So, you’ve lost your Windows admin password. Maybe you recently reset Windows password, and can’t recall what you changed it to. Maybe your computer has been out of use for a while, and when you turn it on, suddenly realize you’re completely forgetting the password.
It’s quite a common problem, so do not freak out. Here are several easy ways to help you reset Windows 10 / 8 / 7 admin and login password, without reinstalling or losing your files.
Method 1: Using Sticky Keys Exploit
The trick involves hacking the Sticky Keys feature with the Command Prompt so you can reset forgotten Windows local account password on the login screen. Assuming that you have your Windows installation DVD ready with you, follow the steps given below.
- Boot your computer with Windows installation DVD.
- On the Windows Setup screen, press SHIFT + F10 keys simultaneously to open up the Command Prompt. Execute this command to save the original copy of the Sticky Keys application (sethc.exe) at a different location.
copy d:\windows\system32\sethc.exe d:\
- Type the following command and press Enter. Now, the Sticky Keys application has been replaced by CMD.
copy /y d:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
- Reboot your machine and take the installation DVD out.
- When you’re on the Windows login screen, press the SHIFT key five times in a row. This would have activated the Sticky Keys application but now it will launch a Command Prompt.
- At this point, you can use the following command to reset forgotten Windows password of any local user account on your computer.
net user your_user_name new_password
- Close the Command Prompt and you can log in to Windows with the new password.
Method 2: Reset Microsoft Account Password
When you forgot Microsoft account password on your Windows 10 / 8 computer, Microsoft makes it easy to reset your password online. One thing that’s worth noting before you go through the procedure below, make sure you can access the recovery email account or phone that was registered with your Microsoft account.
- Open the Microsoft account password reset page using a phone or another computer you can access. Select the “I forgot my password” option and click Next.
- Enter your Microsoft account email and type the CAPTCHA code, click Next.
- Choose to receive a security code using your phone or recovery email address. Click on Send code.
- When the security code is received, enter it in the box and click Next.
- Now, create a new Microsoft account password. At this point, you can sign in to your Windows 10/8 Microsoft account with the new password.
Starting with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft allows you to go through the above Microsoft account password reset procedure right on the login screen.
Method 3: Using Third-Party Software
There are a couple of Live CDs that can reset a forgotten Windows password, such as Offline NT Password & Registry Editor (slightly outdated), Hiren’s BootCD and PCUnlocker. Neither of these tools can be used on a Windows with UEFI firmware, and only one of them should ever be used: PCUnlocker.
When you’re locked out of Windows computer, PCUnlocker will not only reset your lost local administrator password but also bypass your Microsoft account or domain user login. This nifty utility can help you regain access to any locked Windows account in simple steps:
- To get started, you need to download the ISO image of PCUnlocker using another computer you can access.
2. Next, you have to write the ISO image to a blank CD using your disc burning software. Or alternatively, create a bootable PCUnlocker USB drive using the freeware Rufus.
- When your bootable CD (or USB drive) is ready, connect it to your locked computer. Enter into the BIOS setup and change the boot priority: move the “CD/DVD-ROM” (or “Removal Devices”) at the top of the list.
- After successfully booting off CD, the PCUnlocker program will automatically load your Windows registry and the available users will be shown on the screen. Select a user you want to edit, and click on Reset Password button. It will erase your forgotten password in no time.
- Now that the password is reset, click the Restart button. You are now ready to log on to a Windows account without a password!
Though these methods can’t help you recover Windows plain-text password like John the Ripper, they can easily reset any forgotten Windows password in no time so you can obtain access to your system immediately. Why don’t you do yourself a favor and try the above methods right away?