It is possible to reset user passwords in Windows using both official methods and unofficial hackish methods. Needless to say, the official methods work only if you have taken some precautions in advance, or if you can prove some way or other that you are authorized to use the account in question. Obviously, Microsoft will not provide an official tool which allows absolutely anyone to bypass Windows user account protection.
It is advisable to try the official methods first. What if the official methods are not applicable to your situation? You don’t have to lose hope; there are reasonably reliable unofficial methods available. One caveat though; If you are using full disk encryption, you are out of luck. In the absence of full disk encryption, computers security is very vulnerable to anyone who has physical access to the computer. This vulnerability may prove to be a boon for you.
Reset a local account password when you already have a password reset disk
Windows allows you to create a password reset disk in advance, in case you forget your password later. If you have already created one, then resetting the password is easy. Type in a random password into the password box and hit ENTER, the password reset option would appear.
Plug in the password reset disk and click Reset password; you will get the option to reset the password. You can find out more about creating and using the reset disk here: https://aavtech.site/2018/02/03/creating-and-using-a-password-reset-disk-in-windows/.
Change the password of another user using an administrator account
You can easily reset the password of another Windows user if you are signed into an account with administrative rights.
- Launch Control Panel
- User Accounts ➾ Manage another account
- Choose the user whose password you want to change
- Select “Change the password” option
- Type in the new password
- Click change password button
Change Microsoft account password
If you are using a Microsoft account and not a local account, you can reset your password by going to the Microsoft website using some other device. Please note that this method would work only if the computer you are trying to log into has some kind of always-on internet connection. If the computer is not connected to the Internet at the time of logging in, the password change will not be visible to Windows and it will keep asking for the old password. The option to reset the password can be found at https://account.live.com/password/reset. In this page, choose I forgot my password option.
Enter Email/Phone/Skype name
Use the email or phone number associated with your Microsoft account to verify your identity.
You will receive a verification code in your email or phone; use it to complete the verification.
Now you can type in the new password
Remove the password of a local account without logging in (hack)
If none of the above solutions are applicable to you, then you have to try one of the unofficial methods. Many third-party password reset software are available. There are also some advanced hacks for resetting the password without using any software. It is difficult to be certain about the reliability of such software or hacks. I tried the Lazesoft Recovery Suite which seemed reliable to me, and it worked. Given below is a description of how to use this tool for removing the password.
There are no guarantees for the reliability of these type of software, since they modify Windows settings in a way that is not officially supported by the OS. So use it only as a last resort and be aware of the risks.
What you need
In order to use Lazesoft Recovery Suite, you must have access to another Windows computer. You have to first install Lazesoft Recovery Suite on the other computer and use it to create a bootable recovery disk. Then you can use this disk to boot into the machine whose password you want to reset. The reason why there is a need to install Lazesoft Recovery Suite on another computer is that it creates a customized Windows PE boot disk. It is illegal to distribute Windows PE boot disks; they have to be created by users themselves on Windows computers.
If you do not have access to another Windows computer, you could try to find a Linux based password reset utility. Linux boot disks can be distributed legally. You will still need a computer to download the software. But since there is no need to install any software, a Windows-Linux dual-boot computer or friend’s computer would do. I could not find any Linux based password reset utility which works on my computer. However, two slightly old software, “Offline Windows Password & Registry Editor” and Ophcrack are known to work for many Windows 10 users.
Lazesoft Recovery Suite can be downloaded from here https://www.lazesoft.com/download.html. The home edition is free for personal use.
Step 1: Create a bootable recovery disk using a second computer
Install Lazesoft Recovery Suite on your second computer.
Run the program and select the Burn CD/USB stick option.
In this window, you need to select the operating system of the computer whose password you want to reset. If the computer you are using now happen to have the same OS version as the target computer, it is better to choose “same as this computer”, since it seems to prevent the software from unnecessarily downloading WinPE components from Microsoft’s website.
From the media-builder window choose one of the three options and click start. The CD/DVD option allows you to burn a boot CD. The USB Flash option allows you to create a bootable USB stick. If you choose this option the USB stick you choose will be formatted; make sure to use an empty one or make a backup first. The ISO image option allows you to create an ISO image, which can be burned to a CD/DVD later.
Step2: Use recovery disk to remove password from the target computer
After the Boot CD or Bootable USB has been created, you can use it to boot into the computer you are locked out off.
If you are using UEFI there is a simple standard way of booting to another device; you can read about it here: boot from a USB Drive or an Optical Drive using Windows 10. This method works the same on all computers which have Windows 8 or Windows 10. Please note that you don’t need to be logged into Windows to use the shift+restart option mentioned on that page. The restart option on the Windows login screen works as well.
If you are using old BIOS, then the method varies between computers. The easiest way is to restart the computer, enter the boot menu and choose the CD or USB drive to boot from. On my computer F10 is the key used for entering the boot menu. You might find that your computer uses a different key; some of the commonly used keys are F1 F2 and F12. Usually, the key required is displayed on the splash screen shown during computer start-up. This key has to be pressed while the computer is booting up.
If the boot menu does not work for some reason, you will have to go to the BIOS settings and change the boot order. Set the CD or USB drive, as the case may be, as the first boot device. If you are using a USB disk, you may need to enable USB boot in the BIOS as well. Once again, the keyboard shortcut for entering the BIOS settings differ between computers.
Here is one thing to watch out for; in Windows 10, fast-startup is enabled by default. On some computers, this will prevent you from accessing the boot menu or BIOS/UEFI settings. Fast-startup is used only during shutdowns, not restarts. So if fast-startup is preventing you from accessing BIOS/UEFI settings, just restart the computer.
Using Lazesoft Recovery Suite:
Once the computer boots up from the recovery disk, choose the Password Recovery option
You will be asked to select the Windows installation; if you have only one Windows installation, just click next.
Choose the user whose password you want to reset.
Click the reset/unlock button, the password will be removed. The next time you log in to this account, Windows will not ask for a password.