How often have you forgotten a password in the last year? Losing a website password is no big deal as you can reset it using your email address. However, forgetting your computer password is more scary as they are difficult to reset.
If you've forgotten the password for a Windows administrator account, fear not. There are several methods that you can use to restore it. We are going to show you how to reset administrator passwords in Windows.
1. Reset the Windows administrator password with a Microsoft account
One of the main advantages of using a Microsoft account on Windows 10 is that you can reset your password by going through Microsoft tools with little effort.
First, make sure that you really can't access your Microsoft account (your keyboard may have a stuck key or something). Go to login.live.com on your phone or other computer and try to sign in with the Microsoft account that you use on your PC and make sure you don't enter anything wrong.
If you still can't get in, reset your Microsoft password. Head over to the Microsoft password reset page to get started. You can now also reset your password from the Windows 10 login screen.
After confirming your identity with the information you provided in your account, this page will guide you through resetting your Microsoft account password. Then use the new password to log into your PC.
Please note that if you have a Microsoft account, please take a few minutes to update your security information on your Microsoft account page. You can easily reset your password by adding a phone number and a secondary email address. without it it's a lot more of a hassle.
2. Use the lock screen workaround to reset a local Windows administrator password
If you don't use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows, you'll need to reset the password for a local account. Windows 10 allows you to set security questions for local accounts that make it easy to get back from the lock screen if you forget your password. However, if you haven't set these up already, they won't be of much use to you now.
If the locked account is the only administrator account on your PC, you will need to enable the hidden Windows administrator account first to use this workaround.
However, if you have another administrator account on the computer besides the locked account, you don't need to follow all of these steps. In this case, jump to reset Password Section and follow these steps to reset the password using a different administrator account.
Set up workaround
First of all, you need to create a Windows 10 bootable hard drive on a flash drive. When you have done this, insert the drive into your PC so that you can start from the new installation. On most machines you have to push F12 or a similar key whenever you turn on your computer to select a device to boot.
Boot from your flash drive, let the Windows installer load, then press when the first Windows 10 setup screen appears Shift + F10 to open a command prompt.
The next thing you need to know is which partition the Windows installation is on. Usually this will be the one C: drive, but it might be different for you. To verify, type the following command which will change the current command prompt directory to the root directory of drive C: (or whatever letter you inserted).
When the command returns The system cannot find the specified drivethen this letter is not correct; try another. Once you've found the correct drive, you'll want to change the directory again using CD Command. Enter this line to access the System32 Folder:
CD Windows System32
Now let's do a little trick. Windows provides a shortcut to the Easy Access menu on the logon page for users who need accessibility. You can use some shortcuts to replace that shortcut with a command prompt link instead and get access to many more commands.
To do this, enter these two commands one after the other. The first option will back up the Easy Access shortcut so you can restore it later. The second replaces it with a command prompt.
ren utilman.exe utilman.exe.bak
ren cmd.exe utilman.exe
Here you are all done. Enter this command to restart your computer and return to the normal login screen:
Activate the Windows administrator account
On the login screen, click the Easy Access shortcut in the lower-right corner of the screen to launch a command prompt. It looks like clock hands surrounded by a dotted line. You can find it between the symbols for power supply and network connection.
After you are in a command prompt interface, enable the default administrator account on the following line:
Network user administrator / active: yes
After that you need to start again, which is a quick way to do this with this command:
Shut down -t 0 -r
Back at the login screen, this time you should click Administrator Account in the lower left corner. This account does not contain a password, so you should log in. Now you can reset your own password.
In Windows 10 Pro, you can right-click begin And select button Computer management, then click Local users and groups in the left sidebar to open the user manager.
Here expand the user Right click on your account and select to set a password to choose a new password. Windows warns you that doing so will result in the loss of some data, but most users will not be affected.
After you've set a new password, log out of the administrator account and make sure you can log back in to your own account.
If you're using Windows 10 Home, you'll need to do the same action from Command Prompt. Right click on begin And select button Command Prompt (Admin) (or Windows PowerShell (Admin)) to open a new terminal window and enter this command to view all user accounts:
Find the name of your account, type this command with your name and the system will ask you to set a password:
Network user USERNAME *
After that, enter a new password, log out and you can log back into your account.
Instead, create a new account
If your account is really messed up and you can't reset the password for some reason, you should create a new account and set it as administrator instead. To do this, open an administrator command prompt as described above and enter these commands individually. Replace USERNAME and PASSWORD with the information you selected:
net user USERNAME PASSWORD / add
net localgroup administrators USERNAME / add
Then restart and log into your new account with the new password. To restore your files, navigate to your old user directory in File Explorer under C: Users (old username) and copy everything you need to your new account.
