5 Tips to Reset the Administrator Password in Windows XP

Protecting your computer with a strong, unique password remains incredibly important. You can protect your smartphone or laptop with a fingerprint, iris, and other biometric scanners. However, a strong single-use password is a vital layer of protection.Unlock the “100+ Essential Windows CMD Commands” cheat sheet now!This will sign you up to our newsletterEnter your EmailUnlockRead our privacy policy But what happens if you forget your Windows XP password? Are you locked out of your Windows XP account for good? Luckily, that’s not the case. Here are five ways to reset the administrator password on your Windows XP laptop or computer….

Read the full article: 5 Tips to Reset the Administrator Password in Windows XP

Protecting your computer with a strong, unique password remains incredibly important. You can protect your smartphone or laptop with a fingerprint, iris, and other biometric scanners. However, a strong single-use password is a vital layer of protection.

Unlock the "100+ Essential Windows CMD Commands" cheat sheet now!

This will sign you up to our newsletter

Enter your Email

But what happens if you forget your Windows XP password? Are you locked out of your Windows XP account for good?

Luckily, that’s not the case. Here are five ways to reset the administrator password on your Windows XP laptop or computer.

1. Reset Windows XP Password Using Ctrl+Alt+Del

If your Windows XP system is set up to log in via the Welcome Screen, there is a chance you’ll be able to log in as the system administrator. Unfortunately, this is also dependent on there being no existing password on the Administrator account.

When you boot your system, it will load the Welcome Screen. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete twice to load the user login panel.

Log on to Windows

Press OK to attempt to log in without a username or password. If that doesn’t work, try typing Administrator into the Username field and pressing OK.

If you’re able to log in, head straight to Control Panel > User Account > Change Account. Then, select the account that you’d like to change the password for, and follow the on-screen instructions.

2. Reset Windows XP Password Using Safe Mode and Command Prompt

If your Windows XP Administrator account remains frustratingly out of reach, you can attempt to reset the password using Safe Mode and the Command Prompt.

To access Windows XP Safe Mode, you need to restart your computer. Press F8 while the computer is booting. (Sometimes tapping F8 helps if you’re unsure.) Select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

Using Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Once you enter Safe Mode, head to Control Panel > User Account > Change Account. Then, select the account that you’d like to change the password for, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Reset Windows XP Password Using the Command Prompt

There are times, however, when certain computer issues will obstruct you from changing user settings, e.g., a virus. In those cases, you can use the Command Prompt from within Safe Mode.

From within Safe Mode, press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog. Type CMD and press Enter. This opens the Command Prompt. Now, type the following command:

net user [account name] [new password]

It should look like this:

Command Prompt

The command selects your account and sets a new password. If you want to clear the password and set a new one at a later date, use the following command:

net user [account name] ""

3. Reset Windows XP Password via Another Account

Resetting your Windows XP password via an alternative account only works if you are using Windows XP Professional.

Start by right-clicking My Computer and selecting Manage.

Windows XP Start

Then, select System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users. Find your user account, right-click, and select Set Password.

Windows XP Computer Management

Reset Windows XP Password via Remote User Management

If you cannot access Computer Management using your own or an alternative account, you can use remote access instead.

On a different computer (it doesn’t have to be Windows XP, but it does have to be a Windows machine), in the Computer Management window, right-click Computer Management (Local). Select Connect to another computer, then select Another Computer.

Enter the IP address of the computer you want to connect to. If you’re on the same network, it will take the form of an internal LAN address, such 192.168.x.x. Alternatively, if you know the computer name, you can use that, e.g., \\DesktopPC.

Windows XP Connect to Another Computer

If you’re unsure and connected to the same network, select Browse, then Advanced. Finally, select Find Now to scan your local network for computers on your network.

Windows XP Find Another Computer

Once you gain remote access, you can change the password by heading to System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users. Then, find your user account, right-click, and select Set Password.

4. Reset Windows XP Password Using a Linux LiveCD or USB

If you’ve made it this far and are still locked on, this is the Windows XP password reset fix for you.

