We keep so much valuable information on our laptops that forgetting your Windows 10 password can cause mild panic. What if you can’t access your computer ever again? Will you lose all your files and photos? Before the fear settles or you make any drastic decisions, review the following options that may help to reset your password in Windows.
First, you need to figure out what type of account you have because it will determine what options are available. Windows 10 supports two types of accounts: a local account, which only exists on your device, and a Microsoft account, which can exist on your device but is also linked to a global database. Keep in mind that your recovery options might differ on personal and work computers.
How to reset your Windows 10 password via a Microsoft account
Resetting a Windows 10 password is probably easiest if you have a Microsoft account directly linked to a device that runs Windows 10. Here’s how you can do it:
Go to the Microsoft account password recovery page and enter the email, phone, or Skype name that is linked to your account.
Microsoft will need to verify your identity, so choose how you want the verification code to arrive: by email, phone call, or text.
Once you receive the code, enter it and create a new password. Voilà!
Remember, you can reset your Windows 10 password from the log-in screen as well. Here’s a quick roundup of how to do it:
On your PC’s lock screen, click “I forgot my password” and sign in with your Microsoft account.
Now type out the code that is shown on your screen to prove that you’re not a robot and click “Next.”
Choose a recovery email address or phone number and click “Send code.”
Log into the account you chose for recovery, fill in the code you were sent on the screen, then enter a new password – and you’re done!
Just in case you might need it, here’s a detailed guide for resetting and changing your Microsoft account password.
How to reset your Windows 10 local password
In case you don’t have a Microsoft account linked to your Windows 10 account, you will need to reset your local password. However there are a few caveats in doing so:
If you have a security question
This option will only work if you use Windows 10 version 1803 or later, and if you have a local account.
On the login screen, under your username, click the “Reset password” link.
Answer your security question.
Create a new password, and log into your account.
If you have an administrator account
This option will only work if you already have an administrator account set up on your device.
Restart your computer and sign in with an administrator account.
In the Windows 10 search bar, type “Computer management” and select the top result.
In the left-hand column, find “Local users & groups” and select “Users.”
Right-click the account you need to reset the password for, click “Set password.”
Enter a new password.
If none of the above work
If you are using an older version of Windows and can’t use any of the options above, your last hope to retrieve your device is to reset it. However, this means that you’ll lose all your data and settings.
Go to the login screen, hold “Shift” and “Power,” and select “Restart.”
When your device restarts, you should see the “Choose an option” screen.
Click “Troubleshoot,” “Reset this PC,” and “Remove everything.”
How to change your Windows 10 password
If you forgot your Windows 10 password but are still logged in, you can change it in a couple of different ways.
Changing your password via sign-in options
Click “Start” and select “Settings.”
Click “Sign-in options” and select “Password.”
Enter a new password and confirm it for the changes to take place.
Changing your password via command prompt
Type “cmd” into your search bar.
Right-click on the first result and select ”Run as administrator.”
Click “Sign-in options” and select “Password.”
Enter the phrase below, but instead of “account” and “password” enter your account name and a new password.
net user account password
How to avoid being locked out
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a few things you can do to prevent being locked out in the future:
Create a password reset disk by using a USB drive. However, this will only help if you are using a version older than 1803 Windows 10, and you only have a local account.
Update security questions or add them if you haven't done so. These will serve as a sort of backdoor access in case of an emergency.
Alternatively, use a password manager. With a password manager, you can store all your passwords in one place and access them on any device, at any time. All you need to remember is one Master Password. So next time you are in a situation like this, don’t panic — you can open a password manager on your mobile and find your login credentials in a matter of seconds.
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