My mom's ancient Winbook laptop, using Windows XP Professional, was also hooked up to a wireless keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, this caused it to only accept the account password at the login screen correctly when typed using the wireless keyboard, and after a software update the wireless keyboard stopped working, leaving only the laptop's own keyboard.

How can I use an Ubuntu LiveCD to reset a Windows XP password?

  • Due to the subject matter and content, if this were edited correctly, it could be a tutorial. Good question and good answer. – Ringtail Feb 28 '12 at 3:11

Get a 32-bit Ubuntu 10.04 LTS LiveCD, and boot the computer from it.

Then follow these steps once in the LiveCD environment:

  1. Go to Administration > Software Sources and enable the Universe and Multiverse software repository sources. Click Close, then Reload when prompted.
  2. Either install chntpw from Synaptic Package Manager, or open a terminal and run:

    sudo apt-get install chntpw

    The latter method may be preferable, since this is a commandline program.

  3. Mount the Windows XP partition by going to the Places menu in the top panel, and mounting the relevant filesystem by clicking it. It will be mounted once the Nautilus window for it opens.
  4. In a terminal, type

    cd /media/

    and hit Tab to autocomplete with the name of your Windows partition. Then (for Windows XP) complete the rest of the path as WINDOWS/system32/config/. Hit Enter to change to this directory.

  5. Run

    sudo chntpw -u username SAM

    where username is your actual Windows XP username. (If you don't get it right the first time, you can see a list of found users in the output and re-enter it with the right username.) Once it presents you with a text menu, enter 1 to clear the user's password.

Now just restart your machine and log in as the selected user, who will not have a password. Use Windows' own account management tools to set a new password if desired.


  • What to do if the username contains ANSI accented characters? Only <?> appear in place of them, and it's impossible to type such username in. – Calmarius Oct 2 '13 at 20:27
  • 1
    chntpw didn't work for me. I've followed all steps and chntpw reported that the password was cleared successfully. I've also executed sync before rebooting. When rebooting windows, leaving the password field clear still did not work. I still get the message that the password is incorrect. – Daniel S. Dec 20 '13 at 15:38

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