Windows Vista/7 – Regain Lost Admin Access

Recently someone I knew decided to change their password, and later forgot it.  This account was the only Administrator account on the system.   And while their data was just fine they had no access to their desktop.  So they called upon ‘jermsmit’ to assist them in getting logged onto their system once again.   Here I will be providing the steps I took to get admin account to their system.

What you do with this information is for you to decide.

What is required?

  1. USB Stick – Loaded with a live distribution of Linux, or even a live Linux CD will work just fine
  2. A little bit of Linux and Windows cli knowledge (The live CD may also have a desktop UI, I still personally prefer using the cli for these operations)
  3. How to create a windows user account and elevate permissions via the windows command prompt

Now for the steps:

Boot the computer using the Live USB stick or Live CD
Once booted into the system; proceed to mount the windows file system
Once mounted browse to Windows System32

Here will we be renaming the file named ‘Utilman.exe’ to something like ‘Utilman.exe.backup’ I do not suggest deleting this, you will need it later to restore the system back to its normal behavior

Once the ‘Utilman.exe’ has been renamed, make a copy of ‘cmd.exe’ and name it ‘Utilman.exe’.
At this point you can reboot into Windows as you would do normally.

-After the reboot-

Windows will start up to the normal log-on screen.  At this point you will press the ‘Windows key’ and ‘U’
A command prompt window will open and be running at system level access (you have windows root)
Here you will be able to create a new account and give it administrator rights on the system:

How-To:  add account via the command prompt:

net user jermsmit password /add
net localgroup administrators jermsmit /add

After you have created your new logon account and granted it administrator rights, reboot and logon, you now are the administrator and can reset your other windows account password.

KMS Client Setup Keys

By default, the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems use KMS for activation. In volume installations, the setup key is installed by default, which makes the system a KMS client. If you are converting a computer from a KMS host, MAK, or retail edition of Windows to a KMS client, install the applicable setup key (GVLK) from Table below using slmgr /ipk <setup key>.


Platform Operating system edition Product key
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
Client Windows 7 Professional FJ82H-XT6CR-J8D7P-XQJJ2-GPDD4
Client Windows 7 Professional N MRPKT-YTG23-K7D7T-X2JMM-QY7MG
Client Windows 7 Professional E W82YF-2Q76Y-63HXB-FGJG9-GF7QX
Client Windows 7 Enterprise 33PXH-7Y6KF-2VJC9-XBBR8-HVTHH
Client Windows 7 Enterprise N YDRBP-3D83W-TY26F-D46B2-XCKRJ
Client Windows 7 Enterprise E C29WB-22CC8-VJ326-GHFJW-H9DH4
Server Windows Server 2008 R2 Web 6TPJF-RBVHG-WBW2R-86QPH-6RTM4
Server Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC edition TT8MH-CG224-D3D7Q-498W2-9QCTX
Server Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard YC6KT-GKW9T-YTKYR-T4X34-R7VHC
Server Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise 489J6-VHDMP-X63PK-3K798-CPX3Y
Server Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter 74YFP-3QFB3-KQT8W-PMXWJ-7M648
Server Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems GT63C-RJFQ3-4GMB6-BRFB9-CB83V
Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008
Client Windows Vista Business YFKBB-PQJJV-G996G-VWGXY-2V3X8
Client Windows Vista Business N HMBQG-8H2RH-C77VX-27R82-VMQBT
Client Windows Vista Enterprise VKK3X-68KWM-X2YGT-QR4M6-4BWMV
Client Windows Vista Enterprise N VTC42-BM838-43QHV-84HX6-XJXKV
Server Windows Web Server 2008 WYR28-R7TFJ-3X2YQ-YCY4H-M249D
Server Windows Server 2008 Standard TM24T-X9RMF-VWXK6-X8JC9-BFGM2
Server Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V W7VD6-7JFBR-RX26B-YKQ3Y-6FFFJ
Server Windows Server 2008 Enterprise YQGMW-MPWTJ-34KDK-48M3W-X4Q6V
Server Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V 39BXF-X8Q23-P2WWT-38T2F-G3FPG
Server Windows Server 2008 HPC RCTX3-KWVHP-BR6TB-RB6DM-6X7HP
Server Windows Server 2008 Datacenter 7M67G-PC374-GR742-YH8V4-TCBY3
Server Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V 22XQ2-VRXRG-P8D42-K34TD-G3QQC
Server Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems 4DWFP-JF3DJ-B7DTH-78FJB-PDRHK


All of the above info is available and can be openly found in the Microsoft | TechNet Library

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No more ‘thumbs.db’ for me

I fist must state that these steps I am about to provide are to be used by those of us whom are neurotic about files stored on the file system.  While there are some good security reasons one may want to do this; I do what I am going to describe because I feel they clutter up my drive and dislike seeing or even knowing they are there.

My default windows (Win7 in my case) generation a file called thumbs.db in the folder that I am working in. The file thumbs.db is a thumbnail cache, used to store a small (thumbnail) image for Windows Explorer thumbnail view.  The idea is to speed up the display of images as the smaller image does not need to be recalculated (regenerated) every time the use views the contents of a folder.

So what do I do about it?  At first I use to delete them; that only makes me happy for that moment, as they come back like some kid with acne who pops one pimple to later show up again.

By using the Local Group Policy Editor I have found a better way to keep these guys /or gals from coming back.  You can start the Local Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in the search or run text box.

The Editor will open to the top-level Local Computer Policy, so you will have to expand the User Configuration item in the left-side pane of the Editor window.  Drill down through Administrative Templates, then Windows Components, and click on the Windows Explorer item.  Near the top of the list in the right-hand pane of the Editor window you will find the setting “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”

To edit this policy setting, either double-click on the title of the policy or click the link titled “Edit Policy Setting” to the left of the setting list after you select the policy.  Check the “Enabled” button and click OK

Close the Local Group Policy Editor.  You may want to unhide all hidden file sand system files and do a search for the files and delete them.  And now I can be happy knowing they are gone.

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UAC from Windows 7 Command Line

UAC (User Account Control) is the most obnoxious, nagging  windows that will drive you crazy and frustrate you while using Windows 7 or Vista.

One way to stop being annoyed is to disable it.  However doing so will make your computer less secure.  I in no way recommend anyone disable UAC, but I will provide a quick way to disable and enable via the command line.

Disable UAC

C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /k %windir%System32reg.exe ADD HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Enable UAC

C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /k %windir%System32reg.exe ADD HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesSystem /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Both require a reboot to take effect.

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