Using Trinity Rescue Kit To Reset A Forgotten Windows Password

Trinity Rescue Kit is a free live Linux distribution to provide recovery and repair operations on Windows computers.

It includes many advanced features (e.g. offline antivirus scans with 5 different products, bootsector repair, cloning Windows) and it has a relatively simple menu interface.

However, the key feature (and probably the most used) is its ability to reset a lost Windows logon password – if you forget the Windows logon password (or buy a used computer with an unknown password) you can’t log into Windows.

Warning: resetting a forgotten Windows password permanently removes access to any encrypted email messages or encrypted files for that account (most people won’t have encrypted files but do check first). Any saved Google Chrome website login passwords stored by that user will also be lost.

I’ve reviewed before how to fix a forgotten Windows password and would still advise following Method 1 or 2 in that article if possible – they are much easier. Method 3 of that article describes using the ‘Offline NT Password & Registry Editor’ utility to reset your user account (or hidden Administrator) password to blank – so you can log into Windows without a password.

That program has always worked well for me but I recently encountered a PC where it was unable to reset the password so needed a good alternative – step forward Trinity Rescue Kit…

Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) uses a different tool (WinPass) to reset the password but otherwise works in much the same way as the Offline NT Password utility – it enables you to reset your user account (or hidden Administrator) password to blank so you can log into Windows.

TRK can be downloaded from the developer here – the default download is a bootable CD image i.e. an ISO file.

Once downloaded you need to burn the ISO file to CD and then boot from the CD – I strongly advise reading the developer’s walkthrough guide to see how to use the utility.

Tip: if you don’t know how to burn an ISO file to CD you could download TRK in ‘executable, self-burning from Windows only format’ here (half way down page) – you still need a CD/DVD burner to burn the CD.

After booting from the TRK CD, follow the guide to reset the Windows password.

Conclusion

TRK does a good job at resetting a lost Windows password – it worked fine on the troublesome user account password that the Offline NT Password utility was unable to reset. TRK is quite easy to use if you follow the guides exactly and know what you’re doing…

However, like other such utilities, it is ideal for more advanced users (e.g. those who have used the Offline NT Password utility before) as it includes other powerful features that could seriously damage Windows if misused. If you’re at all unsure, get some tech help to do it.

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