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Use the Recovery Console Without a Password

When using the Windows Recovery console, you are normally prompted for the password of the administrator account. Without this password, the recovery console will not load. In some situations, the Recovery Console won’t accept the password you provide even if it’s correct. If this is the case, or if you simply don’t know the Administrator’s password there is still hope.

Pnordah [1] has put together a boot disk that, when booted from, will allow you to directly edit the Windows registry. One of the options is to set a registry key which tells the Recovery Console to not ask for a password. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Download this ZIP file [2] containing an ISO CD image.
  2. Extract the ISO file and then use it to burn a CD. (Note, do not just burn the ISO file to a CD as you would other file types. The ISO file is an image file and needs to be burned appropriately.)
  3. Put the new CD in your computer and boot from it.
  4. You will see the boot CD load, and then be presented with a line that reads “boot: “.
  5. Press enter.
  6. You will then be presented with a list of Windows partitions (usually just one unless you dual-boot) preceded by a number.
  7. Type the number corresponding to the Windows installation you want to use (this is usually “1”) and press enter.
  8. It may take several minutes for the partition to be mounted. Be patient.
  9. Once the partition is mounted, you will be asked for the location of the registry directory. Don’t type anything, just press enter.
  10. You will be asked which part of the registry to load. Type “2” and then press enter.
  11. After the next menu is displayed, type “3” and press enter.
  12. You will now see a line that starts “Administrator Password Login:”. If immediately after this you see “ENFORCED (0)”, your computer requires you to type the administrator password to use the Recovery Console.
  13. Type “y” and press enter to remove this requirement.
  14. You will be returned to the previous menu. Type “q” and press enter.
  15. You will be asked to confirm the changes. Type “y” and press enter.
  16. At the next prompt just press enter.
  17. You can no eject the CD and restart your computer by holding down CTRL-ALT-DEL.

The requirement to enter an administrator’s password has been removed from the Recovery Console. You can now boot into the Recovery Console as normal [3].