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Resetting user passwords

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Resetting user passwords

Users occasionally forget their passwords to their local user accounts. You can manually reset a user’s password. However, by doing so, the following information is lost:

  • E-mail that is encrypted with the user's public key

  • Internet passwords that are saved on the computer

  • Files that the user has encrypted

To prevent information loss when you reset a local user account password, you can create and use a password reset disk.

Some of the most common tasks when administering local user accounts are resetting a local user account password, resetting a domain user account password, and creating a password reset disk. You can also reset a user password from the Dsmod. For more information about other tasks for using passwords, see Password How To....

To reset a local user account password

  1. Open Computer Management.

  2. In the console tree, double-click Local Users and Groups.

    Where?

    • Computer Management (Local)/System Tools/Local Users and Groups

  3. In the console tree, click Users.

  4. In the details pane, right-click the user name, and then click Set Password.

  5. Read the warning message, and then, if you want to continue, click Proceed.

  6. In New password and in Confirm password, type a new password, and then click OK.

Notes

  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • To open Computer Management, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.

To reset a domain user account password

  1. Open Active Directory Users and Computers.

  2. In the console tree, click Users.

    Where?

    • Active Directory Users and Computers/Domain name/Users

  3. In the details pane, right-click the user name, and then click Reset Password.

  4. Type a new password in New Password and in Confirm New Password, and then click OK.

Notes

  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Domain Admins group or the Enterprise Admins group in Active Directory, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure. For more information, see Default local groups, Default groups, and Using Run as.

  • To open Active Directory Users and Computers, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Active Directory Users and Computers.

  • If you are on a server or workstation joined to the domain, you can open Active Directory Users and Computers if you click Start, click Run, type mmc, and then click OK. On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in, click Add, double-click Active Directory Users and Computers, click Close, and then click OK.

To create a password reset disk

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL, and then click Change Password.

  2. In User name, type the user name of the account that you want to create a password reset disk for.

  3. In Log on to, click your LocalComputerName.

  4. Click Backup.

  5. Follow the steps in the Forgotten Password Wizard until the procedure is complete. Store the password reset disk in a safe and secure place.

Notes

  • Password reset disks can only be used for local computer accounts, not for domain accounts.

  • You cannot change your password and create a password reset disk at the same time. If you type a new password in New Password and in Confirm New Password before you click Backup, the new password information is not saved. When the wizard prompts you for your current user account password, you must type the old password. You can change your password after you create the password reset disk.

  • You can change your password any time after you create a password reset disk. You do not have to create a new password reset disk if you change your password or if the password is reset manually.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

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