Problem: Lost ALL admin account passwords for my home domain controller (changed the scheme I used for passwords, went away for a couple of weeks, and came back with no clue what I had done
Old age does have its downsides
Configuration: Windows 2003 Standard Server R2 - patched through September - in use as small domain controller. It also serves as internal DNS server (AD integrated) and DNS forwarder. No special tweaks. Very little third party software installed (Acrobat 7.0.x is all I recall). No EFS in use. This is a newly created domain and is still mostly at default settings (NOT 2003 native mode, for example).
What I've tried: Created Offline NT Password & Registry Editor CD. This worked fine on my XP SP2 box (forgot my non-admin password as well) to create a blank Local Administrator password. However, on the 2003 R2 box, the changes do not "stick." All indications are that the password has been unlocked and changed, but upon reboot the Administrator account is still inaccessible. I've tried both changing to a blank password and to passwords that meet the domain complexity requirements - no go. I've tried rebooting into Safe mode, as well as following the instructions in the article on Change Domain Admin Password in Windows Server 2003 AD." No joy.
NOTE: This article seems to have disappeared. The link no longer appears in either the Forum note or in Google.
1. Is anyone aware of these techniques not working on 2003 R2? I seem to recall that there have been some early-in-Windows-startup changes in Windows 2003 handling of passwords (starting with SP1?) but can't seem to find anything definitive on it.
2. Has anyone successfully changed a 2003 R2 Domain Administrator password with a tool other than Peter Nordahl's?
3. Has anyone tried to execute the various registry hacks enumerated in the article above using the Registry editor portion of the tool?
4. Does anyone have any other ideas before I go through the pain of recreating the entire domain from scratch? I suspect that password crackers will not be terribly useful, as the passwords tend to be 15-20 characters long and include special characters and spaces.
Thanks in advance!