You can use a Linux LiveCD or USB to unlock Windows XP and reset your password. A Linux LiveCD or USB runs directly from the media and doesn’t require installation. Furthermore, some Linux distributions have special tools for unlocking Windows systems.

We’ve previously detailed the process of installing the Linux distribution to a CD or USB, as well as how to reset a password.

However, I’ll give you a rundown of how to reset your locked Windows XP administrator account right here.

  1. Make your bootable Linux CD or USB drive.
    (Our guide to installing Ubuntu on a flash drive!)
  2. Reboot the Windows XP machine. Press either F12, ESC, or Delete to choose your boot device. Select your CD or USB drive when prompted.
  3. Press Ctrl + L to edit the Location Type computer:/// to see all your drives. Select your Windows installation, right-click, and select Mount.
  4. Open the Linux Terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T. Run the following command to install password reset utility chntpw: sudo apt-get install chntpw. (Ignoring the period.)
  5. Change the working directory using the following command: cd /mnt/Windows/System32/config
  6. Retrieve a list of Windows users using the following command: sudo chntpw -1 SAM. (Ignoring the period.)
  7. Find your account username. Then, use the following command to select the account: sudo chntpw -u “USER NAME” SAM. Then, type 2to enter editing mode.
  8. Type a new password, hit Enter to submit, and y to confirm.
  9. Reboot into Windows and use the new password.

5. Reset Windows XP Password: Full Format and Reinstallation

If nothing, but nothing else works, and you’re still somehow locked out of your account, there is only one more option: fire. Okay, not fire. But you will have to remove your hard drive from its host machine, connect it to another machine to complete a backup, and then format the drive.

Once the format is complete, you can reinstall Windows XP, and enter a new password that you can actually remember.

Windows XP Password Reset Complete

One of the tips and tricks we’ve covered should have helped you reset your Windows XP account password. Hopefully, you didn’t have to resort to a full system nuke and reinstall—that can be a real pain!

Note that even though Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, you can still keep your Windows XP installation safe, as well as tweak Windows XP to receive security updates.

Image Credit: The Hack Today

Read the full article: 5 Tips to Reset the Administrator Password in Windows XP

11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command

unlock-mac-settings

Many macOS apps have a Preferences menu that allows you to change their settings. You can also change Mac options in the System Preferences panel. But not all settings are available in the Preferences or Settings dialog boxes. That’s why you need to know about the defaults Terminal command. This allows you to change hidden settings for apps and the Mac system using the command line. Today, we’ll show you some handy hidden settings on your Mac you can change using the defaults command. What Are Property Lists? App settings and user preferences are stored in files called property lists…

Read the full article: 11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command

unlock-mac-settings

Many macOS apps have a Preferences menu that allows you to change their settings. You can also change Mac options in the System Preferences panel.

But not all settings are available in the Preferences or Settings dialog boxes. That’s why you need to know about the defaults Terminal command. This allows you to change hidden settings for apps and the Mac system using the command line.

Today, we’ll show you some handy hidden settings on your Mac you can change using the defaults command.

What Are Property Lists?

App settings and user preferences are stored in files called property lists (PLIST files). But manually editing PLIST files is not recommended. The defaults command allows you to safely change the settings and preferences in PLIST files without digging into them by hand.

PLIST files are stored in two locations on your Mac. User PLIST files are stored in ~/Library/Preferences/. The tilde (~) character represents your home folder. System-wide settings are stored in /Library/Preferences/.

Names of PLIST files are domains and generally belong to individual apps. For example, the domain for Clean My Mac 3 is com.macpaw.CleanMyMac3. So the property list file for Clean My Mac 3 is com.macpaw.CleanMyMac3.plist.

PLIST files in the Preferences folder on a Mac

View User Preferences

You can view the user preferences for an app using the defaults command. You may want to do this before making changes to preferences. That way you know what the original options were in case you want to go back to them.

