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How To Reset Windows Server 2012 / 2016 Local Administrator Password

How To Reset Windows Server 2012 / 2016 Local Administrator Password

We’ve all been there for one reason or another.  Being faced with a server where no-one knows the local administrator password.

If you have access to the console, can pop the Windows Server DVD into the sever or VM via ISO, then there’s actually a really simple way to sort it – although it does mean taking the server offline.

POP the DVD into the drive.

Restart the server.

Boot from the Windows Server 2016 DVD.


From the Windows Setup screen, click Next->Repair your computer –> Troubleshoot –> Command Prompt.


To change the your hard drive.

cd \windows\system32

To move into the system32 folder.

ren utilman.exe utilman.exe.old

This moves the pre-login accessibility option chooser application out of the way.

copy cmd.exe utilman.exe

This then replaces the accessibility application with the command prompt which we can then call without having to login.  This will then give us admin privileges.

Reboot your server.

At the login screen. press “Windows + U” which would normally invoke the accessibility application but now launches the command prompt.

net user administrator mynewpassword

This resets the password for the user administrator where mynewpassword is of course your desired password.

Close the command prompt and then log in normally with your new administrator password.

Launch the command Prompt from the start menu

cd \windows\system32

To move into the system32 folder.

copy utilman.exe.old utilman.exe

This puts the original accessibility application back in place.

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