How to Reset Your Lost Windows 10 Password
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Passwords can cause huge problems. Weak passwords 7 Password Mistakes That Will Likely Get You Hacked 7 Password Mistakes That Will Likely Get You Hacked The worst passwords of 2015 have been released, and they're quite worrying. But they show that it's absolutely critical to strengthen your weak passwords, with just a few simple tweaks. Read More make your accounts vulnerable to hacking. Forgetting a password can happen to anyone, even if you’ve set up a memorable password How to Create a Strong Password That You Will Not Forget How to Create a Strong Password That You Will Not Forget Do you know how to create and remember a good password? Here are some tips and tricks to maintain strong, separate passwords for all of your online accounts. Read More .

There’s perhaps no scarier password you can lose than the one that gets you into your PC. Whether you’ve lost your password 3 Ways to Reset a Forgotten Windows Administrator 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 , find that Windows suddenly won’t accept it, or it gets screwed up during an update, here’s how to get back into your account on Windows 10.

Windows 10 Password Reset: Microsoft Account

Using a Microsoft account with Windows 10 has pros and cons. In our case, one huge benefit is that you can reset your password by going through Microsoft’s tools without much hassle.

First, make sure that you actually can’t access your account (perhaps your keyboard has a stuck key or something similar). Go to on your phone or another computer and try to sign in with the Microsoft account you use on your PC. Make sure you don’t mistype your email here. If you still can’t get in, then proceed with resetting your Microsoft password. Head to the Microsoft password reset page to get started; you can even reset your password from the login screen How to Recover Your PIN and Password From the Windows 10 Lock Screen How to Recover Your PIN and Password From the Windows 10 Lock Screen Ever forget your PC password? If you sign in with a Microsoft account, there's an easy new way to reset it right from the lock screen. Read More in the Fall Creators Update.

You’re presented with three options:

  • You forgot your password
  • You know your password, but it doesn’t work
  • You think someone has hacked your account

You’ve already ruled out the second option, so go ahead and pick the first. You’ll then have to provide your account email address and complete a quick CAPTCHA. From here, the site will help you recover your information based on the security info you’ve provided earlier.


It’s worth noting here: If you have a Microsoft account, you should take a few minutes to update your security info 5 Security Tips To Consider When Using a Microsoft Account 5 Security Tips To Consider When Using a Microsoft Account You can't use much of the new Windows 8 user interface without a Microsoft account. The account you for logging into into your computer is now an online account. This raises security concerns. Read More on your account page. Adding a phone number and secondary email address will give you options to reset your password should you ever have problems with it.

Windows 10 Password Reset: Local Account

The above scenario is the best case, but plenty of people don’t use a Microsoft account with Windows 10 How to Delete Your Microsoft Account & Create a Local Windows 10 Login How to Delete Your Microsoft Account & Create a Local Windows 10 Login When you access Windows 10 with a Microsoft Account, you can store data in the cloud and sync it across devices. Does this sound concerning? We show you how to switch to a local account. Read More . You’ll have to dig deeper to get back into a local account, but it’s still possible.

For resetting a password on a local account, you need to enable the hidden Administrator account. Because this account automatically runs all programs with admin rights and has no password protection, it’s super insecure. Thus, Windows ships with this disabled. We’ve shown how to enable the admin account before, but that way won’t work if you’re locked out of your PC!

Note that if you have another administrator account on the computer aside from the locked one, you don’t need to go through all these steps. Jump down to the Resetting the Password section below and follow those steps to reset the password using the other account.

Setting Up the Workaround

First, you’ll need to create a bootable Windows 10 disk on a flash drive. Once you’ve done that, insert the drive into your PC so you can boot from the new installation. On most machines, you need to press F12 or a similar key as soon as you power on your computer to choose a device to boot from. Select your flash drive, let Windows load, and when you see the initial Windows 10 setup screen, press Shift + F10 to open a Command Prompt.

Next, you may need to do a bit of fumbling around to find out which partition the Windows installation is on. Usually, this will be the C: drive or the D: drive. To check, type the following command, which will change the active directory of the command prompt to the root of the C: drive (or whichever letter you insert). If the command returns The system cannot find the drive specified, then that letter isn’t right.

cd C:\

Once you find the right drive, you’ll want to change the directory again (that’s the cd command). Type this line to access the System32 folder:

cd Windows\System32


Here’s where you pull a little trick. Windows provides a shortcut to the Ease of Access menu on the sign-in page for users who need visual or other help. You can use a few commands to replace this shortcut with a command prompt instead, giving access to the system. Type these two commands, one at a time. The first backs up the Ease of Access shortcut so you can restore it later; the second replaces it with a command prompt shortcut.

ren utilman.exe utilman.exe.bak
ren cmd.exe utilman.exe

You’re all done here, so type this command to reboot the computer and head back to the normal sign-in screen:

wpeutil reboot

Resetting the Password

Back on the sign-in screen, click the Ease of Access shortcut in the bottom-right of the screen to launch a command prompt. It looks like clock hands surrounded by a dotted line, and you’ll find it between the power and network connection icons.


