Forgotten your Windows 10 password? 5 top tips to save the day (part 2)
It may be down to forgetfulness, stress, or simply because you haven’t used it in a while – no matter why you haven’t got your Windows password ready to hand, without it you won’t be able to use your PC. But help is at hand – just follow these tips and you’ll be back up and running again in no time at all.
Solution 3: Lost your local user account password
As long as this isn’t the password for the Administrator account, you’re in luck. The good news is that you can change other users’ passwords even if you don’t know them – you just need access to the Administrator account. In Windows 10 just do this:
- Log in as the administrator in Windows 10. Type “control panel” into the Windows search box and hit enter. Then click “User Accounts” followed by “User Accounts” again and then “Manage another account”. Now click the account whose password you want to change.
- Click “Change the password”. In the new window that opens, set a new password by entering it and confirming it, and also type in a password hint. Once you’ve clicked “Change password”, the new password will be ready to use. The user can then log in with it.
Solution 4: Secret trick to reset the Administrator password
If you’ve forgotten the Administrator account’s password – the master account – you need to roll out the big guns. Here’s where a hacker trick can help you get around this obstacle. To deploy it, you’ll need a Windows 10 installation DVD.
- Go grab your Windows 10 DVD and put it in your computer’s DVD player. Now restart your PC with the disc inserted. However, you may need to change the boot sequence in your computer’s BIOS/UEFI for your computer to boot from the DVD. At this point you may be wondering what BIOS/UEFI is, but don’t panic. It’s easy to do by following these steps: Shortly after starting up, your PC will display info about its memory, drives, and about the BIOS. At this point you’ll see a message such as “Press DEL to Enter BIOS”. To enter the BIOS, simply press the delete key (or F1 or F2 depending on the message that’s displayed) shortly after starting your PC – it’s fine to press the key multiple times. Once the BIOS menu has loaded, navigate to the menu “Advanced BIOS Features” or “Boot Menu” and search for the entry “Boot Sequence” or similar. Under this, set DVD (or USB) as the “First Boot Device”. Save these settings by pressing the key associated with “Save & Exit” (typically F10).
- You’ll now see the notification “Press any key to boot from CD/DVD”. Now, quickly press any key. The Windows 10 logo will appear. A few moments later, you’ll see the “Windows Setup” window. Do NOT click “Next” at this point. Instead, press and hold the Shift key and then press F10. A command line interface will appear.
- Enter this command: move c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.altcopy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
This swaps the file exe, which assists people with disabilities in using Windows 10, with the command line program cmd.exe. This will enable you to access the command line interface in the Windows sign-in screen and create an additional Administrator account. Be aware that this example assumes that Windows 10 is located on the partition c:\. If the command fails to work, replace c:\with d:\ or e:\.
- Close both the command line interface and the “Windows Setup” window. Your PC will then restart and you’ll end up back at the Windows sign-in screen. Now it’s time to “crack” the password. To do so, click the “Ease of access” button (see image).
- This will open the command line interface thanks to the modifications you made in step 3. This time, enter: net user <USER NAME> <PASSWORD> /add net localgroup administrators <USER NAME> /add. Important: Replace <USER NAME> and <PASSWORD> with your actual username and password. If it were me doing this, for the first part of the command I would enter: net user Nils2 0106$Windows /add. When choosing a password, make sure that it is at least 8 characters long and contains upper case and lower case letters as well as special characters.
- Close the command line interface. If the new user account isn’t available immediately, restart your computer. Select the freshly created account and log in using the password you set in step 4.
- Now change the password of your “old” Administrator account. To do so, press Windows + R. In the Run dialog, enter: control userpasswords2. After clicking “OK”, the User Accounts management window will appear. Now select your “old” Administrator account and click “Reset Password”. Enter the new password twice and click OK – and hey presto, you’ll have resolved the problem. Here’s an additional tip: The method sometimes even works if the Administrator account is not a local one, but a Microsoft account. So while you can’t change the password, in an emergency you can still get at the precious data stored on your computer and back it up to an external hard disk.
In the upcoming third part of our series, you’ll learn how you can create a password reset disk to help you out in an emergency.