Lost Your Windows Administrator Password? Here’s How to Fix It

Ben Stegner Updated 10-12-2019

If you’ve forgotten your admin password in Windows, you won’t have much control. Not having access to an admin account means you can’t uninstall software, make system changes, and do other administrative tasks on your own computer.


But don’t despair—we’re here to help you. We’ll explain the Windows default admin account situation in various Windows versions and show you how to reset your admin password.

History of the Windows Administrator Account

Windows XP Login Screen

Your first instinct when you forget your own account password might be to look for the default Windows admin password. However, in Windows Vista and later, there actually is no accessible system-wide Administrator account by default. This is a security measure to protect your computer.

Windows XP had an additional Administrator account that sat alongside your usual accounts. The problem was that most people left the password for this account blank, meaning that anyone with access to a computer and a little know-how could log into a machine with full administrator permissions.

This was even more of an issue if you used the Administrator account all the time, as any malware had free reign to do whatever it wanted.


Modern-Day Admin Accounts

Starting in Windows Vista, Microsoft disabled the built-in Admin account by default. Instead, it featured User Account Control, a feature still around in Windows 10 today. This allows you to temporarily grant admin permissions while using any account, as long as you have an admin’s password.

Thus, there’s no Windows default administrator password you can dig up for any modern versions of Windows. While you can enable the built-in Administrator account Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Starting with Windows Vista, the built-in Windows Administrator account is disabled by default. You can enable it, but do so at your own risk! We show you how. Read More again, we recommend that you avoid doing so. That account runs with admin permissions all the time, and never asks for confirmation for sensitive actions. This makes it a bigger security risk, where malware can more easily execute.

Besides, you need admin permissions to enable the default Administrator account, meaning that it’s not a solution if you forgot your own admin password. Instead, let’s look at how to reset an admin password in Windows 10, 8, and 7.

Forgot Admin Password in Windows 10

Microsoft Recover Account


In Windows 10, you have two options for your user account. You can either sign in with a Microsoft account, or use an old-school local account that exists only on your PC.

If you use a Microsoft account, it’s easy to reset your password. Head to Microsoft’s account recovery page and walk through the steps to get back into your account. This is easiest if you’re set up the proper recovery methods, such as a backup email address and phone number.

Those who use a local account will have a harder time resetting their password. In Windows 10 version 1803 and later, you can add security questions to your local account to help you get back in if needed (see Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options). But if you haven’t set these up, you’ll have to go through a somewhat tedious workaround process.

You’ll find everything you need to know about this in our guide to resetting your lost Windows 10 password How to Reset Your Lost Windows 10 Password You forgot your Windows 10 login password? Don't despair! We'll show you how to reset your password and recover your account. Read More .


Forgot Administrator Password in Windows 8

The situation with Windows 8.1 is very similar to Windows 10. Windows 8 was the first OS version to support signing in with a Microsoft account. If you sign in with your Microsoft account and have forgotten that password, you can recover it using the Microsoft password reset page as above.

Users with local accounts will need to pursue the workaround method linked above to reset their password. Windows 8.1 does not have support for security questions, so this isn’t an option for resetting a local account password. It will take a bit of time, but it’s your best bet assuming you don’t want to reset your entire system.

Reset Admin Password in Windows 7

As you might expect, Windows 7 offers the least amount of options for resetting a lost password. Because there’s no support for Microsoft accounts, you’re stuck resetting your local account manually.

In addition to the main method (replacing the Ease of Access shortcut) described in the earlier guide, you might pursue some other ways to reset your forgotten admin password 3 Ways to Reset a Forgotten Windows Administrator Password Forgetting your computer password is scary, but you still have options. Here are three easy methods to reset your Windows administrator password and get back into your computer. Read More .


Other Methods to Reset Windows Passwords

We’ve looked at the best solutions to reset a forgotten admin password in each current version of Windows. However, there are some other methods you should know about.

Use a Password Reset Disk

Windows Password Reset Disk

Every Windows version supports the creation of password reset disks. These allow you to set up a flash drive to act as a backup key to unlock your account. Because you need to set them up before you get locked out, we didn’t mention them above.

However, once you’ve recovered your account, it’s a good idea to make a password reset disk so you don’t have to jump through hoops in the future. To do this, first connect a removable device to your PC, like a USB flash drive. Then search for password reset in the Start Menu and you should see a Create a password reset disk entry.

Select this, then walk through the steps to create the drive. You’ll need your current account password to complete this.

Once you have this, you should keep it safe. Anyone with access to the reset disk could use it to get into your account, so make sure you don’t let it fall into the wrong hands.

Try Password Cracking Software

Ophcrack Screenshot
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As a last resort, you can try using a tool designed to crack passwords. Ophcrack is one well-known utility.

However, there’s no guarantee that this will work. The software is much more efficient at cracking Windows XP passwords. Its Live CD version is designed for Windows Vista and 7; it doesn’t mention Windows 10, so support may be unofficial.

Additionally, the rainbow tables used to crack passwords in this way are better for breaking short, weak passwords. If your admin password is long and complex, it could take ages to recover with this method.

