How to create and use a password reset disk for a computer in a domain in Windows XP

What is a Password Recovery Disk?

To protect user accounts at time when user forgets his login password every local user should make a password reset disk and keep it in somewhere safe. After creating a password reset disk, if the user forgets his or her password it can be reset using the password reset disk and the user would be able to access the local user account again. The “Forgotten Password” Wizard helps you in creating a password reset disk which you can use to recover your user account and personalized computer settings. But what if the computer was connected to a domain and the user forgets the password?
The steps given below in this article will help you create and use a password reset disk for a computer that is a member of a domain. You can use a password reset disk to gain access to your Microsoft Windows XP Professional-based computer if you don’t remember your password.

Creating the Password Recovery Disk
Before you could use a password recovery disk you need to create it. To create the disk first press CTRL+ALT+DELETE for opening the Windows Security dialog box and then click on Change Password, and The Change Password dialog box will show up. In the  “Log on to” box click on the local computer and then click on Backup. This will start the Forgotten Password Wizard. On the first screen of this wizard click next and insert a blank and formatted floppy disk in the floppy drive and then click on Next. Type your password in the Current user account password box and on clicking next the disk will be created.

Using the Password Recovery disk
For logging on to your local user account on the computer which is also a member of any domain, first press CTRL+ALT+DELETE for “Log On To” window to show up and then type any incorrect password. This will give you an option to use the password recovery disk. Put the password recovery disk in the floppy drive and click on next. Now type and confirm the new password when prompted. Click on next to finish the wizard and this way you would be able to login to your local account on a computer which is connected to a domain. Once this is done you can create another password recovery disk for saving your new password in case of future failures. Steps for creating the disk will remain the same as given above.

Password Recovery disks are really helpful in case of forgetting the password but their are several disadvantages. The password recovery disk can only be used on the computer on which it was created and not on any other computer even if you use same password everywhere. The disk can only restore passwords for local user accounts and not the ones which are created and managed by a domain controller. This disk can only be used for resetting the password and cannot tell what your previous password was. Also make sure that this kept at some safe place otherwise somebody can easily use it to reset your password and access the information on your computer.

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