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Using TRK To Enable Vista SP1 Administrator Account And Reset Windows Password

If you lose or forget the Windows password, can you regain Windows account login? The answer is certainly yes (and there is not only one route to the Rome).

Take Windows Vista for example, the OS built in with a function calls “Create Password Reset Disk”. However, the question is how many of you bother to create one of this disk? Another problem of Windows Password Reset Disk is being unique to an account (good from security point of view).

That’s to say, even if you create a Windows Password Reset Disk for account A of Windows machine A, you cannot use it to reset account B of Windows machine A. In addition, what if the password reset disk corrupted?

If you wake up in such a bad day that you forget the password and there is NO Windows password reset disk, Trinity Rescue Kit may be able to get you back to luck.
Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) is a Live CD running Linux kernel; with an ISO image size at about 130MB; bootable from USB drive, CD/DVD, or over network from PXE.

The TRK owner, Tom Kerremans (a.k.a. Harakiri), creates a shell script calls winpass to automatically search and mount NTFS file system followed by calling chntpw to edit SAM file in %windir%\system32\config.

The magic is the chntpw (Offline NT Password & Registry Editor) that enable or unlock a Windows account (be it the real Vista SP1 Administrator account) and reset the Windows password to blank or new password.

How to use Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) to unlock Vista SP1 hidden Administrator account and reset the forgotten password to blank?

Linux OS is case-sensitive, i.e. Linux doesn’t agree “walker” and “Walker” are the same string. TRK is based on Linux kernel. Thus, please be reminded it’s also case-sensitive!

1) Download TRK from the genuine TrinityHome.org. In my “video-shot”, the latest Trinity Rescue Kit 3.3 build 321 is used (file name: trinity-rescue-kit.3.3-build-321.iso, MD5 checksum: 128abbe0a4b4d863d08bd10263f90755).

2) Burn the ISO image file to CD/DVD-ROM and boots it up (the easier way to boot up TRK). While the TRK boot menu appears, you have about 10 seconds to choose one of the boot options or just let it boots up with default option (recommended).

3) After the Linux boot processes complete, you should see the Linux command prompt appears. You’re ready to execute winpass shell script to start searching local hard disk for Windows NTFS file systems with Windows installation folder (%windir%). Unless it’s dual-boot machine, there is only 1 search result – enter 1 and press ENTER or just press ENTER to accept the default answer:

Type winpass to start searching Windows NTFS file system with Windows installation directory.
Type winpass to start searching Windows NTFS file system with Windows installation directory.

When executing winpass without option switch, the default action of chntpw is to deal with Administrator account. To deal with particular Windows account, e.g. Walker, type
winpass -u Walker

Next, multiple lines of text scroll up. Take note of a section call SAM Policy Limits:

Vet through the winpass digest of SAM file and check is the Vista SP1 hidden Administrator account is currently locked or disabled.
Vet through the winpass digest of SAM file and check is the Vista SP1 hidden Administrator account is currently locked or disabled.

If the Vista SP1 hidden Administrator account is locked/disabled (i.e. the dis/lock keyword appears in “Locked?” column), choose option 4 to “unlock and enable user account”:

Use TRK winpass shell script to unlock or enabled the ultimate Vista SP1 Administrator account.
Use TRK winpass shell script to unlock or enabled the ultimate Vista SP1 Administrator account.

When the “Unlocked!” keyword is seen, it indicates the Administrator account is successfully unlocked/enabled. Finally, execute winpass again and choose option 1 to reset the Administrator password to blank (doesn’t matter it’s actually blank or you’ve forgotten it).

That’s all to get the job done. Good luck!

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  1. Mark 13-03-09@06:29

    Worked a treat, thanks!!

  2. Paul 10-04-09@10:14

    Sorry about this dumb question. After i downloaded TRK and burned it into a CD, I try to open it up but it always gives me the “Windows cannot open this file” message. Can you please explain to me what i need to do to open up TRK?

  3. Walker 13-04-09@01:16

    @Pual, you should able to browse the CD content after burning the ISO image successfully onto CDR.

    Bear in mind that the TRK is actually a customized Linux distribution, so you can’t run any programs in the TRK CD except to view some of the ASCII files in it.

  4. Dada 25-07-09@18:18

    Thanks a lot. I tried everything to help my friend unlock her forgotten pw… Tried orphcrack but it couldn’t decrypt it. Resetting was easy.

  5. Tanner 30-07-09@05:21

    I used this to help my friends in laws reset their lost vista passwords. They were very appreciative, and both me and my friends family were pleasantly surprised at how quick it was.

    Thanks Walker.
    And more thanks to Trinity for making it.

  6. VistaSp2 25-09-09@23:37

    I did this and all it did was add an administrator account and the passwords were invalid

  7. COMeOM 28-11-09@03:47

    You should have mentioned that the administrator account has to be enabled in vista in order to even log in. Reguardless if you know the password or not.

