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How to Recover or Reset a Lost Windows 10 User Account Password

Forgetting your password can be a nightmare for any Windows user. It can happen if you are setting up a new installation for the first time and you haphazardly created a password without thoughtfully thinking about what you were creating. It could even be a password for an account you do not use often. In this article, we discuss some ways you can get your password back or reset it on Windows 10 and earlier Windows Operating Systems.

Recover Lost Windows Password

Hints

The first place I would start before trying anything invasive is the hint feature. When you first created an account and password, you were also prompted to create a hint, which can be used to jog your memory and help remember it. If this does not work, then move on to the next step.

password hint

Log into another Administrator Account on the system and reset the account

If you have more than one account on the system (which hopefully you do.), log into the other account and reset the password for the user account, you forgot. Keep in mind; this would require that you know the password or know someone with an account on the system with Administrator privileges.

  • Press Windows key + R
  • Type: control userpasswords2
  • Hit Enter key on your keyboard
  • Select the account then click Reset password
  • Enter the new password and confirm it then click OK

reset password

Reset your Microsoft Account

Resetting your password is ideal, but what if you don’t have another account setup with Administrator privileges on your PC? If you used a Microsoft Account, try this trick. You’ll need access to your Microsoft Account Settings. So the first thing you will need to do is go to https://account.live.com/password/reset.

Then select I forgot my password then click Next.

Recover PW 1

Type your email address then enter the captcha code that appears.

Recover PW 2

Select the preferred method of delivering the code then click Send Code.

Recover PW 3

Once the code arrives, enter it and click Next to recover your account.

Recover PW 4

What if none of the above options are available to you?

Well, your next best option would be to perform a custom Windows install, create a new account and a password you can remember. Proceed to recover your personal files from the Windows.old folder and reinstall your applications and drivers. It’s a chore, but it’s the next best option. Here is how you do that:

  • Boot from your Windows setup media
  • Select your Language, Time and Keyboard Method then click Next
  • Click Install now
  • Wait while Setup starts
  • Accept the license terms and click Next
  • Click Custom
  • Select the Primary Partition then click Next

You will receive the following warning: The partition you selected might contain files from a previous Windows Installation. If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named Windows.old. You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will be able to use your previous version of Windows. Click OK and wait while Windows installs.

Custom install

When setup is complete, you can browse the root of the system drive and recover your personal files from your Windows.old folder.

windows old

I noticed when preparing this article, older functions such as the Create password reset disk does not seem to work anymore in Windows 10 or Windows 8x. If you are running an older version of Windows such as Windows 7 and you are not in this situation of needing to recover your password, now would be a good time to create one.

Ways to Prevent Losing Your Password

I should also mention these ways to avoid this situation is to create a passphrase you can remember for your Microsoft Account. After that’s set up, you can use a simple four-digit PIN instead of a password. For more on that read one of the following articles.

Also, you can set Windows to automatically log in. For obvious security reasons, this isn’t recommended if you share your PC or are in a public place. But if you live alone and know your situation is secure, it’s also an option. For more, read one of the following guides.

More Reading:

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21 Responses to How to Recover or Reset a Lost Windows 10 User Account Password

  1. Lisa nash December 20, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    When I set up my new computer I noticed at the end it took the wrong email and I can’t log on because it’s not taking my pass word the email it has is lnash0303 (AT) yahoo and pass word should be Austin03 how can I log on or will I need to unhook everything idk

  2. Lisa nash December 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    Help I need advise on what to do

  3. Brenda Bennett February 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    I can’t get back into my nextbook. It keeps saying my password is invalid.

  4. Aline February 18, 2016 at 3:08 am #

    Great article.Thanks

  5. june March 5, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

    just downloaded windows 10, followed every intruction, user name and password. whennit booted up, it wont let me in, saying wrong password, since i cant open my computer, i went to my cell phone and went on to their web site. acct.live.com/password/reset, and was ask to chang my password, it is no avail and now, my computer is lock down and cannot use, help

  6. Kees Korndorffer May 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

    What a windows 10 password nightmare…….

  7. Vivek Godara June 14, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

    If I have more than one account what I will do.

  8. Rudy VAldez July 1, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    My computer is locked and I cannot enter the letters of my password. I hit the reset password and a window pops up and says I have to insert USB flash drive and try again. Is this legit?

  9. azam July 16, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    When I created account I noticed at the end that it took wrong email and I can’t log on because it is not taking my password. How can I log on.plz tell me

    • Steve Krause October 9, 2016 at 12:53 am #

      Comments on articles here at groovyPost are not the best place for Tech Support. Please use the groovyPost Free Windows 10 Help Forum at – https://windows10.help

      Thanks!

      -Steve
      groovyPost.com

  10. Marsha July 20, 2016 at 4:55 am #

    windows 10 downloaded itself and now I’m locked out of all my needed documents. What can I do. It wont let me sign in.

  11. Kathleen Connelly August 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    I cannot reset my password. Please help me.

    • Steve Krause October 9, 2016 at 12:54 am #

      Comments on articles here at groovyPost are not the best place for Tech Support. Please use the groovyPost Free Windows 10 Help Forum at – https://windows10.help

      Thanks!

      -Steve
      groovyPost.com

  12. Lucia August 5, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    UUkeys Windows Password is my favorite tool to reset windows password without data loss. You can do it with a USB drive.

  13. Ngurang tamang August 8, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    I HV lost my windows 10 laptop password how to reset now plzz help me

  14. Anthony August 8, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    Wow. I can’t believe what I’m seeing so many others with the same problem I have I bought a computer the lady gave me her password the password worked for a week and a half and all of a sudden it stop saying that I need to use the last password that I put in there I didn’t change the password neither did she help what are we all supposed to do

    • Steve Krause October 9, 2016 at 12:54 am #

      Comments on articles here at groovyPost are not the best place for Tech Support. Please use the groovyPost Free Windows 10 Help Forum at – https://windows10.help

      Thanks!

      -Steve
      groovyPost.com

  15. Donna August 16, 2016 at 5:46 am #

    I’m locked out of my computer help

  16. Sheila matthews-Dunnell August 29, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    I can’t get into my page since I switched to window10 . it won’t take my password. HELP.

  17. Pamela Nunley August 31, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    I can’t login to my computer. I bought it used and I don’t have the previous owners password. How can I unlock the screen to set up my account?

    • Steve Krause October 9, 2016 at 12:54 am #

      Comments on articles here at groovyPost are not the best place for Tech Support. Please use the groovyPost Free Windows 10 Help Forum at – https://windows10.help

      Thanks!

      -Steve
      groovyPost.com

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