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Locked out? Easy keys in 5 steps.

September 3, 2014

Ever locked yourself out of your machine? had trust relationship issues or just simply trying to fix something for a friend?


There are many various takes on how to get into a machine in this situation but below I have listed, in my opinion, the easiest method and the explanation as to what is going on.


1. – First you will need a repair disc, Password reset disc/image, or any live and bootable version of…well anything really, I prefer Linux mint but I like the OS.


2. – Next you will need to boot said OS and navigate to the local C:\WINDOWS\System32 and locate “Utilman.exe” and re-name it, following this in the same folder find “cmd.exe” and rename that to “Utilman.exe”, with respects of your boot disc you will need to load up “additional tools and find the command prompt, in here you input the command:

  •  C:\
  •  cd windows\system32
  •  ren utilman.exe utilman.exe.bak
  •  copy cmd.exe utilman.exe


3. – after renaming this you must reboot the machine and remove your boot media, this will have changed the function of the “ease of access” centre in the bottom left when you see a log in screen. the next step is to simply select this and you will see a command prompt open up. the ease of access centre (usually gives you the options for the on screen keyboard, magnifier etc) points to Utilman.exe by renaming cmd.exe we have replaced it.

4. – in the command prompt put in these commands (in the exercise I have made the interchangeable information like usernames, passwords etc italics .)

  • net user NewGuy abc123 /add
  • net localgroup Administrators NewGuy /add

5. – The first command has created a user, username: Newguy with the password of abc123, the second has added this to the local administrators group. this should allow you access into the machine after one reboot however for security purposes you will want to rename “Utilman.exe” BACK to “cmd.exe” and whatever you changed it to back to “Utilman.exe”


I hope that this has helped you get into any pesky lock outs in a quick and timely fashion,

Sam Cave is a Systems Engineer, avid gamer, open source enthusiast,