Reset forgotten Windows administrator password

Here are three ways to reset a forgotten admin password on a Windows computer.

lock windows

Forgetting your password is something that can happen to anyone. For example, if you dig up your old laptop, you may not remember the password you set then.

Or you may be logged in as an administrator on your current PC without using a password, and you may be prompted for a password after a Windows upgrade.

If you are generally organizational and have the code written somewhere or if you use a password manager then things are easy. But if you have not saved the password then read three ways to reset the administrator password in Windows.

Microsoft account or local account

For your information, the admin account and therefore the admin password on Windows systems can follow two main categories. Be it a local account or be one account to Microsoft.

The difference is obvious. If you connected your Microsoft account to the operating system when you installed Windows, then you are using the same password that you logged in remotely to Microsoft. So the code that gives you administrator privileges on your machine is in the Microsoft database.

1. Reset your Windows Administrator password with a Microsoft account

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One of the major benefits of using a Microsoft account with Windows 10 is that you can reset your password by going through Microsoft tools without much hassle.

First, make sure you can not really access your Microsoft account (your keyboard may have a key or something similar stuck and the password is not passed correctly).

Go to on your phone or other computer, and try to sign in to the Microsoft account you're using on your computer, making sure you do not write anything wrong.

If you still can not sign in, please reset your Microsoft password. Go to Microsoft password reset page to get started, though keep in mind that you can also reset your password from the Windows 10 login screen.

After verifying your credentials with the information you entered in your account, the company page will guide you through resetting your Microsoft account password. Once this is done, use the new password to log in to your computer.

It is worth noting that if you have a Microsoft account, you will need to take a few minutes to update your security information at page of your Microsoft account.

microsoft account

Adding a phone number and secondary email address gives you options for easily resetting your password. Without them, it is much more inconvenient.

A little forethought now makes it much easier to reset your administrator password in the future.

2. Reset a local administrator password using the asynchronous keys

If you do not use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows, you will need to reset the password for a local account.

Windows 10 lets you set security questions for local accounts that help you easily return to the lock screen if you forget your password. If you have not already set them up, they just will not help you now.

If the locked account is the only administrator account on your computer, then you must first find a solution to start a command line with administrator privileges. For this trick follow the procedure below.

However, if you have an administrator account on the computer other than the one you are locked in, you do not need to follow all of these steps. In this case, log in to the other administrator account on your computer and change the password of the locked password using the command line with administrator privileges. This solution as you understand does not require you to go to so many points, so follow the instructions from Step 9 onwards.

Create a command prompt with administrator privileges without logging in
The following trick is a hack quite complicated but relatively simple to perform. He tricks windows by making them launch a command line with administrator privileges, while they think they are launching another function which has de facto administrator privileges. Pay attention to what you need to do:
Step 1: Initially, you will need to create a Windows 10 bootable disk on a flash drive. This will obviously require another computer, as you can not access your own.

Step 2: Once you have done this, insert the drive into your computer (which does not have the password), and configure it so that you can boot from the new installation on the flash drive. On most machines, you have to press F12 or a similar key as soon as you turn on your computer to enter the bios and select the range of devices from which it will try to boot.

Boot from the flash drive, let the Windows installer load, and when you see the Windows installation home screen, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt (it does not currently have administrator privileges).

windows setup screen

Step 3: Next, you need to know in which partition the Windows installation is located. Usually, this will be the C: drive, but it may be different for you. To check, type the following command, which will change the current command line directory to the root of drive C: (or whatever letter you enter).

cd /d C:

If the command "The system is unable to detect the specified drive" returns, then this letter is incorrect. try D and continue the English alphabet down. Once you find the correct drive, you will need to change the directory again using the cd (change directory) command. Type this line to access the System32 folder:

cd Windows\System32

If you see "The system is unable to detect the specified drive path", you have selected a drive other than the one in which Windows is located. Replace the drives with a different letter and try again and again until you find the right one.

Step 4: Once in the System32 folder, you can do a little trick. Windows includes a accessibility called Sticky Keys, which you can start by pressing the Shift key five times quickly.

