This tutorial is about how to reset your forgotten password in Windows 10, regardless of whether you use a Microsoft account or a local account. The password reset process itself is almost the same as those that I described for previous versions of the OS, except for a couple of minor nuances. Please note that if you know the current password, then there are simpler ways: How to change the Windows 10 password.
If you need this information due to the fact that the Windows 10 password that you set for some reason does not fit, I recommend that you first try to enter it with Caps Lock turned on and off, in the Russian and English layouts – this can help.
If the textual description of the steps seems complicated, the section on resetting the password for the local account also has a video instruction in which everything is clearly shown. See also: Flash drives for resetting a Windows password.
Table of Contents
Reset Microsoft Online Account Password
If you use a Microsoft account, as well as a computer on which you cannot log in, is connected to the Internet (or you can connect from the lock screen by clicking on the connection icon), then a simple password reset on the official website is suitable for you. At the same time, you can do the described steps to change the password from any other computer or even from the phone.
First of all, go to the page https://account.live.com/resetpassword.aspx, where you can select one of the items, for example, "I do not remember my password."
After that, enter the email address (it can also be a phone number) and verification characters, and then follow the instructions to restore access to your Microsoft account.
Provided that you have access to the email or phone to which the account is linked, the process will not be complicated.
As a result, you will only have to connect to the Internet on the lock screen and enter a new password.
Resetting a local account password in Windows 10 1809 and 1803
Starting from version 1803 (for previous versions, the methods are described later in the instructions) resetting the password of the local account has become easier than before. Now, when installing Windows 10, you ask three security questions that allow you to change your password at any time if you forget it.
- After the password is entered incorrectly, the “Reset password” item will appear under the input field, click it.
- Indicate answers to security questions.
- Set a new Windows 10 password and confirm it.
After that, the password will be changed and you will automatically log into the system (provided that the answers to the questions are correct).
Reset Windows 10 password without software
To begin with, there are two ways to reset the Windows 10 password without third-party programs (only for the local account). In both cases, you will need a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10, not necessarily with the same version of the system that is installed on your computer.
The first method consists of the following steps:
- Boot from the Windows 10 boot drive, then in the installer, press the ShiftF10 keys (Shift Fn F10 on some laptops). The command line will open.
- At the command prompt, enter regedit and press Enter.
- The registry editor will open. In it, in the left pane, select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and then select “File” – “Download Hive” from the menu.
- Specify the path to the file C: \ Windows \ System32 \ config \ SYSTEM (in some cases, the letter of the system disk may differ from the usual C, but the desired letter can be easily determined by the contents of the disk).
- Specify a name (any) for the loaded bush.
- Open the downloaded registry key (it will be under the specified name in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE), and in it – a subsection Setup.
- In the right part of the registry editor, double-click on the parameter Cmdline and set the value cmd.exe
- Change the parameter value in the same way. SetupType on 2.
- In the left part of the registry editor, select the section whose name you specified in the 5th step, then select "File" – "Unload Bush", confirm the upload.
- Close the registry editor, command line, installation program and restart the computer from the hard drive.
- When the system boots, the command line will automatically open. Enter the command in it net user to see the list of users.
- Enter command net user username new_password to set a new password for the desired user. If the username contains spaces, enclose it in quotation marks. If you need to remove the password, instead of the new password, enter two quotes in a row (without a space between them). I strongly do not recommend typing a password in Cyrillic.
- At the command prompt, enter regedit and go to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ Setup
- Remove value from parameter Cmdline and set the value SetupType equal 0
- Close the registry editor and command prompt.
As a result, you will be taken to the login screen, and for the user the password will be changed to the one you need or deleted.
Changing a password for a user using the built-in Administrator account
To use this method, you will need one of the following: Live CD with the ability to download and access the computer’s file system, recovery disk (flash drive) or Windows 10, 8.1 or Windows 7 distribution kit. I will demonstrate the use of the latter option — that is, resetting the password using tools Windows recovery on the installation flash drive. Important Note 2018: in the latest versions of Windows 10 (1809, for some in 1803) the method described below does not work, they covered the vulnerability.