If you can’t crack your password, the next best solution is removing it altogether. Unfortunately, most tools for this are outdated and don’t support Windows 10, or cost money.

That being said, if you’re on Windows 8.1 or earlier, Offline NT Password And Registry Editor is worth a try. It will remove an account password for you, so you can set a new one. Just note that doing this will result in you losing access to any files you encrypted using Windows.

You’ll find a lot of software advertising the ability to crack your password or remove it for a fee. If the free tools and methods fail, it’s up to you whether you think these are worth it.

Beyond the Default Administrator Password in Windows

We’ve taken a look at the default Windows admin password across versions, along with how to recover your password on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. Chances are that one of the above methods will work for you, and you’ll be able to regain admin privileges on your own PC.

For more on Windows account security, see our breakdown of User Account Control and admin rights on Windows 10 User Account Control and Administrator Rights on Windows 10 Whether you use an Administrator or a Standard Windows account, what matters is your User Account Control security level. Here's what you need to know. Read More .

Related topics: Microsoft Account, Password, Password Recovery, Troubleshooting, Windows Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Xen
    June 6, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Thanks a lot guys... whatever these instructions did to my pc / remote linux server, I am no longer able to log in via any method, even when attempting on the server itself.

  2. indian BHARTIYA
    January 8, 2017 at 11:19 am

    thanks , i didn't even know how to make a password reset disk
    Actually my primary account was forgotten and i couldn't download any app as it asked for a password ALWAYS! thanks for saving me from all that AGONY and that feeling of helplessness

  3. Jenny Kaylan
    March 12, 2016 at 4:43 am

    So if you were using a Windows Live password on a Windows 8 computer in order to access that computer. Then the computer was stolen. You could change your log in to the computer directly online via Live. Is that correct?

    • Justin Pot
      March 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      That should work, yes, with the caveat that if your laptop isn't online changing it on Live won't change it on the computer. So this working would depend on your thief accessing Wifi somewhere.

  4. Amy
    January 29, 2016 at 8:15 pm
    • Susan
      February 6, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Will this work for an administrator password???

  5. Arnas
    January 20, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    This is a solution for Windows 8 and 8.1

  6. Dan
    December 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Does anyone know how to reset the administrator password? I can get in my pc but I can't change anything because I need the AP

    • Justin Pot
      December 3, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      If the tips above don't work I'm not sure what else to try, sorry.

      • Dan
        December 3, 2015 at 9:13 pm

        Alright thanks. It's my father's computer and because he just recently passed away we're trying to restore it for our mother. It's a HP pavilion 20 all in one pc. It's a shame it's worthless now.

        • Justin Pot
          December 4, 2015 at 12:10 am

          You can still install a fresh copy of Windows on it, you'll set a new admin password and the computer will be good as new.

        • Dan
          December 4, 2015 at 12:33 am

          I'll still need to do this as administrator, so I'll still need the password ; right?

          The computer want let me make any changes without the AP as it is now but I'll try anyway.


        • Dan
          December 4, 2015 at 12:48 am

          Nope, that didn't work either . I need the Admin Pass to make changes. The computer will upgrade to 10 for free so I was able to try but no luck

        • Justin Pot
          December 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm

          You shouldn't need the admin password to replace Windows, but you might need to do it from a USB drive:


          Or, if your computer has a CD drive, that could also work (but most newer ones don't at this point).

      • Anonymous
        December 7, 2015 at 6:59 am

        If you have no disk, you have to to burn a disk with USB or DVD, as for me, I used iSeePassword Windows password recoery tool to create a boot USB, then reset my password on windows 7.

        But it's not free, I've purchased it at $17, if you need, I can send you the register key to your email, pelase give me your email.

        • Angus Bruce
          December 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm

          Not sure if my other reply came through but if you could email me the register key that would be great.


  7. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Useless article for Windows 8 and above.

    • Anonymous
      August 25, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Using Ophcrack I mean

    • Justin Pot
      August 25, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      Yeah as I wrote in the article if you're using Windows 8 Ophcrack won't work.

  8. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 6:32 am

    It is a common phenomenon for all Windows users. I am agree with the advice above. All you need is a Windows administrator password key to help you recover it.

    • Justin Pot
      June 30, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Yeah, having that key can help a lot for sure.

  9. zarux
    March 29, 2015 at 4:55 am

    neither any oph worked nor other softwares .. i am using pin to access my account but i want to acess from my password which i forgot .so could u tell me way to completely change my poassword

    • Justin Pot
      March 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      If these methods don't work, you're past there point where I can help sadly. Sorry!

  10. Julie Lane
    February 26, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Is there a cost for this program? And if so what is the cost?

    • Justin Pot
      February 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Ophcrack is free, Julie.

  11. Des Farthing
    December 26, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Thanks guys Windows 8 laptop in danger of being hurled through a (real) window... Password successfully reset and the laptop is safe (for now).

    • shen
      February 7, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Hi, Hope you can help me how to retrieved my administrator password? Now im currently using the other user account which is my childrens access to my lappy. The prob now is that i cant down load any software, copy some files coz it is always prompting me the admin password. I tried using online help and followed instruction for the commant prompt but still doesnt work.