Beware now: By exchanging the Sticky Keys executable file with a link to the command prompt executable file, you can run an administrator command prompt to reset your password directly from the login screen.

To do this, enter these two commands, one at a time. The first one creates a copy of the Sitcky Keys shortcut in the C: \ Windows folder (.. is a shortcut to move to the parent folder), so you can restore it later. The second replaces the Sticky Keys shortcut with a command line shortcut. If you are asked to approve either, do so.

copy sethc.exe ..
copy cmd.exe sethc.exe


Then type this command to restart the computer and return to the normal login screen:

wpeutil reboot

In earlier versions of Windows, you could just run it renamed shortcut to access a command prompt directly from the login screen.

However, the Microsoft Defender now excludes these efforts, so an extra step is required. If you are using an older version of Windows 10 or still using Windows 8 or an earlier version, you can press Shift five times on the login screen to open a command prompt.

In modern versions of Windows 10, you will need to restart in safe mode for it to work.

Step 5: To do this, click on the menu Power in the lower right corner of the login screen. Then hold down Shift key and click Restart. If you see a warning that a restart might result in a job loss, click Restart anyway.

lock windows

Step 6: You will then see the advanced settings menu. Click on “Troubleshooting> Advanced Options> Boot Settings" and after Restart.

Step 7: Your computer will restart and then ask you which boot option you want to use. Press the 4 key to select Enable safe mode.

This loads Windows only with the basic drivers and services, preventing Microsoft Defender from blocking the solution !!.

windows safe mode

Step 8: When restarting the Windows logon screen in safe mode, press Shift five times quickly. This should display a command prompt, which has administrator access !.

If for any reason it does not display the command prompt, repeat the steps in the section above, but use utilman.exe instead of setch.exe as the file you renamed. Then restart in safe mode and click on the icon Ease of access at the bottom right of the login screen, and hopefully it will display the Command Prompt.

windows cmd sign in screen

You can now reset your account password, create a new account, or perform similar actions.

Reset password via a command prompt with administrator privileges

Step 9: To reset your account password with a command prompt open, enter it first net user to view all accounts on your machine.

You can then change the password for an account using the following command (Replace your account username and password with the new username and password you want to set):

net user username password

If you want to create a new user, either as a backup or because your master account is not working properly, enter the following (again, change the username and password for the new user name and password:

net user username password /add

Then run this command to make the new user an administrator:

net localgroup Administrators username /add

You have now changed your account password and can sign in again using it. If you do not want to work in safe mode, restart your computer and reconnect normally.

Reset the asynchronous keys to normal

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Once you have successfully logged in to your account or created a new one, you are almost ready. The only step left now is to reset the asynchronous key shortcut.

Log in to your computer with the account you re-accessed. Then search for Start menu for cmd and click Run as administrator when the command prompt appears in the results. That is, you provide administrator permission to a command line.

Then use this command to reset the Sticky Keys shortcut:

robocopy C:\Windows C:\Windows\System32 sethc.exe /B

Robocopy is a more powerful copy function that is needed as you now change a system file. After executing the command, pressing Shift five times will bring up the Sticky Keys window again, which means that you have returned to normal.

3. Reset the password by booting from USB Linux

If the above method does not work, another way to reset the administrator password is to use a Linux bootable USB drive. Using a tool in the Linux environment, you can have the Windows password.

Step 1: Create a boot drive on Linux
First, you need to create a Linux-enabled USB drive on another computer. It does not matter which Linux you use. If you're not sure, Ubuntu and Mint are two beginner's friendly options.

Once you have made the USB drive, insert it into your locked computer and set it to boot from the bottle. To do this, start the locked computer and look for the key that will put you in the bios (F12, or ESC, or Delete). From there, set the computer's boot order.

See our guide if you do not know how to change the boot order on your computer.

Step 2: Once you choose to boot from USB, give Linux some time to get started.