To view all user preferences, open the Terminal (in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder), type the following command at the prompt, and press Enter.

defaults read

The output list displays in the Terminal window. This will be quite long because it includes all settings for every app. You can also send the output to a text file if you want to save it. Simply add > [path and file name] to the end of the command. For example, to save all user preferences to a file on the desktop, type the following command and press Enter.

defaults read > ~/Desktop/userpreferences.txt

Running the defaults read command on a Mac

You may not care about the user preferences for all apps on your Mac. Thankfully, you can also view the user preferences for an individual app using its domain and PLIST file. For example, to view the preferences for the Encrypto app, type the following command.

defaults read com.macpaw.Encrypto

As above, you can add a path and filename as above to save it to a file if you like.
Running the defaults read command for a specific app on a Mac

Applying Changes Using the Defaults Command

If you change a setting for a currently running app using the defaults command, the app won’t see the change. It may even overwrite what you did. Thus, you should close an app before changing its settings with the defaults command.

In the case of the Dock and Finder, you must restart them after making a settings change. To restart the Dock, use the following command in a Terminal window:

killall Dock

To restart Finder, use the following command:

killall Finder

For the preferences listed below, we include the appropriate killall command where needed. That way, in most cases you can simply copy the command and paste it into a Terminal window (right-click at the prompt and select Paste).

1. Always Show Hidden Files in Finder

Always show hidden files in Finder on a Mac

By default, Finder doesn’t display all files. Some files are hidden from view—mostly files you don’t need to deal with. Hidden files have a dot at the beginning of the file name. You can also hide your own files using the same method.

To always show hidden files in Finder, enter the following command at the prompt in a Terminal window.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE && killall Finder

To hide all hidden files again, run the same command but replace TRUE with FALSE:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE && killall Finder

2. Always Show the Expanded Print Dialog by Default

Always show an expanded Print dialog box on a Mac

To get additional printing options on a Mac, you must click Show Details on the Print dialog box. If you use these additional printing options often, you can change a setting to show the fully expanded Print dialog box every time.

Enter the following command at the prompt in a Terminal window.

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool TRUE

To go back to the default dialog box without the additional options, enter the same command, replacing TRUE with FALSE:

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool FALSE

3. Change the Default Screenshots Format and Location

Change the default format for screenshots on a Mac

Your Mac’s system includes several handy shortcuts for taking screenshots, like Cmd + Shift + 3 to capture the entire screen and Cmd + Shift + 4 to select an area to capture.

We’ve covered how to use the defaults command to change defaults for screenshots, like the default file format for screenshots and where they’re automatically save to.

4. Drag Dashboard Widgets to the Desktop

Dashboard widget on the Mac desktop

Many people either forget or don’t know about the Mac Dashboard. It’s hidden behind a keyboard shortcut (F12). The widgets on the Dashboard are like gadgets in Windows, and include items like a clock, weather panel, and calculator.

You can move widgets from the dashboard to your desktop using a combination of a defaults command and the Dashboard shortcut.

5. Get Rid of the Dashboard

If you don’t use the Dashboard at all, you can get rid of it. If you have an older Mac with a small amount of memory, you might want to disable the Dashboard so it’s not using resources in the background.

Enter the following command at the prompt in a Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES && killall Dock

To bring the Dashboard back, simply re-run the above command, replacing YES with NO:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO && killall Dock

6. Completely Hide Desktop Icons

Icons hidden on the Mac desktop

You may find your Mac’s desktop getting cluttered with files and folders, especially if you have a smaller screen. You can hide all the icons on your desktop to relieve yourself from the clutter. The files and folders are still available in the Desktop folder in Finder.

We covered how to hide the desktop icons as part of cleaning up your Mac desktop to increase productivity.

7. Show System Info on the Login Screen

System information on the Mac login screen

You can view system information (computer name, macOS version, and IP address) on the login screen by clicking the clock, but this feature is not on by default.

To enable it, enter the following command in a Terminal window:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow AdminHostInfo HostName

To disable this feature, enter the following command:

sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow AdminHostInfo

8. Reset Dock Customizations

Reset the Dock on a Mac to its defaults

When you first set up a Mac, the Dock contains a stock set of icons. These show at the default size at the bottom of the screen. You can customize the Dock, including adding app icons to the Dock, relocating it to a different position on the screen, and having the Dock automatically hide.