    • shen
      February 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      I mean the command promt...

    • shen
      February 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      I hate when im in a Command Prompt..

    • Justin Pot
      February 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      The Ophcrack CD seen above is your best bet, Shen.

  12. Magee T
    December 24, 2013 at 3:31 am

    It is not complicated to reset windows admin password at all.
    what you need indeed is a windows password recovery tool.
    here is the one ever helped me, you can take a try.

  13. kingdong
    November 15, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Great! I have ever come across forgot Windows 8 administrator password and locked out of computer. Finally I regained access to my locked computer by following this video guide step by step:

  14. dinnes casas
    November 1, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Hi Justin name is Dinnes Casas came from phili. i lost my administrator account password.
    can you help me please.please

    • Justin P
      November 1, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Did the steps above not work out, Dinnes? I don't know what I'd try next, can you give me more information about your computer?

  15. Echo
    October 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I forgot my administrator password on window 8. My account isn't Microsoft account. I already used Ophcrack but can't find password. What should I do?

    • Justin P
      October 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      I'd recommend removing the password with the Offline NT Password tool linked to above.

    • gabriel maton
      January 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm

      i erase my administrator account for accidentally but when i going to download a game i cant because i need the permission from the administrator what should i do?

  16. Carlotta
    September 29, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Hi Justin,
    I forgot my administrator password on my windows 8. I went to Microsoft account and changed password there, but I still get the wrong password message. I've tried this several times, and no joy. What can I do now?

    • Justin P
      October 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      To be clear: is this the primary account on the computer? Or are you looking for the password for the "Administrator" account? Because there probably isn't one...

  17. Jorge
    August 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I like PCUnlocker the most. It's not a freeware but it's more powerful than free options. Besides resetting lost Windows password, PCUnlocker can also reset forgotten Windows 8 Microsoft account password, and promote standard user account to administrator. It also supports Windows 8 UEFI secure booting.

    • Justin P
      September 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      You don't need software for Microsoft accounts...just use the web site to restore the password.

  18. Nirah
    August 12, 2013 at 4:07 am

    i think when you lost Windows administrator password, there is another way, that is to use the program such as the SmartKey Windows Password Recovery from
    What do you think of it?

    • Justin P
      August 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Never seen this, and the grammatical errors on the site lead me to mistrust it. I could be wrong, though – if anyone has positive experience with this $20 program they should let us know.

    • Michael E
      December 16, 2013 at 7:05 am

      Thanks Nirah , I have tried your SmartKey Windows password recovery prgoram and it worked!

  19. Pooky J
    July 20, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Assuming that the Administrator account isn't locked, you can just press Ctrl-Alt-Del at the login screen a few time to show the ol' school login screen, type "Administrator" (without quote") into the username, and leave the password blank. Now you can use that account, and it won't even ask you for the previous password of any account that you want to change (or delete).

    • Justin Pot
      July 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Administrator is locked by default for anything after Vista, though. Great tip for XP, however.

      • Jimmy Hollanster
        November 29, 2017 at 9:24 am

        Well, i recommend you to use iSunshare Windows Password Genius to reset your admin password. I used that before, it is worth trying.

  20. ank91
    July 19, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Active password reset.
    sala password reset.

    google them

    • raph
      May 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

      Ank91 do have konBoot installer for windows 8

  21. Sassah122 S
    July 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    What about an article for mac?

    • Justin Pot
      July 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      I should look into this, you're right!

      • Sassah122 S
        July 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm


  22. sadiq
    July 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Excellent write up

  23. Meena B
    July 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    i know one that used to work on windows 7, haven't tested on other but i think it also works on windows 8
    get any live cd, maybe linux one or Hiren's boot cd or any live cd that can access C:windowssystem32

    from that live cd, take a copy of cmd.exe, and backup of utilman.exe
    rename the copy of cmd.exe to utilman.exe
    now when you try to login to windows, use the utility manager, and you'll get the cmd window
    now type
    control userpasswords2
    and reset the password

    this won't let you recover your password, only change-reset

    • CJRalph
      July 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Or using the method above, at the command line type:
      net user *
      and it will ask for the new password.
      e.g. net user administrator *

    • CJRalph
      July 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

      That was supposed to be net user (your existing username) *.
      The system removed the angle brackets I used. :-(

      • Meena B
        July 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm

        you can even do it from any windows cd
        just start it, repair> command
        and use these commands

        copy c:windowssystem32utilman.exe c:utilman.exe
        copy c:windowssystem32cmd.exe c:windowssystem32utilman.exe

        restart and use the commands i used above, that's just something other than using a live cd that will also work fine

    • divine
      May 2, 2015 at 7:34 am

      hi, i tried this , its not working, can u suggest any other(i know am commenting after 2 years)

    • Justin Pot
      May 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Hey Divine, I'm sorry but I don't know what to try outside of the methods laid out here, sorry.

  24. Laurentiu S
    July 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Actually there is (imo) a better tool called Kon-Boot. It's very fast, easy to use and it supports other OSes.