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  • USB Flash drive which will be formatted
  • Target computer needs internet connection


  1. Create a bootable Ubuntu USB
    1. Download the Ubuntu 16.10 64bit Desktop image from ESnet
    2. Create bootable media using the ISO
      1. Windows
      2. MacOS
  2. Boot into Ubuntu from the USB device
    1. Use the Startup Manager (F12 on startup)
    2. Select "Try Ubuntu” to go to the Live desktop environment
  3. Enable repository containing chntpw
    1. Press the OS key to bring up the application search
    2. Type “software”
    3. Select “Software & Updates”
    4. Enable the “universe” repository (labeled “Community-maintained free and open-source software” at the time of this writing)
    5. Click Close, then click Reload
  4. Navigate to the SAM file that needs to be reset
    1. Select the file explorer from the dock (File cabinet icon)
    2. Select “Other Locations” from the navigation panel
    3. Select “Windows”
    4. Navigate to Windows\System32\config
  5. Install and run chntpw package
    1. Right click on the white space of the File Explorer window
    2. Select “Open in Terminal” (this will open a Terminal window that is already cd’ed into the target directory)
    3. Remount the filesystem in Read-Write mode (to allow changes to SAMS file)
      1. Use the command “df” to identify which device contains the Windows partition (e.g. /dev/sda2 /media/ubuntu/Windows)
      2. Remount the filesystem by running “sudo mount -o remount,rw (device)” replacing (device) with the device obtained from the previous step (e.g. /dev/sda2)
        1. The final command might look like “sudo mount -o remount,rw /dev/sda2”
    4. Install chntpw by typing “sudo apt-get install chntpw”
    5. Run chntpw by typing “chntpw -u (username) SAM”
      1. If you do not specify "-u (username)" it will default to the Administrator user
      2. To bring up the full documentation for the software run the command "man chntpw"
  6. Follow the text-based menu to achieve the desired result


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