Lost Administrator Password for Windows 2003 Server

March 12th, 2013 by Admin Leave a reply »

I am trying get an unused server up and running, it booted fine but I was greeted with the login window and none of the known passwords seem to work. The server I am trying to get to work is not a Domain Controller and has not been used in a long time. How do I access Windows server 2003 without formatting the hard drive?

Lost administrator password of a Windows 2003 server machine which is rarely used? Is there any way to make the system up and running without needing to reinstall the system? There is a powerful rescue utility called Password Recovery Bundle, which enables you to create a Live CD/USB that could be used to reset lost or forgotten password for both local administrator and domain administrator on Windows 2003 server. Here we’ll guide you directly through all the steps involved in resetting lost administrator password for Windows 2003 server.

How to Reset Lost Administrator Password for Windows 2003 Server?

  1. Download and install Password Recovery Bundle on another computer that you can log in.
  2. Put a blank CD in the CD drive in order to create a Live CD.
  3. Launch Password Recovery Bundle and click on Windows Password button, it will display the ISO burning dialog.

  4. Choose the CD you’ve plugged in and then click on Start Burn button to create a Live CD.
  5. After you have the Live CD, put it into the CD drive of your Windows 2003 server that needs a password reset.
  6. Turn on the server and have it boot from the Live CD. You may need to go into BIOS and set CD/DVD as the first boot device.
  7. After booting from the Live CD, it will load the Windows PE operating system inside the Live CD and start the Reset Windows Password program.

  8. By default, the program will display a list of local user accounts existing in your Windows SAM registry hive. If your server is a domain controller and you want to reset lost domain administrator password, please choose the Reset Active Directory Password option, the program will show your domain user accounts existing in the Active Directory database (ntds.dit).
  9. Choose the administrator account from the list, then click on Reset Password button, the program will reset your lost administrator password immediately.

The last step is to remove the Live CD and restart the server. You can then log into the administrator account of your Windows 2003 server. It’s simple as that! The Live CD could also be used to reset lost administrator password on Windows 2012/2008/2000 server.