Now that you’re into a command prompt, use the following line to enable the default Admin account:

net user Administrator /active:yes

After this, you need to reboot again, which you can do quickly with this command:

shutdown -t 0 -r

One more time on the sign-in screen, and this time you should click the Administrator account in the bottom-left corner. There isn’t a password on this account, so it should sign you right in. Now, you can reset your own password.

If you’re running Windows 10 Pro, you can right-click on the Start button and choose Computer Management, then click Local Users and Groups on the left sidebar to open the user manager. Right-click on your account and choose Set password to choose a new password. Then, sign out of the admin account and make sure you can log back into your own account!

If you use Windows 10 Home, you’ll have to perform the same action through a Command Prompt. Right-click on the Start button and choose Command Prompt (Admin) to open a new command prompt window, then type this command to see all user accounts:

net user

Locate the name of your account, then type this command with your name inserted and the system will prompt you to set a password:

net user USERNAME *

After this, enter a new password, log off, and you’re all set to log back in to your account!

Need a New Account?

If your account is really screwed up and you can’t reset the password, your best bet is making a new account and setting it as an administrator. To do this, open an administrator command prompt, and type these commands:

net localgroup Adminstrators USERNAME /add

Once done, reboot and sign in to your new account with the new password. To recover your files, browse to your old user directory in the File Explorer and copy everything you need to your new account:


Putting Everything Back

Once you’ve logged into your own account, you’re almost done! You just need to fix the shortcuts you changed and call it a day. Go ahead and reboot again using the Windows 10 installation disk you created earlier. Once the initial welcome screen loads, press Shift + F10 and navigate to C:\Windows\System32 as you did before.

Use these two commands to put the Ease of Access shortcut back as it was:

ren utilman.exe cmd.exe
ren utilman.exe.bak utilman.exe

Because the Admin account is a security risk, you should disable it here until you need it again. Type this to disable it:

net user Administrator /active:no

One more reboot, and you can get back to your normal computer usage!

wpeutil reboot

How to Prevent Password Resets in the Future

Depending on why you couldn’t log in, to begin with, you can take a few precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

If you just forgot your password, consider using a password manager to keep them all straight.

While the convenience of password managers lies in their auto-filling functions for websites, you can manually add your Windows login so that it’s accessible yet safe in emergencies. Since you can access your password vault via your phone or another computer’s browser, you’ll always have it handy.

If you don’t use a Microsoft account to sign in, consider switching to one. Aside from the far easier method of resetting your password How to Recover Your PIN and Password From the Windows 10 Lock Screen How to Recover Your PIN and Password From the Windows 10 Lock Screen Ever forget your PC password? If you sign in with a Microsoft account, there's an easy new way to reset it right from the lock screen. Read More , you can also use a PIN instead of a password PIN or Password? What to Use in Windows 10 PIN or Password? What to Use in Windows 10 Windows 10 allows you to sign into your PC using several methods. The two most popular are passwords and PINs. Let's examine the differences between them and decide which is best for you. Read More to sign into Windows. A PIN is local to your machine so it won’t work elsewhere if stolen, and is much easier to type than a long password.

Finally, you can create a password reset disk How To Unlock Your Computer After Forgetting Your Windows Login How To Unlock Your Computer After Forgetting Your Windows Login Most passwords aren’t that difficult to reset, particularly those online. There is one that can give you trouble, however – your Windows login password. If you forget this you will be locked out of your... Read More that will let you easily reset your password should this happen again. It’s a great use for a spare USB drive Are USB Flash Drives Still Worth It In 2015? Are USB Flash Drives Still Worth It In 2015? USB flash drives are great for storage, but they have so many other uses. Here's how they're worth their weight in gold. Read More and just requires a bit of foresight.

Change Your Windows 10 Password

If you know your password, you don’t need to reset it. Instead, you can easily change it How to Change Your Password on Any Desktop or Mobile Device How to Change Your Password on Any Desktop or Mobile Device Your password is the only thing standing between a stranger and your most private data. When was the last time you updated your device password? We show you how to change it right now. Read More from the Windows 10 Settings app. This works whether you use a Microsoft account or a local account to sign in.

Open the Settings app (using the keyboard shortcut Win + I if you like). Select the Accounts entry, followed by the Sign-in options tab on the left sidebar. You’ll see a Password header; click Change under it. From here, simply follow the steps to confirm your current password and then set a new one.

how to reset lost password windows 10

If you’re using a local account, you must enter a password hint to help you remember your password. Remember that if you use a Microsoft account to sign in, this will also change the password for your Outlook email, Xbox Live account, and other Microsoft services.

