Today I Learned: collection of notes, tips and tricks and stuff I learn from day to day working with computers and technology as an open source contributor and product manager

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Change password on Window 7 Using Kali Linux

Over time my family has accumulated a heap of old computers, so in order to clean these in order to get them handed over to recycling, I need to clean them. Some of them are so old nobody can remember the credentials, so I was looking into hacking them to get access so I could backup valuable data prior to resetting the machines.

I found out that a Kali Linux live USB is a great tool.

I followed this guide, it is however a tad crappy since it is drowning in ads and the original blog post referenced is gone.

Here follows my write-up with own notes.

Boot with the Kali Linux USB, open a terminal/console.

Mount the Window hard drive.

mount /dev/sda3 /mnt

I had to try a few times before finding the right drive, I tried /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 before succeeding with /dev/sda3.

Then go to the config/ directory:

cd /mnt/Windows//System32/config/

You can list the entries in the PAM file, using the tool chntpw. samdump2 is another interesting tool for inspecting SAM files.

chntpw -l SAM

Decide on what user you want to reset the password for:

chntpw -u Administrator SAM

Use the dialog and reset the password.

Reboot and log in as the designated user.

Resources and References

  1. Blog post
  2. chntpw
  3. samdump2