Creating a password reset disk

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 2 Jan. 2008 / Last Updated on 2 Jan. 2008]

Creating a password reset disk

In Windows Server 2003 you can create a password reset disk for any local user account on a member server (a nondomain controller in a domain) or stand-alone server (a server in a workgroup). You can't create a password reset disk for a domain controller because a domain controller doesn't have any local user accounts, only domain accounts stored in Active Directory.

A typical use for a password reset disk would be to create one for the all-powerful local Administrator account on your server. To do this, get a blank formatted floppy and follow these steps:

  • Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to open the Windows Security dialog box.
  • Click on the Change Password button to open the Change Password box.
  • In the User Name field, type the name of the local user account--for example, Administrator--whose password you want to be able to reset.
  • In the Log On To listbox, select the name of the computer--for example, TEST210 (this computer).
  • The Backup button should now appear at the bottom left of the Change Password box. If it doesn't, backspace inside the User Name field to erase what you typed and type it again.
  • Do not type anything in the Old Password or New Password fields. (You can't change your password and create a reset disk in the same operation.)
  • Click on the Backup button to start the Forgotten Password wizard.
  • Click Next, insert your floppy, and click Next.
  • Type the current password of the account for which you are creating a reset disk and click Next.
  • When the wizard is finished, click Next and then Finish.
  • Click Cancel twice to close the Windows Security screen and return to your desktop.

Put your password reset disk in a secure location--especially if you created it for the local Administrator account on your server, because anyone who gets hold of your reset disk can log on to the machine and have unlimited access.

See Also

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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