Losing the password to an account for Windows 10 is both annoying and scary. It has happened to all of us, although it was usually a typo or Caps Lock that was left enabled. But what if, no matter how many combinations you tried, you remain unable to log back in? There are ways to recover some user data through other accounts, and visiting the Users/Documents folders in the C: drive. However, we don’t think that’ll replace the feeling and benefits of having access to a familiar desktop and your personal files. That’s our primary motivation for demonstrating how to recover Windows 10 password. Let’s begin.
1. Windows 10 password recovery via an Administrator account
When installing Windows 10, the operating system creates a user account simply named “Administrator” without a password attached to it. So, when you’re at the sign-in screen, do this:
- Enter “Administrator” as username.
- Leave the password field blank.
- Click on the right arrow (→) or press Enter on the keyboard.
2. Bypass Windows 10 password requirement at the sign-in screen
Here’s an alternative way to circumvent Windows 10’s password request like this:
1. Local account
This only works if you’re using Windows 10 version 1803 and later. If yours is older, move on to the next method. Now, here’s how to reset the password on Windows 10 at the sign in-screen:
- Click on Reset password.
- Based on security measures you have set up in the past, do one of the following:
- Enter your PIN.
- Answer your security questions.
- Tip. If you set up biometric security (fingerprint, facial recognition), this might appear as an option.
- Enter a new password twice.
- Log in with the new password.
2. Microsoft account
If you’re using a Microsoft account as a Windows 10 user account, follow the instructions to recover the Microsoft account from another computer or mobile device.
3. Recovery via Windows 10 Password Reset Disk
For this method, you must have created a Windows 10 Password Reset Disk in the past. If you have, here’s how to restart the password on Windows 10:
- Plug the flash drive with the Password Reset Disk file.
- At the Windows 10 login screen, click on Reset password.
- A Password Reset Wizard window will open.
- Click on Next, select the drive letter the USB drive occupies, then Next again.
- Type a new password twice, then add a password hint before clicking Next.
- Click on Finish, then sign in with the new password.
4. Recover Windows 10 password via Command Prompt
Command Prompt is a powerful Windows utility, but first, you must find a way to open it when locked out. We’ll show you how to do it, then how to use it to regain access to Windows 10.
1. Replace Ease of Access with Command Prompt
Clever users came up with a workaround that includes replacing Utility Manager (known as Ease of Access) with Command Prompt. There are 2 ways to achieve this:
1. Use Automatic Repair
- Start your PC, and at the Windows logo screen, turn off your PC abruptly.
- When it boots back up, you’ll be at the Automatic Repair screen.
- Click on Advanced Options, then go to Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery.
- Click on the Cancel button in the Re-image your computer window.
- After clicking on Cancel again, on the next screen, choose Advanced > Install a driver > OK.
- A Windows Explorer window opens. Go to This PC > Local Disk (C:) > Windows > System32 > find a file named utilman.exe.
- Right-click on it, select Rename and name it utilman-old.exe.
- Find the cmd.exe file, make a backup/copy of it, then rename it to utilman.exe.
- Exit the window, click on Exit and Continue to Windows 10, and you are taken to the sign-in screen.
2. Use a USB installation drive
First, you must boot Windows 10 installation media – check our permanently deleted photos recovery article. Follow steps 1 through 6 under the headline How to restore photos from a Windows backup? When you’re on the Setup page, do this:
- Press Shift + F10 on your keyboard.
- A Command Prompt window will open.
- Paste this into the Command Prompt window:
move c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe.bak
- Press Enter.
- Now, paste this:
copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
- Press Enter again.
- Now, initiate computer restart by typing:
- Press Enter, then eject the USB drive.
- You’ll be at the Windows 10 login screen.
2. Reset Windows 10 user account password
Here’s how Win 10 admin password reset works:
- Click on the Utility Manager/Ease of Access icon in the bottom right corner.
- A Command Prompt window will pop up instead. You can now recover Windows 10 password in 3 ways:
1. Use Administrator account (Easy)
This will activate a disabled Administrator account. Here’s how:
- Type the following before you press Enter:
net user administrator /active:yes
- Close the window, then follow instructions in method 1.
- Follow the 2nd part of option 3 (fresh desktop) to change the account password.
2. Change the current account password (Fast and easy)
This is the fastest way to recover an account password for Windows 10:
- Type the following before pressing Enter:
net user [Username] *
- For example, net user DRP *
- You are now asked to set a new password. Enter it twice, pressing Enter in-between.
- Close the window and sign in with the newly recovered Windows 10 password.
3. Create a new user account (Educational)
Many users find it hard to understand what’s happening because the process isn’t visual. Here’s a user-friendly but longer version:
- Create a new user account by typing this:
net user [username] /add
- Replace [username] with the name of the new user account, then press Enter.
- Now, assign it administrator privileges like this:
net localgroup administrators [username] /add
- Press Enter, close the window, then restart your PC.
- After the restart, click on the user account name in the bottom left corner, and sign in.
I’m on a fresh desktop. What now?
Do this to reset that user account password on Windows 10:
- Right-click on the Start menu in the bottom left corner.
- Select Computer Management from the list.
- In the left sidebar, expand Local Users and Groups.
- Click on Users.
- Find your old user account in the bar in the middle. Right-click on its name.
- Select Set Password…
- When prompted, click on Proceed.
- Enter the new password twice.
- Click on OK, close the Computer Management window, and sign out of the freshly created account.
- Log in to your original user account with the new password.
- Recommended. Delete the user account you just created because you (presumably) won’t use it. Repeat steps 1-5, then select Delete under step 6.
5. Contact Microsoft
We mentioned this possibility for Windows 10 password recovery under method 8 in our “recover Windows 10 product key” guide.