Windows Server

Reset Windows Server Admin password

How to reset Windows Server Admin password

Summary:           If we forgot the domain admin password, and no other administrator exists in this Windows domain, you can use the procedure below to reset the password. Note that the screenshots are for Windows Server 2012 R2 with Update.


With this password reset method, we have to boot from a second Windows installation. Then we have to replace utilman.exe (the Utility Manager with ease-of-use functions such as the Narrator and Magnifier) on a domain controller with the command prompt (cmd.exe). Next, we’ll boot up the machine where you forgot the password, click the Utility Manager icon on the logon screen to launch a command prompt, and then reset the password. Here is the step-by-step guide:

  • Boot from a Windows Server 2012 R2 DVD (or ISO file in a virtual environment) and click Next when Windows Setup loads.

Windows Setup

  • Press SHIFT + F10 to open a command prompt.

Open command prompt in Windows Setup

  • .      At the command prompt, enter:


move d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe.bak

Note: On Windows Server 2008 R2, we will most likely have to replace the drive letter d: with c: If you are unsure about the drive letter, search for the drive that contains the Windows folder. The driver letter for the instance of Windows PE that started Windows Setup is x:

copy d:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

Copy cmd.exe

  • Remove the boot media from the server and tell Windows PE to reboot:

wpeutil reboot

  • Once your domain controller is running again, click the Utility Manager icon.

Utility Manager icon

  •     At the command prompt that (I hope) opened, reset the domain admin password with this command, Type your password and hit enter again retype the same. We’ll get successful message

net user administrator *
Reset domain admin password

  • Mainly for security reasons, I highly recommend restoring the original utilman.exe. For this, you have to again boot Windows Server set-up, follow steps 1-2, and then enter:

move /y d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe.bak d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

(Replace the drive letter if Windows isn’t installed on the d:)

Restore utilman.exe

  •        After we removed the boot media , we can reboot the server again with

wpeutil reboot

Password reset complete

Have a fun:)