Windows 10 Password Reset: A Simple Guide

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 it ever again? Will you lose all your files and photos? Before the fear settles in 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 as 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. Mind that your recovery options might differ on personal and work computers.

How to reset Windows 10 password

  1. If you have a Microsoft account

    This is probably the easiest option. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. If you use a PIN to sign in

    This only works if you forgot your PIN, but remember your Microsoft password. Go to the login page and click on the ”I forgot my PIN” link, located under your PIN sign-in box. Enter your Microsoft password and click ”Next”. Choose how you want your security code to arrive. Once you receive it, enter it, set a new PIN, and sign back into your device.

  4. If you are still logged in

    If you forgot your Windows 10 password but are still logged in, you can change it by going to your command prompt. You can do so by typing “cmd” into your search bar. Right-click on the first result and select ”Run as administrator”. Enter the phrase below, but instead of ”account” and ”password” enter your account name and a new password. Hit ”Enter”.

    net user account password

  5. If you have an administrator account

    This option will only work if you already have an administrator account set up on your device. If so, restart your computer and sign in with this 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” and enter a new password.

  6. 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.

    To do so, 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” and then ”Reset this PC” and ”Remove everything.”

How to avoid being locked out

Prevention is better than cure. There are a few things you can do to prevent being locked out in the future:

  1. Create a password reset disk by using a USB drive. However, this will only help if you are using an older version than 1803 Windows 10, and you only have a local account.

  2. Alternatively, use a password manager. With a password manager, you can store all your passwords in one place and access them on any device, 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.

Save all your passwords in NordPass in a few clicks. Access them anywhere — all free.

Chad Hammond
Verified author
Chad loves traveling and technology. His global view and open-mindedness add interesting angles to various security topics. He has already traveled to over 80 countries and is not planning to stop any time soon.
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