How do I recover the Windows password? A step-by-step guide

I have forgotten my password!” No panic. We’re here. If you look helplessly at a screen where after many attempts to log into Windows you can see the message “The password is incorrect, try again”, know that many people have encountered this problem. And where there is a problem, we try to find solutions. There are ways to recover your Windows password. What are the ways? read our step-by-step guide!

In the article, we assumed that the goal is to get through the procedure of logging into a computer / laptop operating under the control of the Windows system, without knowledge of the account password, with which we want to log in. The system version is less important. Although we have prepared a detailed description of the procedure for deleting the access password to the operating system based on the activities carried out by us on a computer with Windows 8.1, but – unless we have written otherwise – we do the same and use the same tools in case of a forgotten password in Windows10, Windows XP , Windows Vista or Windows 7.

What will we need? First of all, the right software. There are many solutions on the Internet that allow you to reset the access password to the Windows user account (any version of it) – we will not present all possible scenarios here. We will focus on one situation here: the inability to log in to a computer running Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10.

The “Windows Reset Password / Registry Editor” software developed by the Norwegian programmer Petter Nordahl-Hagen will be an indispensable tool used in our advice. Unlike many other methods and tools, the program we propose does not require downloading the entire Linux distribution, it is very easy to use (and despite the lack of a graphical interface, which may frighten less experienced computer users) and does exactly what we expect from it – allows you to reset the access password to any local Windows user account, regardless of the level of permissions that the account has. Another reason for choosing such and not other software is the price. The Nordahl-Hagen program is released free of charge under the GNU-GPL v2 license and is regularly updated.

Download / ISO image Offline NT Password Reset

Files for USB install

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The necessary software for resetting the Windows user account password is distributed in the form of two archive files in the ZIP format. The first of the files is a zipped image data in ISO format to be burned to a CD, which then we will run a computer that you can not get to. The second one is an archive containing data to be copied to a USB flash drive.

There is no need to use both files – it’s a matter of choosing which medium you want to run from: CD (first file) or USB flash drive (second file).

If the computer you want to access is equipped with an optical drive, we recommend that you burn the bootable disc and run the password reset program from this media.

If the computer with blocked access is without a CD / DVD reader, then we have no way out and the only solution is to create a bootable media with a password erase program in the form of a USB flash drive.

Preparation of the USB flash drive

If the computer with blocked access is without a CD / DVD reader, then we have no way out and the only solution is to create a bootable media with a password erase program in the form of a USB flash drive.

We connect the flash drive to the computer on which we prepare the bootable media. If you have not already done so, we download a ZIP file with the program data for resetting the Windows password, and then we unpack the contents of the archive to a flashdisk connected to the computer. Important – there is no need to format the pendrive, it is important that the contents of the unpacked archive be in the root directory of the removable media, not in a subfolder.

Further actions are identical in both Windows editions (10/8.1/7). After opening the Command Prompt window, change to the main directory and run the syslinux.exe command with the parameters given in the following illustration. Of course, if in your case the letter under which the pen drive is visible in the system is different (as shown on our test computer, the pen drive was represented by the letter G :), make the appropriate changes to the command.

Password reset

Restart the computer with the usb disk inserted. If you have correctly set the boot device order in the BIOS, something like this will appear on the screen

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This is the welcome screen of Petter Nordahl-Hagen’s software. If you do not want to wait, you can immediately press the Enter key to go to the next stage.

After the discs are detected, the program waits for the correct disk number to be entered. In most cases, simply press the Enter key, because the program by default selects the drive on which he found the installed windows.

Now the program asks what part of the system registry to be read into memory (for later editing). Since we are interested in resetting a forgotten password, we select the default option marked with number 1 by default. just press Enter.

In the next step, press “Enter” again.

The next step is selecting the account whose access password you want to reset. The list of detected accounts is displayed at the bottom of the screen in the form of a text table. In addition to the account names of individual users (Username column), the standard Administrator account is also displayed.

After entering the RID of the account whose password you want to reset, the program displays additional information about the selected account (Account bits section), eg it is disabled (disabled) or the password does not expire (Pwd do not expir).

In the case of the Administrator account, first unlock it by selecting option 2, and then reset the password by selecting option 1 (selecting the option is simply entering the number representing it and confirming it by pressing the Enter key). After resetting the password, the program will display the message Password cleared!

Because we do not want to do anything more with the given account, we leave the edit screen of the account settings by pressing q and confirming by pressing the Enter key. In this way we will return to the previous menu (selection of the user’s account, displaying the list of groups, etc.), from which we select the Quit option, ie again the q and Enter key.

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