An easy way to quickly reset the Dock to its default settings is to enter the following command in the Terminal window:

defaults delete com.apple.dock && killall Dock

9. Add the Quit Option to Finder

Quit option added to Finder on a Mac

Did you know that you can actually quit Finder? By default, there’s no Quit option in Finder, but you can add one.

Enter the following command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool TRUE && killall Finder

To remove the Quit option, repeat the above command, replacing TRUE with FALSE:

defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool FALSE; killall Finder

10. Show One App at a Time

You can have many apps showing on your desktop at a time. But if you work on a small screen, it might be useful to only show one app at a time. With the single-app mode enabled, opening a minimized app will hide all other open apps.

Enter the following command in a Terminal window to try it:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool TRUE && killall Dock

To disable single app mode, replace TRUE with FALSE in this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool FALSE && killall Dock

11. Change Rows and Columns in Launchpad

Change the number of rows and columns in Launchpad on a Mac

You can customize Launchpad by rearranging the apps. But you can also change the number of rows and columns displayed in Launchpad. By default, it displays seven columns and five rows of apps.

To change the number of columns, enter the following command in a Terminal window. Replace X with the number of columns you want:

defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-columns -int X

To change the number of rows, use this command, again replacing the X with the number of rows:

defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-rows -int X

Then force a restart of Launchpad and restart the Dock with the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool TRUE && killall Dock

To revert to the default number of columns and rows, enter the following commands:

defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-rows
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-columns
killall Dock

To completely reset Launchpad, including the arrangement of the apps, enter the following command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool TRUE; killall Dock

Learn More About the Defaults Command

This is just a sampling of what the defaults command can do. Check out SS64’s page about defaults for more information. And herrbischoff’s GitHub page has tons of commands to try.

Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable using the defaults command. You can use a third-party tool to change settings on your Mac.

Read the full article: 11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command

15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know

cmd-commands

Microsoft has slowly but surely pushed the command line aside in the Windows interface. This is not without reason; it is an antiquated and mostly unnecessary tool from an era of text-based input. But many commands remain useful, and Windows 8 and 10 even added new features.Unlock our “100+ Essential Windows CMD Commands” cheat sheet now!This will sign you up to our newsletterEnter your EmailUnlockRead our privacy policy Here we present the essential commands every Windows user needs to know. In case you’re not sure how to access the Windows command prompt, forgot basic Windows commands, or would like to…

Read the full article: 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know

cmd-commands

Microsoft has slowly but surely pushed the command line aside in the Windows interface. This is not without reason; it is an antiquated and mostly unnecessary tool from an era of text-based input. But many commands remain useful, and Windows 8 and 10 even added new features.

Unlock our "100+ Essential Windows CMD Commands" cheat sheet now!

This will sign you up to our newsletter

Enter your Email

Here we present the essential commands every Windows user needs to know.

In case you’re not sure how to access the Windows command prompt, forgot basic Windows commands, or would like to know how to see a list of switches for each command (aka prompt codes), you can refer to our beginners guide to the Windows command line for instructions.

Prefer this tutorial in video form? We’ve got you covered:

1. Assoc

Assoccommand

Most files in Windows are associated with a specific program that is assigned to open the file by default. At times, remembering these associations can become confusing. You can remind yourself by entering the command “assoc” to display a full list of file name extensions and program associations.

You can also extend the command to change file associations. For example, “assoc .txt=” will change the file association for text files to whatever program you enter after the equal sign. The “Assoc” command itself will reveal both the extension names and program names, which will help you properly use this command. You can probably do this more easily in the GUI, but the command line interface is a perfectly functional alternative.

2. Cipher

Cipher command

Deleting files on a mechanical hard drive doesn’t really delete them at all. Instead, it marks the files as no longer accessible and the space they took up as free. The files remain recoverable until the system overwrites them with new data, which can take some time.

