Reset the Domain Admin password in Windows Server 2012 R2

I was surprised to see that the good old domain administrator reset password trick from Windows Server 2008 still works in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Thanks to Martijn Brant for reminding me of this.

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. Thanks Mr. Diagg for this tip!

Step-by-Step guide

To reset the Domain Admin password in Windows Server 2012 R2 you do the following.

  1. Shutdown the domain controller (VM most likely).
  2. Boot on the Windows Server 2012 R2 installation media or any other WinPE boot media.
  3. Open a command prompt; Shift + F10 if using the installation media.
  4. Rename the C:\Windows\System32\utilman.exe file to utilman.bak.
  5. Copy the C:Windows\System32\cmd.exe to utilman.exe.
  6. Start the domain controller again.
  7. At the login screen, press Windows + U or click the "Easy of Access" button.
  8. Type in: net user administrator newpass123!
  9. Exit the command prompt, and login with the new password.

For Windows Server Technical Preview:


/ Johan

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Johan Arwidmark

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9 years ago

Did this within days of the release of 2012R2 as always set backdoor on new OS ….. just in case… the older you get the more you forget…