It is important to know how you can reset password in Windows, for instance, when you forgot your existing password and cannot get access to your device. Some people use various identification methods to protect their personal data and sensitive files, but password protection still remains the most popular of them all – it is way easier to have a secret word or number-letter combination known only to the user and the system then using other authentication techniques.
In the older versions of Windows (XP or Windows 7), the main means of protection of your personal data was a local user account. With the release of Windows 8, it became possible to use your Microsoft account, which has its password stored online, and if you forgot it, you could just reset the password from another device.
Microsoft account (MSA) has many advantages over a standard user account:
- The possibility to reset a user’s password without reinstalling the system and doing many «unnecessary» action.
- Additional identification means for advanced security – telephone number, secondary email, identification apps, and more.
- Full access to all Microsoft services.
- Windows Hello – a smart user authentication tool that allows fingerprint unlocking, face scanning, or via special devices such as Microsoft Band.
However, not everyone today is using MSA, which is why in this article we are going to tell you about all the possible options to reset your forgotten password.
An easy way to reset Windows 10 Microsoft account password
If something goes wrong during the MSA password entering procedure before Windows loads, the system will send you a notification and will redirect you to the website where you will be able to restore your Windows 10 password. Since the update 1709 for Windows 10, it is possible to reset your password without leaving the lock screen. Just click «I forgot my password» – that action will bring you to the «Recover your account menu.»
If you are using older builds of Windows 10, you will need to use reset your password using another computer, laptop, or tablet. Click on the link and select «I forgot my password,» and click Next.
The system will ask you to identify yourself by entering your email, telephone number, or Skype login and also type captcha symbols. When everything is done right, you will be redirected to the page where you can set a new password. Pay attention to your Internet connection – if you have an active connection on the lock screen, the password will be changed after the procedure described above. You cannot perform those actions offline.
How to restore a password for your local Windows 10 account
It gets a little bit trickier when you need to reset your local account password. If you don’t have a USB flash drive for resetting your password, then you can use one of the following options:
- Enabling the built-in Administrator.
- Creating a new account.
- Using specialized software.
First, you will need access to the Command Prompt. But you cannot start CMD without system login. This is where we must outsmart the system. You are going to need a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10/8/7 (if you don’t know how to create it, please read the article on our website). You need to boot from that flash drive and initiate System Restore. In the new menu to appear click on «Troubleshoot» and find Command Prompt. An alternative way is to press the Shut Down button in the right lower corner and select Restart while holding any Shift button on your keyboard.
Doing so will bring a new menu with three options: continue, troubleshoot, and turn off your PC. Select the second options, go to advanced settings, and click on the Command Prompt icon. Now you have access to the Command Prompt. First, type notepad to open the Notepad app (it is needed to for further manipulations). You can type commands manually in the command line window, but it takes time, and you can miss something, while in the Notepad everything is already written as it is on your PC.
With the Notepad open, click on «File Open» (Ctrl+O) and select «All Files»:
From there proceed to the folder C:/Windows/System32/ and find two files: cmd and osk. You need to switch them – rename CMD into OSK and OSK into OSK.old. Reboot your PC when it is done. When your computer is back to the lock screen, click on Ease Access and select On-Screen keyboard.
If you have done everything right, you can use the following commands to activate an administrator account. Type: net user Administrator /active:yes. If you want to create a new local account, type:
net user [User_name] /add
net localgroup Administrators [User_name] /add
After doing so, you will be able to use one of the newly created accounts.
Reset your password Windows 10
Log in to the Administrator account we added earlier. You need to open user account settings – it can be done with the netplwiz command (press Win+R and type it in the small window that will appear).
It will open a menu with User Accounts, where you need to go to the Advanced tab and look for Advanced user management. Click on the «Advanced» button. Remember that Local users and groups only available in Pro and Enterprise versions of Windows 10.
Now click on the folder «Users» and right-click on the user you need and select «Set Password.» Confirm password reset and proceed.
After doing so, you will be able to use your main account again. And if you want to hide the newly created Administrator account, just type this: net user Administrator /active:no.