My laptop is a Windows 7 / Ubuntu 12.04 LTS dual-boot setup. I've been experimenting with alternative desktop shells on my Windows partition, such as KDE and Cairo.

After setting Cairo as my default shell, I decided to restart my computer and log back into Windows just to make sure everything was working properly. However, after logging in, I found myself left with nothing but the mouse cursor and a blank desktop filled with the default background color.

I know the registry setting I need to change in order to restore Windows Explorer as the default shell from my prior experimentation with KDE, but I obviously can't use regedit if I can't load into a working desktop. However, I can still use my Ubuntu partition with no problems.

This has me wondering if there is a way I can mount my Windows partition in Ubuntu and somehow edit the registry from there. How would I go about doing this, and do I need any extra packages for it?

  • I don't think so. Can you boot to the default administrator account for windows 7, run regedit and change the keys in the profile of your user? – Chris May 10 '12 at 22:05
  • Actually, I just now found I could use Task Manager after logging in by Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and then using File > New Task to manually run a dock I was making in GameMaker. From there I can launch pretty much everything else, so at least I can still fix it from Windows. That being said, I'm still curious if the registry can be accessed from Ubuntu, since apparently noone's asked that before. – Knowledge Cube May 10 '12 at 22:17

I believe that's what you're looking for, "Offline NT Password & Registry Editor"(chntpw)

What is chntpw?

chntpw is a software utility for resetting or blanking local passwords used by Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8.1. It also contains a simple registry editor and hex-editor with which the information contained in a registry file can be browsed and modified under linux/unix.

How to install?

You can install it from terminal by running this command:

sudo apt-get install chntpw

Or search for "chntpw" in Software Center.

Additional sources:

Using chntpw in Ubuntu to Hack the Windows Registry

Change or Reset Windows Password from a Ubuntu Live CD

  • Very Cool. Good to know. – Chris May 11 '12 at 0:08
  • Cool...I didn't know chntpw included a registry editor. – Knowledge Cube May 11 '12 at 1:07
  • @Rinzwind: Well, not exactly. In a number of cases, chntpw can only clear (or blank) the password for an account - sometimes it can't actually change the password. Still, it is an awesome tool. – Nathan Osman May 11 '12 at 21:10
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    Note that second to last link is dead but it is archived here web.archive.org/web/20120505170011/http://members.iinet.net/… – cat Feb 9 '17 at 20:55

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