Depending on the distribution you choose, you may boot directly into a Linux environment, or you may need to complete some setup tasks, such as setting your time zone, etc. If you are prompted to install Linux on your computer, do not do so. Click "Test" or something similar to stay alive.

You will need to open the operating system file exploration application. In Ubuntu, this is the folder icon on the left sidebar. If you are using Mint, there is a folder icon in the lower left corner, such as Windows.

Step 3: Mount the Windows drive
With a file explorer open, tap Ctrl + L to edit the location path and type this to see all your drives:


Find the drive on which you installed Windows. If you only have one hard drive on your computer, it will be the only one there. In the example below, the "File System" is the Linux environment, so the VBox hard drive is the correct Windows drive.

Right-click on the Windows drive and select Mount to access Linux.

ubuntu mount

Step 4: Now, you will need to work on the Linux terminal. Do not worry, it's not scary, even if you are young. The shortcut for opening the Terminal in Mint and Ubuntu is Ctrl + Alt + T .

First, you need to install a password reset utility called chntpw. Type this command to install it:

sudo apt-get install chntpw

ubuntu chntpw

Step 5: Next, you need to change the terminal work directory (cd command means directory change) in the Windows folder.

To find the correct location, go back to the file browser and open the Windows drive. See the Windows> System32 folder. Now, click on the address bar at the top of the file browser window and use Ctrl + C to copy the address.

Return to Terminal, right-click and paste the copied address, placing it after the cd command. You will also need to add / config at the end of the address.

This folder does not always appear in the file browser, but adding it manually will work.

Basically, the command you are running should look like this:

cd /media/mint/DA6C861A6C85F215/Windows/System32/config

Step 6: Then get a list of Windows users by entering this (the character before SAM is a lowercase "l" from the "list"):

sudo chntpw -l SAM

linux chntpw user list

You should see the user whose password you want to reset to this list. To ensure that you only make changes to this user, type the following command, replacing USER NAME with the username you need to edit.

If it's a one-word username like "Dimitris", you do not need quotes. For multi-word usernames like "Dimitris iguru", put quotation marks around the words, otherwise it will not work:

sudo chntpw -u "USER NAME" SAM

chntpw linux windows password

Step 7: In the next question, type 1 and press Enter. This will clear the user's password, allowing you to log in without a password.

Pressing 2 the user's account will be unlocked, but this only applies if the account is deactivated. And if needed, you can use it 3 to make the user an administrator.

Type q to exit chntpw onwards y to save your changes.

You are now done with the Linux environment. In Ubuntu, the function icon is on the top right. In Mint, click the Menu button at the bottom right to find the power options.

Restart Windows and you can sign in to your account using the blank password. Once in, you should head to Settings> Accounts> Login Options and select Password to set a new password, as leaving your account unsecured is not smart.

How to avoid losing your Windows password in the future

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Although none of these methods are terribly difficult, they are nevertheless inconvenient. We'm sure you do not want to lose your password again in the future and look for ways to reset it. There are several rules to prevent this from happening again.

First, if you do not already have a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 10, we recommend that you do so. This way, you can easily reset your password via the web interface if you ever forget it.

Even if you do not use a Microsoft account, setting a PIN in your Windows account gives you another sign-in option that is easier to remember.

We also recommend that use a password manager to securely store all your passwords. When using a password manager, you need to remember only a few passwords instead of tens or hundreds.

Finally, Windows also lets you create a password reset disk to avoid these lengthy methods of dealing with lost passwords. Plug in a flash drive, then look for the "password reset disk" in the Start menu to start the tool Create a password reset disk .

password reset disk

Follow the steps to create a recovery disc using the flash drive. If you are locked out of your account in the future, you can connect this drive to regain access.

This works independently from how many times you change your password, but keep in mind that anyone who has the drive can use it to access your account. Keep it SAFE!

Forgot your Windows Administrator Password? No problem
Forgetting your password is not fun and it is difficult to reset a Windows administrator password. But at least it is possible.

Anyone can use these methods and with a little time and patience things will be better than a complete reinstall of Windows because you were locked out. And with a little preparation, you can prevent it from happening again in the future.

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