file will only let you reset the password of the account for which it was created. It won't work on another machine with another account.

sangraal
sangraal

This is a leftover legacy task for use when ANY user or lazy Microsoft user needed to get past the secure OS authentication protection. Which they really had perfected in Windows 98. Ey, Bill ? lol

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

You create a password reset disk because you want to be able to get into your machine incase you forget your password. Anyone that forgets a password to their computer shouldn't have a computer and probably wouldn't know how to make a reset disk let alone use one. Then you put the usb flash drive in a secure location (the "secret" storage area on top of the computer). Why not just right it down on a piece of paper and store that in the secret compartment?