Creating and using a password reset disk in Windows

Windows allows you to create a password reset disk, in case you forget your password later. Using this disk you can easily reset your password.

Limitations

  • Password reset disks can be created only for local accounts and not for Microsoft accounts.
  • A password reset disk can be used to reset the password of only the account which was used to create the disk.
  • Creating a password reset disk is a precautionary measure; it cannot be done after you have forgotten your password.
  • Password reset disks can be created only on USB drives and not on CD/DVD drives.

If you have not created a password reset disk and want to reset the password, please read the article: 4 methods for resetting passwords in Windows 10. One of those methods might work for you.

Windows do not format the disk while creating the reset disk, but Microsoft recommends that you should back up the files on your USB disk in advance. 

Create the disk

Launch Control Panel  ➾ User Accounts ➾ Create a password reset disk.

After you create the reset disk, you will find a file named userkey.psw in the root of the USB flash drive. The password reset disk will work even after you have changed the password of your account. However, if you were to create a new reset disk, the old disk would become unusable.

Fix for “Create a password reset disk” option not working

If you are using windows 10, make sure to access “Create a password reset disk” option as shown above through Control Panel ➾ User Accounts. The create reset disk option is also directly accessible from Windows search as shown below, but this seems to lead to the Forgotten Password Wizard application not launching properly. It launches but its UI never becomes visible.

Launching from the Start Menu

If you tried to start the app via Windows Search first, you may find that the Control Panel option is also not working now. This is because the app is running in the background without a UI. You will have to close it first, before trying to launch it again. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to launch Task Manager and find an entry named Forgotten Password Wizard. You will find this under process “Windows host process (Rundll32)”. Forgotten Password Wizard is a DLL loaded using rundll32 executable, that is why it is shown that way. Right-click on “Windows host process (Rundll32)” and select End task.

Password manager with rundll32 highlighted

Reset Password

Type in a random password into the password box and hit ENTER, the password reset option would appear.

Windows login screen with password reset option visible

Plug in the password reset disk to your computer and click Reset password; you will get the option to reset the password. Here is a video showing all the steps.

 

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