The first step is to boot from one of these drives. After loading and the screen to select the installation language appears, press the Shift F10 keys – this will cause the command line to appear. If nothing like this appears, you can on the installation screen, after selecting the language, select “System Restore” from the bottom left, then go to Troubleshoot – Advanced Options – Command Prompt.
At the command prompt, enter the order of the command (after entering, press Enter):
- list volume
You will see a list of partitions on your hard drive. Remember the letter of the section (it can be determined by the size) on which Windows 10 is installed (it may not be C at the moment, when you run the command line from the installer). Type in the Exit command and press Enter. In my case, this is drive C, and I will use this letter in the commands that should be entered next:
- move c: \ windows \ system32 \ utilman.exe c: \ windows \ system32 \ utilman2.exe
- copy c: \ windows \ system32 \ cmd.exe c: \ windows \ system32 \ utilman.exe
- If everything went well, enter the command wpeutil reboot to restart the computer (you can restart in another way). This time boot from your system drive, not from a bootable USB flash drive or drive.
Note: if you used not the installation disk, but something else, then your task, using the command line, as described above or by other means, is to make a copy of cmd.exe in the System32 folder and rename this copy to utilman.exe.
After downloading, in the password entry window, click on the "Accessibility" icon in the lower right. The Windows 10 command prompt opens.
At the command prompt, enter net user username new_password and press Enter. If the username is multiple words, use quotation marks. If you do not know the username, use the command net users to see a list of Windows 10 user names. After changing the password, you can immediately log in to your account with a new password. Below is a video in which this method is shown in detail.
The second option to reset the Windows 10 password (when the command line is already running, as described above)
To use this method, Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise must be installed on your computer. Enter command net user Admin / active: yes (for the English-language or manually Russified version of Windows 10, use Administrator instead of Administrator).
Either immediately after the successful execution of the command, or after the computer restarts, you will have a user choice, select the activated administrator account and log in without a password.
After logging in (first logging in takes some time), right-click on “Start” and select “Computer Management”. And in it – Local users – Users.
Right-click on the name of the user whose password you want to reset and select the "Set Password" menu item. Read the warning carefully and click Continue.
After that, set a new account password. It is worth noting that this method only works fully for local Windows 10 accounts. For a Microsoft account, you must use the first method or, if this is not possible, log in as an administrator (as just described) and create a new computer user.
In conclusion, if you used the second method to reset the password, I recommend that you return everything to its original form. Disable the built-in administrator entry using the command line: net user Admin / active: no
And also delete the utilman.exe file from the System32 folder, and then rename the utilman2.exe file to utilman.exe (if this cannot be done inside Windows 10, you will also have to enter recovery mode and perform these actions in the command line (as shown in the video above). Done, now your system is in its original form, and you have access to it.
Reset Windows 10 Password in Dism
Dism is a powerful free program for setting up, cleaning and some other actions with Windows, which allows, among other things, to remove the password of a local Windows 10 user.
In order to accomplish this using this program, follow these steps:
- Create (somewhere on another computer) a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 and unpack the archive with Dism on it.
- Boot from this flash drive on the computer where you need to reset the password, press ShiftF10 in the installer, and at the command prompt, enter the path to the program executable file in the same bit depth as the image on your flash drive, for example – E: \ dism \ dismx64.exe. Please note that during the installation phase the flash drive letter may differ from that used in a loaded system. To see the current letter, you can use the order of the command diskpart, list volume, exit (the second command will show the connected sections and their letters).
- Accept the license agreement.
- In the launched program, pay attention to two points in the upper part: on the left – Windows Setup, and on the right – Windows Click on Windows 10, and then click "Open Session".
- In the "Tools" – "Advanced" section, select "Accounts".
- Select the user for whom you want to reset the password and click the "Reset Password" button.
- Done, password reset (deleted). You can close the program, command line and installation program, and then boot the computer from the hard drive as usual.
Details about the Dism program and where to download it in a separate article Configuring and cleaning Windows 10 in Dism.
In the event that none of the options described above helps, perhaps you should explore ways from here: Restore Windows 10.