The cipher command, however, wipes a directory by writing random data to it. To wipe your C drive, for example, you’d use the command “cipher /w:c”, which will wipe free space on the drive. The command does not overwrite undeleted data, so you will not wipe out files you need by running this command.

You can use a host of other cipher commands, however, they are generally redundant with BitLocker enabled versions of Windows.

3. Driverquery

Driverquery command

Drivers remain among the most important software installed on a PC. Improperly configured or missing drivers can cause all sorts of trouble, so its good to have access to a list of what’s on your PC. That’s exactly what the “driverquery” command does. You can extend it to “driverquery -v” to obtain more information, including the directory in which the driver is installed.

4. File Compare

File compare command

You can use this command to identify differences in text between two files. It’s particularly useful for writers and programmers trying to find small changes between two versions of a file. Simply type “fc” and then the directory path and file name of the two files you want to compare.

You can also extend the command in several ways. Typing “/b” compares only binary output, “/c” disregards the case of text in the comparison, and “/l” only compares ASCII text.

So, for example, you could use the following:

fc /l "C:\Program Files (x86)\example1.doc" "C:\Program Files (x86)\example2.doc"

The above command compares ASCII text in two word documents.

5. Ipconfig

Ipconfig command

This command relays the IP address that your computer is currently using. However, if you’re behind a router (like most computers today), you’ll instead receive the local network address of the router.

Still, ipconfig is useful because of its extensions. “ipconfig /release” followed by “ipconfig /renew” can force your Windows PC into asking for a new IP address, which is useful if your computer claims one isn’t available. You can also use “ipconfig /flushdns” to refresh your DNS address. These commands are great if the Windows network troubleshooter chokes, which does happen on occasion.

6. Netstat

Netstat command

Entering the command “netstat -an” will provide you with a list of currently open ports and related IP addresses. This command will also tell you what state the port is in – listening, established or closed.

This is a great command for when you’re trying to troubleshoot devices connected to your PC or when you fear a Trojan infected your system and you’re trying to locate a malicious connection.

7. Ping

Ping command

Sometimes, you need to know whether or not packets are making it to a specific networked device. That’s where ping comes in handy.

Typing “ping” followed by an IP address or web domain will send a series of test packets to the specified address. If they arrive and are returned, you know the device is capable of communicating with your PC; if it fails, you know that there’s something blocking communication between the device and your computer. This can help you decide if the root of the issue is an improper configuration or a failure of network hardware.

8. PathPing

PathPing command

This is a more advanced version of ping that’s useful if there are multiple routers between your PC and the device you’re testing. Like ping, you use this command by typing “pathping” followed by the IP address, but unlike ping, pathping also relays some information about the route the test packets take.

9. Tracert

Tracert command

The “tracert” command is similar to pathping. Once again, type “tracert” followed by the IP address or domain you’d like to trace. You’ll receive information about each step in the route between your PC and the target. Unlike pathping, however, tracert also tracks how much time (in milliseconds) each hop between servers or devices takes.

10. Powercfg

Powercfg command

Powercfg is a very powerful command for managing and tracking how your computer uses energy. You can use the command “powercfg hibernate on” and “powercfg hibernate off” to manage hibernation, and you can also use the command “powercfg /a” to view the power-saving states currently available on your PC.

Another useful command is “powercfg /devicequery s1_supported”, which displays a list of devices on your computer that support connected standby. When enabled, you can use these devices to bring your computer out of standby — even remotely. You can enable this by selecting the device in Device Manager, opening its properties, going to the Power Management tab and then checking the Allow this device to wake the computer box.

“Powercfg /lastwake” will show you what device last woke your PC from a sleep state. You can use this command to troubleshoot your PC if it seems to wake from sleep at random.

Powercfg energy command

You can use the “powercfg /energy” command to build a detailed power consumption report for your PC. The report saves to the directory indicated after the command finishes. This report will let you know of any system faults that might increase power consumption, like devices blocking certain sleep modes, or poorly configured to respond to your power management settings.

