TR Dojo: Create a Windows password reset disk on a USB flash drive
May 16, 2011, 8:17am PDT | Length: 00:04:12
Bill Detwiler shows you how to create a Windows password reset disk using a USB flash drive instead of an optical disc. Once you’ve watched this TR Dojo video, you can find a link to the original TechRepublic article and print the tip from our
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Bill Detwiler: For years, IT pros and end users have createdWindows password reset disks using CDs, DVDs, and even old-school floppies.But, it’s the 21st century and these days there’s another option.
I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'llshow you how to make a password reset disk on a USB Flash Drive.
USB flash drives aren’t designed to be permanent storagemedia, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for a Windows password resetdisk.
As long as you don’t subject them to significant physicaldamage or surpass the manufacturer’s recommended number of write/erase cycles,they should hold their data for at least a decade, which is more than enoughtime for most users I’ve encountered.
And if you’re using a machine without a floppy or opticaldrive, using a flash drive is better than not creating a password reset disk atall.
Now before I show you the process, let me give you twocaveats.
First, I’ll be using Windows 7 to demonstrate the process.But, it should also work on Windows Vista—although the exact steps andscreenshots might be a little different.
Second, this process only works for local accounts. Youcan’t create or use a password reset disk on a domain account. Regardless ofwhether you use a flash drive or not.
With those caveats out of the way, let’s start the processby reformatting your flash drive. So, insert it into your computer and waitWindows to give it a drive letter. Right-click on the drive in Computer andselect the Format command. When you see the Format dialog box, just click theStart button.
Now that the drive is ready to use, click the Windows Startbutton, type User Accounts in the Start Search box, and click User Accounts inthe results panel. Once the User Accounts window opens, locate and click Createa Password Reset Disk in the Tasks panel.
When you see the Forgotten Password Wizard’s Welcome screen,read the information and click Next to continue. Windows should then prompt youto choose the drive it will use to create the disk. If it’s not alreadyselected, pick your flash drive’s letter and click Next.
When prompted to enter your password, do so, and click Nextagain.
As soon as you do, you’ll see a progress bar. Once it hasreached 100 percent, click Next to reveal the Forgotten Password Wizard’s finalwindow. To complete the operation, click Finish.
You can now click the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Mediaicon, choose your USB flash drive, and then, when prompted to do so, remove it.
Just remember to label the drive and put it somewhere safe.The last thing you want to do is accidently erase it the next time you want totransfer a few files or give it to someone else by mistake.
Well that does it for this edition of TR Dojo. Thanks toTechRepublic blogger Greg Shultz, who put this tip together. For completedetails on how to use your new password reset flash drive, check out Greg’sblog post on the subject. I’ll link to it from the TR Dojo blog.
And as always, for more teachings on YOUR path to becomingan IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, sign-up for our newsletter, orfollow me on Twitter.
Thanks for visiting the TR Dojo.