Windows 8 brings quite a few password-related changes. It uses Microsoft accounts by default, which means that your log in password is the same as the password for your Microsoft account online. You can reset this password online if you ever forget it. Windows 8 also allows you to create picture passwords, an ideal feature for touchscreen tablets.
The new version of Windows also has many of the features built into previous versions of Windows, such as the hidden ability to log on automatically. Features such as picture passwords can be used by any type of user account, but you’ll have to reset your Windows password the old-fashioned way if you’re using a local user account and forget its password.
Automatically Log Into Windows
Passwords are an important security feature, but you may not want to bother with them. If you have a desktop computer in a secure location, you can choose to skip the password prompt entirely and have Windows log in automatically.
To do so, press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog. Type netplwiz into the dialog box and press Enter.
Uncheck the “Users must enter a username and password to use this computer” checkbox and click OK.
You’ll be asked to enter your password. Windows will remember this password and use it to sign you in automatically.
Change Your Password
To change your password, open the Settings charm (press Windows Key + I to quickly open the Settings charm) and select Change PC settings.
Select the Users category and click the Change your password button. You’ll be asked to provide your current password and a new password.
Note that you can’t change a Microsoft account’s password from the desktop version of the Control Panel. You’ll just see a link taking you to the PC settings application. IF you’re using a local user account instead of a Microsoft account, you can change the password from the Control Panel normally.
Reset a Microsoft Account Password
If you’re using a Microsoft Account instead of a local user account, you can reset your password online if you forget it. To do so, visit the Reset Your Password page on Microsoft’s website. Enter your account’s email address and enter the CAPTCHA code to confirm you’re a human being, not a robot.
There are a number of ways to receive a reset link, including via email to the address associated with your account, a code sent via SMS message to a phone you’ve associated with your account, and a PC you’ve trusted to access your Microsoft account.
Reset a Local Account Password
If you’re using a local user account, you’ll have to use the traditional methods to gain access if you forget your password.
Like Windows 7, Windows 8 includes a tool that allows you to create a password reset disk. If you create a password reset disk ahead of time, you can use it in the future if you ever forget your password. To open the tool, press the Windows key to access the Start screen, type password reset disk, and tap the Settings category. Open the Create a password reset disk tool.
If you didn’t create a password reset disk ahead of time, you’ll have to use a tool like Ophcrack to crack your WIndows password or a password-reset tool like the Offline NT Password Disk.
Of course, you can always reinstall Windows 8 and create a new local user account to regain access to your computer.
Create a Picture Password
Windows 8 also allows you to log in with a picture password. Like a lot of things on Windows 8, this feature is designed for a touch screen, It’s easier to log into a touch-based Windows system with a few gestures on a picture instead of tapping away on a virtual keyboard. However, bear in mind that these aren’t as secure as real passwords. It’s often possible to see where you’ve touched a touch screen by the residue your fingers leave behind.
Picture passwords don’t replace your current password. They’re an alternative method you can use to log in. You’ll still be able to log in with your current password.
To create a picture password, click or tap the Create a picture password button in the Users section of the PC settings application. (You can also choose to create a PIN from here. The PIN will allow you to unlock a tablet by tapping a few numbers instead of entering a password, but it’s obviously less secure than a proper password that can incorporate more than just numbers.)
You’ll have to enter your current password before creating a picture password. After you do, you’ll be able to choose your own picture.
The picture password will incorporate a number of circles, straight lines, and taps at locations you choose on the picture. Windows remembers the size, position, and direction of the gestures. For example, a simple picture password could be a family photo where you tap people’s faces in a certain order. However, that would be rather obvious. Try to create a less obvious one incorporating other elements, such as circles or lines.
For more information about Windows 8, download our free guide to Windows 8.
Do you have any other password-related tips for Windows 8? Leave a comment and share them!