There Is No Security If You Have Physical Access: How To Reset the Domain Administrator Password In Windows Server 2012 R2

It’s hard to believe, but the good old domain administrator reset password trick from Windows Server 2003 / 2008 still works in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Step-by-Step guide

To reset the Domain Administrator password in Windows Server 2012 R2 do the following:

  • Shutdown the domain controller.
  • Boot on the Windows Server 2012 R2 installation media or any other WinPE boot media.
  • Open a command prompt; Shift + F10 if using the installation media.
  • Rename the C:WindowsSystem32utilman.exe file to utilman.bak.
  • Copy the C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe to utilman.exe.
  • Start the domain controller again.
  • At the login screen, press Windows + U or click the “Easy of Access” button.
  • Type in: Net User Administrator newpass123!
  • Exit the command prompt, and login with the new password.


Note:  If using Windows Server Technical Preview Build 9841 you have to replace sethc.exe instead, and launch it via Ease of Access / High Contrast.


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