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Using HiRens to Recover Files
If you have not yet, download HiRens from http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/. Save the ISO file and then burn it to a CD. If you do not have or like your current CD burning software, try ISO Recorder from Alex Feinman.
Boot the computer you are working on to the HiRens CD. You may need to find the boot menu or change the BIOS to allow booting from CDs. When the computer boots, you may need to hit a key to boot from CD. Do so.
Click on any image to bring it to full size.
From the Boot menu, choose Mini Windows XP. Yes, you want Mini Windows XP even if you are working on a Windows 7 or better computer. It will take a minute or so, but you will get a screen like this:
Welcome to HiRens. Click on the HBCD Menu icon. It has the little wrench on it. The menu doesn't look like much. Click on Programs and then Passwords and Keys and then, Windows Login. Choose NTPWEdit. Notice the path to the SAM file. Click on reopen. If you do not see a list of user names, use the file explorer to find the right drive letter for the hard drive of the computer you are working on. It is possible that HiRens has given a different drive letter to your hard drive than you were expecting. If so, change just the drive letter in the path to the SAM file and reopen again.
You should see a list of the users on the computer.
Click on the user name you want to change the password on. Enter a new password and save.
No Really, it is that simple.
Now reboot (HiRens has a Reboot and Eject option built in for you) and try out your new password.