Category Archives: Systems Engineering

Change Windows XP user password via command line

I found myself needing to change the administrator’s password on my Windows XP machine today. I’ve used that account exactly twice; once to setup the machine and then to create the user account that I use every day. So no, I don’t remember the absurdly complex password I came up with 3 years ago when I built this machine.

Luckily, I’ve ignored my own advice and have granted admin privileges to my user account. Only users with admin privileges can change other users’ passwords. This method will also work to change your own password even if you don’t have admin privileges.

C:\net user administrator *
Type a password for the user: asifiwouldtellyou
Retype the password to confirm: asifiwouldtellyou
The command completed successfully.

You can also change it without being prompted (useful in scripts):

C:\net user administrator thenewpasswordgoeshere
The command completed successfully.

Never say “It could be worse…” because sometimes it is.

A few weeks back I received a letter from our local electric utility informing me of scheduled overnight outages due to service work in my neighborhood.  The day came, and past, without the announced outage.  This is not unusual, it has happened before so I didn’t think much of it.

A few days later I received an early morning call that our office email and Internet access were down.  I had not received any NAGIOS alerts overnight but I thought that the utility had finally gotten around to doing the scheduled work and that the power had failed overnight and exhausted the UPSes.

I walked the caller through the UPS restart process and found that they were already running fine.  However, all the equipment in our mail server rack was powered off.  This includes our firewall (which explains the Internet outage ) as well as the NAGIOS monitoring machine (which explains why I did not receive any alerts) and the mail server.  Hmm…  the plot thickens.

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