Where are passwords stored in Windows?

Kamile Viezelyte
Cybersecurity Content Writer
where passwords stored in windows?

Managing your passwords for all your accounts can be a hassle, especially if you tend to forget them. Luckily, Windows stores most of your local accounts, so you can quickly and easily look them up. If you're wondering where your saved passwords are stored in different versions of Windows, take a look at these short tutorials and learn how to find them.

Where are passwords stored in Windows 10 and 11?

First, let's look at how to find passwords stored on your computer in Windows 10 and Windows 11. There are a few ways to do this – and they work the same on both operating systems. However, to successfully complete a few of the methods, you’re going to need access to your administrator password first.

As the name implies, an administrator password is a login code that you use to gain administrator-level access to your Windows device. You can use it to make significant changes to your computer, like installing or uninstalling software, making adjustments to your system, or accessing and changing your passwords. Keeping your administrator password secure and out of reach of any unauthorized users is crucial – misuse of administrator privileges can cause irreparable damage to your Windows system.

In some instances, the administrator password may be the same as the one you use to log in to your Microsoft account. However, if you’re not sure whether that’s the case, you can check your computer’s system first. To find your administrator password, you'll need to access the Windows registry. However, you must be extra careful — one wrong click could seriously disrupt your computer's operating system. You'll need to use the command prompt to access the registry and, in turn, your administrator password.

Registry editor

  1. Type “command prompt” in your Windows search bar.

  2. Click “Run as an administrator” in the window.

  3. A user account control window might pop up, asking if you allow the app to make changes on your device. Click “Yes.”

  4. The “Command prompt” window will appear.

  5. Type in regedit and hit “Enter.”

  6. The “Registry editor” window will appear.

  7. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” > “SOFTWARE” > “Microsoft” > “Windows NT” > “CurrentVersion” > “Winlogon”

  8. Now, scroll down to “DefaultPassword” and double-click it.

  9. A window will pop up, revealing the stored password.

As mentioned earlier, this method is risky because tampering with the Windows registry can damage your operating system. If you're nervous about meddling with the registry, here’s a simple guide to get a hold of your logins using the Microsoft recovery page.

Let’s get to the main event now – finding passwords stored in your Windows 10 or 11 computers. The first method we’re going to look at is how to locate your passwords using the credential manager:

Credential manager

  1. Go to the Windows “Control panel.”

  2. Click on “User accounts.”

  3. Click on “Credential manager.”

  4. Here you can see two sections: “Web credentials” and “Windows credentials.”

Under “Web credentials,” you can find the passwords you use to log in to various websites. “Windows credentials” hosts the rest of the logins on your computer.

  1. Once you find the account you were looking for, click the arrow on the right.

  2. In the drop-down tab, click “Show” next to the password.

  3. In the pop-up prompt, enter your administrator password. That’s it — you're done!

Now that one method is out of the way, let's take a look at another way to access your accounts by going through the command prompt.

Command prompt

Make your way to the Command prompt like you did to access your registry editor. In the window, type in this command:

  1. rundll32.exe keymgr.dll,KRShowKeyMgr

  2. Hit “Enter.”

  3. The “Stored user names and passwords” window will pop up.

Using these two methods you’ll be able to easily find passwords on your Windows 10 and 11 computers. However, always remember to double-check the commands you run for accuracy to avoid accidentally causing any issues.

Where are passwords stored in Windows 7?

What if you’re running an older version of Windows? Don’t worry – your passwords are safe there as well. Here's how to see saved passwords on Windows 7:

  1. Go to the “Start“ menu.

  2. Click on the “Control panel.”

  3. Go to “User accounts.”

  4. Click on “Manage your network passwords” on the left.

  5. You should find your credentials here!

But what if the issue is even bigger and you can’t log in to your computer in the first place? Forgetting your computer password can definitely be annoying. Fortunately, you can find a few relatively easy ways to recover your Windows 7 credentials. Check out our tutorials on how to reset your Windows 7 password.

Other ways to recover your passwords

The Windows operating system isn’t the only place where you can find your saved passwords. If you have enabled your browser to save your passwords, it’s possible to view and edit them later on. But how do you find your passwords if they’re stored online rather than in your operating system? If you’ve favored the convenience of browser-based password managers, we’ve got some tutorials on accessing your login details in Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Google Chrome.

That said, keep in mind that saving your login details in your browser isn’t always the best idea. While they may provide you convenience, they tend to be lacking in terms of security – especially if you’re using passkeys alongside passwords. Instead, we’ve got another great way for you to ensure you never lose your credentials without compromising their safety – the NordPass password manager. This tool keeps your passwords and passkeys safe, and lets you easily find them all in one place. NordPass syncs your credentials across all of your devices, so you never have to worry about forgetting your logins again. Don’t risk the possibility of realizing the credentials you need are missing from your Windows registry – start using NordPass today.

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