In addition, from the Sign-in options page, you can change your PIN or picture password, if you use those How to Log Into Windows 10 With Finger Scans & Facial Recognition How to Log Into Windows 10 With Finger Scans & Facial Recognition Instead of using a password or PIN, you might be better off using fingerprint scans or facial recognition! But there are a few risks associated with them. Here's what you need to know. Read More .

Remove Your Windows 10 Password

Maybe you’d prefer to remove your account password entirely. You can accomplish this task in two ways.

To completely remove your account password, follow the above steps for changing it. But when Windows asks you to enter a new password, leave all fields blank. Click Next and you’ll have no password on your account. You can only do this if you use a local account to sign in since you must keep a password on your Microsoft account.

If you’d rather, you can also set a rule that automatically logs you into your PC. This will work for both local and Microsoft accounts.

Press Win + R to open the Run menu, then type netplwiz and press Enter. You’ll see the User Accounts dialog box. Here, click your account, then uncheck the Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer box and click OK.

how to reset lost password windows 10

Windows will then show a box letting you know that to do this, you need to specify a user that will automatically sign in. Enter your account password here, and Windows will log you into your PC in the future without asking for a password. This won’t remove the password from your PC, however. If you sign out and try to sign back in, you’ll have to enter your password. Or if you try to remotely connect to the computer 7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools 7 Easy Screen-Sharing and Remote-Access Tools We show you 7 free tools that let you share a screen over the internet or gain remote access to a computer to troubleshoot technical issues. Read More , you’ll still need to know the password.

We don’t recommend removing your password as it makes your computer much less secure, but it’s your decision.

Back in the Password Business

Resetting your Windows password is a bit more work than resetting one for a website, but it’s far from impossible. No matter what happened that locked you out of your account, you’ve found your way back in. With a bit of preparation, you can make sure that this doesn’t happen again. And if you only needed to change or remove your password, even better!

Once you’re back in control, make sure your system is running the best security software What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10? What Security Software Should You Be Using in Windows 10? Despite being bundled with its own security tool, Windows 10 needs additional software to keep your data secure and make your online experiences safe. But which security software should you choose for WIndows 10? Read More so you can stay safe.

Have you ever had a scary password reset experience? Let us know if these methods helped you get back into your locked Windows account!

Originally written by Joe Keeley on 23 June 2016

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  1. Brian
    June 15, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you for the great instructions. They just got me into a PC donated to my church. The donator couldn't remember his password (his a Mac person). I have one addition. Windows wouldn't let me use the command:

    net user Administrator /active:yes

    It complained that its password wasn't complex enough. I had to first change its password:

    net user Administrator

    And then could make it active

    • Brian
      June 15, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      Oops, typo. This command set the password:

      net user Administrator NewPasswordHere

  2. Anonymous
    July 29, 2016 at 8:10 am

    You can reset windows 10 administrator password on command prompt with an available admin account to enter safe mode first. If you have another Windows 10 admin account, try these steps below:

    Step 1: Press F8 when your Windows 10 PC is booting. You will come to the Advanced Boot Options. Then choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt and press Enter.

    Step 2: Enter safe mode with an available admin account.

    Step 3: Type "net user" and press Enter. The command prompt will show you all accounts on the Windows Vista PC.

    Step 4: Type "net user Paul 123" (Paul is the locked admin account's name and 123 is the new password) and press Enter. Now you have successfully created a new password on the locked admin account.

    Step 5: Type "shutdown -r -t 00" and press Enter.

    Your Windows Vista PC should be rebooted automatically and then you can logon Windows Vista with the new password.

    If you have only one admin account and you lost its password, I think you have to use some third party windows password recovery software. Windows Login Recovery is easy-to-use shareware to reset forgotten Windows password, including administrator password and other standard users' passwords. this software can 100% reset the forgotten password in few minutes. All you need to do is just three steps:

    Step 1: Download Windows Login Recovery

    Step 2: Burn a Windows password reset disk with the shareware

    Step 3: Reset the forgotten Windows Vista admin password with the disk.

    These two solutions are helpful for you to resolve the Vista admin password lost problem. Just to try.

    If she doesn't have another computer to use to download anything, I think you could help her to download.

  3. Garyle
    June 25, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for sharing! You can also use the well-known third-party software like PCUnlocker or Ophcrack.

    • dakota
      March 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      yea thank you for thanking them they need to be thanked they once saved a drowning cat with there own bare hands i was there and i was shocked to see the cat and still to this day the cat still roams my house like a distant family member thank you and have a good day