In this article you will learn How to Reset Windows 10 Password with Linux Mint Live CD. Linux Mint is a widely used Ubuntu distro that offers a user-friendly but powerful operating system, but did you know that you can also reset your Windows 10 password using a Linux Mint bootable CD? Here’s some background and how to execute the process in the simplest way possible.
Why Linux Mint to Reset a Windows 10 Login Password?
The reason you need a disk that you can boot from is that you are currently locked out of your PC and there are limited options when it comes to resetting the password and regaining access to your precious data. In that respect, Linux Mint is ideal because it provides the operating system environment needed to boot up a locked computer. More importantly, it will allow you to leverage the Terminal-based chntpw tool to reset your password. There are, of course, other command-line options in Mint that will help you do the job, but this one is, by far, the easiest method.
How to Reset a Windows 10 Password with Linux Mint Live CD
The following steps show you how to create your Live CD on another PC and then use that to boot up your locked PC and reset the password with the chntpw utility in Terminal.
Step 1: This must be done on a second computer since your own PC is currently inaccessible to you. To create the Live CD for Linux Mint, you’ll need the ISO file. Also known as “Tessa”, the 64-bit version 19.1 can be downloaded at this link. After downloading, you can use the right-click menu option called “Burn Disk Image” in Windows 10 to burn the media to a disk.
Step 2: Next, remove the CD and put it into the optical drive of your locked Windows 10 PC, then boot from it. It doesn’t do so by default, so you’ll need to enter the BIOS Setup to change the boot order. Do this by hitting the manufacturer-specified key for your make and model of PC. It could be F2, F8, or some other key, but it is usually displayed momentarily during the boot-up process. Once in the setup menu for BIOS, point the boot priority to your optical drive containing the Linux Mint Live CD. Save and exit, and let the boot resume.
Step 3: When the PC boots into Linux Mint, the password reset process begins. Start by hitting Enter when you see several options including the default mode. Once you’re in Mint, navigate to this location: “\Windows\System32\Config folder”
Step 4: When you spot the SAM file in that folder, go to its Properties by right-clicking and selecting it from the contextual menu. Look under Location and copy the file’s location to a notepad. You’ll need this in a minute.
Step 5: Next, launch an instance of Terminal within Mint and run the following command and hit Enter. This will install the utility you need to reset your login password for your Windows 10 local account on that machine:
sudo apt-get install chntpw
Step 6: There’s another command you’ll need to run in order to access the SAM registry. But first, navigate to the location you copied to the notepad at the end of Step 4. Now, run this command by hitting Enter after you input it:
sudo chntpw SAM
Step 7: When you run the command, you’ll see your admin user name on your screen. From there, input the following in the sequence shown (Enter means you need to hit the Enter key):
Note: The keys above will clear the password, exit the chntpw utility, and apply the change, in that order.
Step 8: You can now eject your CD and reboot the PC. No password will be required to log in to your local admin account.
Doing the above steps should be relatively easy but, if you’re a first-timer, it might not be your cup of tea. Besides, there are several things that can go wrong: your CD burner might not be 100% accurate, which means the bootable disk won’t work; you may miss some steps while setting up and using chntpw; the order of user names might be different; in fact, there are several points during the process where you might be unsure of what to do. For that reason, we’ve briefly covered another alternative that does the job in an error-free and, more importantly, user-friendly manner.
Alternative Software to Reset Windows 10 Password
Androidphonesoft Windows Password Recovery essentially uses the same approach but with a different set of tools that are more effective. For starters, it’s available for both macOS and Windows, which means you don’t have to worry about which computer is available for the job of creating the password reset disk. Second, it has been extensively tested on every global OEM brand that carries the Windows 10 OS in its many avatars. Third, the complex parts have been moved behind the scenes, leaving an extremely simple yet powerful interface for the user. There are lots of other reasons, but let’s quickly see how it works.
After downloading Windows Password Recovery from androidphonesoft.com to an accessible PC or Mac, put in a pen drive or a physical disk as your option for creating a bootable password reset disk/drive. Hit “Burn” next to that section and wait for the disk to be prepare. When it’s done, move it to the locked PC and boot from it, as described in Step 2 of the Linux Mint method. In the interface that appears, pick your Windows version and the user name of the locked account. Once you hit “Reset Password”, the job done in an instant. Hit Reboot and remove the reset disk/drive to login without a password.
Obviously, using Linux Mint on Windows is a workaround method. Try Androidphonesoft Windows Password Recovery for a more seamless experience.