  8. seredie 16-12-09@07:07

    I have a packard bell laptop (Vista home premium) that was given to me from a student friend that forgot his user password. No additional administrator account was created yet. This laptop won’t start from cd so I cannot use this miracle kit. I tried to change the boot option but unfortunately it requires a BIOS password that nobody knows. The common Masterpassword don’t work. How can I remove the BIOS password ? Does someone help me please !!

  9. adej 22-12-09@22:15

    @walker.hello pls am in need of your help badly,
    i followed the instructions provided on your web page,
    i downloaded the trinity rescue kit version 3.2 Build 279 from the TRK official home page using garr mirror
    and after all the process,i try to boot
    my win vista home premium with it and got the message bellow:

    ISOLINUX 3.31 2006-07-05 copyright© 1994-2005 H.Peter Anvin
    Unknown Keyword in config file.
    Could not find kernel Image:Linux

    and there after nothing happens,What do you think could be the problem?
    pls i need your response cos ma project is in trouble.

  10. Walker 22-12-09@22:28

    I suppose you’ve burnt the ISO file of TRK successfully and booted it up from CD/DVD-ROM drive.

    Before burning the ISO file to CD/DVD-ROM, did you check and confirm the MD5 checksum of the downloaded ISO file with the one published by TRK official website?

  11. adej 25-12-09@01:48

    @walker i didn’t do that, cos i don’t know how to.pls how do i check and confirm the MD5 checksum.my notebook is acer aspire 4937

  12. Walker 25-12-09@03:01

    Google “how to check md5sum”

  13. adej 26-12-09@20:20

    @walker you are the best man i tried the stuff and it worked thank’s so much

  14. Roddy 30-01-10@00:50

    i have a hpcompaq 6735s laptop, and i have forgotten he password.

    To solve the problem, i downloaded and burnt the Trinity R K software but the system does not even boot with the CD even when i boot with it inside and set it to boot from CD, it still gives the same result.

    How do i make the laptop boot from the CD??

    please i need your help i am but a layman when it comes to computers and i really need to get research work done.

    Thank you.


  15. Walker 30-01-10@13:39

    Assume you have burnt the valid TRK ISO file to CD/DVD-ROM and it is bootable, then

    1. Access to the laptop BIOS and set the first boot drive to CD/DVD-ROM drive.
    2. Load the TRK bootable DVD/CD-ROM to the DVD/CD-ROM drive
  16. Robert 13-02-10@16:02

    After running that program, and going to restart, my HDD is no long accessible, and the laptop will not boot at all.. NOTHING… WTH happened? I followed all the instructions to the “T” . Now the Laptop is a paper weight. I have a Toshiba Satellite running Vista Home. Need serious help.

  17. Rossi 27-03-10@12:49

    Cheers bud, helped me out a treat to get into a locked Vista box – I’ve used UBCD and the like in the past, but Trinity seems a much better solution all round.

  18. Josh 05-05-10@13:16

    I am running my laptop on an external moniter because my screen is cracked and i can’t see anything. I haven’t used me computer in months and forgot my password. I can’t access the external moniter until the windows login screen. How can I reset my password?

  19. Walker 06-05-10@00:07

    Does the BIOS supports external display instead of relying on the OS?

  20. Havok 08-05-10@01:33

    I am able to boot to the disk but it gets caught in a cycle say..”respawning too fast disabled for 5 minutes” Please Please help..

  21. Walker 09-05-10@14:15

    Sorry I can’t help you on this.
    I suggest you to post this question on the official TRK forum.

  22. ukd25 09-07-10@17:31

    Worked a treat, I had vista machine getting ‘ The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed’ on login, I managed to enable the vista admin account and fix the machine.

  23. digits007 30-07-10@01:19

    The best I have ever used – this is the bomb…

    Thank you very much for your effort

    GA – USA

  24. Cole 19-09-10@07:10


    Thank you for the great review, and I hope to be able to utilize it, but I can’t even get to the TRK boot.

    I think my laptop cdrom drive is not working, so the TRK program that I burned unto the CDR will not load! The drive says 0mb used and 0mb available when I try to explore the drive to boot TRK from the laptop, but on the computer the burned CDR opens TRK…

    So is there an alternative way to reset the password??? I put the TRK contents unto a flash drive, but I don’t know which of the 16 files to use to boot TRK unto the laptop, none seem to get me to the steps you describe!

    This laptop was held from my roommate as collateral, and when he bailed on paying rent, I kept it. Now I have no access to restore, and have nothing but the laptop and charger.

    Please advise!

  25. Walker 19-09-10@23:20

    You need to create a bootable TRK USB drive.
    If your laptop support booting from USB and is able to load successfully, there you will see the light.

  26. Mark 09-11-10@01:53

    I encrypted some files in vista, didn’t backup the encryption key, I’m running a different operating system, but wondered if I could use this software to unlock the encrypted files?

  27. jay 17-12-10@21:43

    how do i exit the boot mode :D seriously

  28. Kelly Tremayne 28-04-11@03:08

    YOU ROCK! Just helped me save my colleague so much grief.. and enabled me to look bashful and modest – not usually my color! :-)

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