How to reset the domain admin password on a domain controller running server 2008

How to reset the domain admin password on a domain controller running server 2008

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Jun 3

How to reset the domain admin password on a domain controller running server 2008

By Michael C on - June 3, 2012

There are many password reset tools out there, that will allow you to reset local passwords, but I haven’t come across one before, that will let you reset the password of a domain admin account on windows server 2008.In this tutorial I will walk you through how to reset the domain administrator password on server 2008 Datacentre Edition.

This should work for any other version of server 2008, and possibly other versions of windows, which I haven’t tested. All you will need is the original server 2008 install media.

This guide is based around a virtual machine running on VMware, but the process will still work whether it is physical or on another virtual platform. The VMware steps are highlighted in red so just miss these steps out if it doesn’t apply to your scenario.

1. Set the boot order to boot from installation media, whether this is a physical or virtual drive.


  1. 2. If you want to be extra cautious you could setup a snapshot, so that the changes can be reversed back to that point in time if something goes wrong.

  2. 3. Set language preferences and click on ‘Next’ .
  4. 4. Choose  ‘Repair your computer’.
  5. 5. Select the existing installation, if no installation is found supply drivers now.

  6. 6. If you are running on VMware and are using the paravirtual SCSI controller. Then its highly likely that no instances will be found in the following dialog box .
          1. 7. If an instance is found, select it and click on ‘Next’ and move onto step 8. If no instances are found then please follow the steps below for a workaround.

            I. Shut down the virtual machine.
            II.Change the controller type from paravirutal to an alternate type, in my example  I chose LSI Logic Parallel. Then click on ‘OK’ twice. Don’t worry you won’t loose any data.
            II. Power machine back on and boot from installation media, choosing ‘repair your computer’, you should nowsee an instance. Choose instance and click on ‘Next’.




NOTE: PAY attention to the drive letter, it may not be listed as drive C: in this example its drive letter D: which is fine.


8. Click on ‘Command Prompt’


  1. 9. Type in the following, substituting the drive letter for the drive letter shown in the previous screenshot.
  3. 10. Restart server and let in boot into windows normally. If prompted choose to ‘Start Windows Normally’.
  5. 11.  If running on VMware Power server off. Change SCSI controller type back to Paravirtual, failure to do so will more than likely result in a BSOD. To change back edit the properties of the VM again, click on controller type> Change Type>Choose paravirtual>Click OK>OK.
  7. 12. Press CTRL+ALT+DEL

  8. 13. Then press the windows key + U to launch what would normally be the ease of access centre, in this case it will launch the command prompt.
  9. 14. Then type in the following, in this example the password was set to Password1 but can be substituted. :
  10. 15. Now you should be able to log in with the domain administrator account and password just set, making sure when you login you have the logon set as domainnameusername.

    16. The last thing to do is to rename/place the files back.

    NOTE This has to be done in the windows repair screen as these are trusted files.

  11. 17. Restart server and boot from installation media, choosing to ‘Repair your computer’.
  12. 18. If this is a VMWare server, you need to power off the server and change the controller type back to LSI Parellel as shown earlier. Then power on server, boot from media and choose to Repair your computer.

  13. 19. Click on the ‘command prompt ‘option and type the following into the box:


 20. If this is a VMware machine, power off server and change controller type back to paravirtual, disconnect media and boot into windows normally. If prompted choose to ‘start windows normally’.


21. Restart server and choose start windows normally if prompted. Log on using the password you just specified in the earlier steps.


  1. REMEMBER: If you placed a snapshot on your virtual machine don’t forget to remove it!!!

That completes the steps needed to reset a password for a domain administrator account, there a quite a few steps, but only because I’ve included step by step instructions for a server running on a VMware platform.


I hope you found this useful, please keep checking back on our blogs for other tutorials and handy tips.


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