Summary: cover everything
Once you've successfully logged into your own account or created a new one, you're almost done. All you need to do is correct the links you have changed.
Restart the Windows 10 installation disk you created earlier. When the first splash screen loads, press Shift + F10 and navigate to C: Windows System32 like you did before
Use these two commands in sequence to restore the shortcut to the way it was for easy access:
ren utilman.exe cmd.exe
ren utilman.exe.bak utilman.exe
Since the default administrator account is a security risk, you should disable it here until you need it again. Enter this to disable:
Network user administrator / active: no
You can return to your normal computer usage after another reboot with the following command:
3. Reset the password by starting a Linux USB stick
If you can't set up an account on your PC, you can create a Linux drive on another computer and use it to reset your Windows password.
Boot into Linux
First, you need to create a Linux bootable USB drive. It doesn't matter which variant of Linux you are using, but Ubuntu and Mint are two beginner-friendly options.
After that, restart your PC and look for the prompt to press F12, ESC, Clearor similar to select your boot device. Choose your flash drive and give Linux a moment to start.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Complete all setup tasks like setting the time zone and open the operating system's file explorer app. On Ubuntu, this is the folder icon in the left sidebar. If you're using Mint, like Windows, it's in the lower left corner.
Mount your Windows drive
With the File Explorer window open, press Ctrl + L. to edit that place And enter the path to view all of your drives:
> Computer: ///
Find the drive where Windows is installed. If you only have one hard drive in your computer, there is only that one. Right click the drive and click Assemble so that Linux can access it.
Reset the password
From here you work in the Linux terminal. Don't worry – it's not scary even if you're new. The shortcut to open it in Mint and Ubuntu is Ctrl + Alt + T..
First of all, you need to install a password reset utility named chntpw. Enter this command to install it:
> sudo apt-get install chntpw
Change the working directory (the CD Command stands for change direction) in your Windows folder with this line:
cd / mnt / Windows / System32 / config
Next, you can get a list of Windows users by typing:
sudo chntpw -l SAM
Photo credit: Nehal J Wani via YouTube
This list should show the user whose password you want to reset. Enter the following command to ensure that you are only making changes to this user USERNAME with the user you need to edit. If it's a one-word username such as "Mike", you don't need quotation marks. For multi-word usernames like "Mike Jones", put quotation marks around the words, otherwise this will not work:
sudo chntpw -u "USERNAME" SAM
Now enter 2 to enter edit mode. Enter a new password for the user, then press Enter to submit it. When prompted, enter y to confirm.
If you want, you can set the password to blank instead of assigning a new one. To do this, enter a 1 instead of 2 After typing and typing the Username command y when prompted to save it.
Restart Windows and log in with the new password. If you set a blank password, open it the settings, navigate to Accounts> Sign-in Options, and choose password to set a new password.
This will prevent you from losing your password in the future
While neither of these methods is too difficult, you won't want to lose your password in the future and you will have to rely on it. There are a few different ways to avoid having to reset your Windows password later.
If you don't already use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10, we recommend this. This way you can easily reset your password through the web interface in case you ever forget it.
Even if you don't use a Microsoft account, setting a PIN for your Windows account gives you another easy way to sign in to remember.
We also strongly recommend using a password manager to keep all of your passwords safe. When you use a password manager, all you need to do is memorize a few passwords instead of dozens.
Finally, you can also create a password reset disk in Windows to avoid these lengthy workarounds in the future. Connect a flash drive and look for reset Password in the start menu to start that Create a password reset disk Tool.
Follow the steps to create a reset disk with your flash drive. If you get locked out of your account in the future, you can plug in this drive to regain access. This works regardless of how often you change your password. However, be aware that anyone with the drive will be able to access your account with it. Keep it safe!
Forgot your administrator password? No problem
Forgetting your password is no fun and it is difficult to reset an administrator password. But at least it is possible. Anyone can use these methods, even if they are not tech-savvy, and they are much better than completely reinstalling Windows because you will be locked out. And with a little preparation, you can prevent this from happening again in the future.
How to get administrator rights on Windows
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About the author
(1580 articles published)
Ben is the Assistant Editor and Onboarding Manager at MakeUseOf. He left his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. For over six years he has been a professional writer reporting on technical tutorials, video game recommendations, and more.
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