Windows 8 added “powercfg /batteryreport”, which provides a detailed analysis of battery use, if applicable. Normally output to your Windows user directory, the report provides details about the time and length of charge and discharge cycles, lifetime average battery life, and estimated battery capacity.

11. Shutdown

Shutdown command

Windows 8 introduced the shutdown command that—you guessed it!—shuts down your computer.

This is, of course, redundant with the already easily accessed shutdown button, but what’s not redundant is the “shutdown /r /o” command, which restarts your PC and launches the Advanced Start Options menu, which is where you can access Safe Mode and Windows recovery utilities. This is useful if you want to restart your computer for troubleshooting purposes.

12. Systeminfo

Systeminfo command

This command will give you a detailed configuration overview of your computer. The list covers your operating system and hardware. For example, you can look up the original Windows installation date, the last boot time, your BIOS version, total and available memory, installed hotfixes, network card configurations, and more.

Use “systeminfo /s” followed by the host name of a computer on your local network, to remotely grab the information for that system. This may require additional syntax elements for the domain, user name, and password, like this: “systeminfo /s [host_name] /u [domain]\[user_name] /p [user_password]”

13. System File Checker

System File Checker sfc command

System File Checker is an automatic scan and repair tool that focuses on Windows system files.

You will need to run the command prompt with administrator privileges and enter the command “sfc /scannow”. If SFC finds any corrupt or missing files, it will automatically replace them using cached copies kept by Windows for this purpose alone. The command can require a half-hour to run on older notebooks.

14. Tasklist

Tasklist command

You can use the “tasklist” command to provide a current list of all tasks running on your PC. Though somewhat redundant with Task Manager, the command may sometimes find tasks hidden from view in that utility.

There’s also a wide range of modifiers. “Tasklist -svc” shows services related to each task, use “tasklist -v” to obtain more detail on each task, and “tasklist -m” will locate .dll files associated with active tasks. These commands are useful for advanced troubleshooting.

15. Taskkill

Taskkill command

Tasks that appear in the “tasklist” command will have an executable and process ID (a four- or five-digit number) associated with them. You can force stop a program using “taskkill -im” followed by the executable’s name, or “taskkill -pid” followed by the process ID. Again, this is a bit redundant with Task Manager, but you can use it to kill otherwise unresponsive or hidden programs.

Windows 8 Only: Recovery Image

Virtually all Windows 8/8.1 computers ship from the factory with a recovery image, but the image may include bloatware you’d rather not have re-installed. Once you’ve un-installed the software you can create a new image using the “recimg” command. Entering this command presents a very detailed explanation of how to use it.

You must have administrator privileges to use the “recimg” command, and you can only access the custom recovery image you create via the Windows 8 “refresh” feature.

In Windows 10, system recovery has changed. Windows 10 systems don’t come with a recovery partition, which makes it more important than ever to back up your data.

CMD Commands Recommended by Readers

These are the commands our readers use regularly:

  • nbstat: “For looking up names of computers on your network.” (Vferg)
  • netstat -ano | find “est”: “To get a list of processes with established CP connections.” (Eric)
  • tasklist | find “[process id]”: “To get the name of the executable associated with the particular process id that I’m interested in.” (Eric)
  • cacls: This command is “most handy to manually access hidden files and folder. (A41202813)
  • net use: “To map drives of networked CNC machines.” (Jimbo)
  • chkdsk /f C: “Checks your C: partition hard disk for errors and fixes bad sectors.” (Kai M)
  • Schtasks: To schedule tasks. (Teddy)

Command and Conquer Your Windows PC

This article can only give you a taste of what’s hidden within the Windows command line. When including all variables, there are literally hundreds of commands. Download Microsoft’s command line reference guide (in Edge or Internet Explorer) for advanced support and troubleshooting.

With Windows 10, Microsoft has moved from the command prompt to PowerShell. While you can still access the Windows command line, it may be time to switch. Note that you can use command line commands in the Windows PowerShell.

Read the full article: 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know