These days, you have accounts and passwords everywhere from apps to games and even the most essential services like email. Even though devices are transitioning to biometric security (face ID and fingerprint sensors), passwords are still extremely important. However, what do you do when you forget your password on something as crucial as your laptop? If this has happened to you, don’t panic. It’s not too late because we can show you how to reset password on Windows 10.
How to Reset Password on Windows 10 Step by Step
So, you forgot your password on Windows 10, and now you’re looking for a way to reset it. However, before we show you how to reset password on Windows 10, let’s first establish what kind of account you have.
Do you sign in via your Microsoft account or via a local account? Lately, most sign-in options on Windows 10 are through the user’s Microsoft account. In this guide, we’ll show you fixes for both methods.
How to Reset Password on Windows 10 With a Microsoft Account
If you sign in to your Windows 10 computer with your Microsoft Live account, then resetting your password is easy. It’s mostly similar to many password recovery features from other major online accounts. Here’s how to reset password on Windows 10 when signing in with your Microsoft account.
From Microsoft’s Website
- Go to Microsoft website’s password reset page from a different device.
- On the website, you’ll find three choices, namely: “I forgot my password,” “I know my password but can’t sign in,” and “I think someone else is using my Microsoft account.”
- Select “I forgot my password.”
- Enter your Microsoft account email address on the space provided.
- Type in the verification CAPTCHA and click on next.
- Select which method you can use to verify your identity. Microsoft will give you options to send a code to your email or phone number, depending on what you registered.
- Press send code.
You should get a code that will allow you to reset your Windows 10 if you forgot the password. Just type in your new password and make sure not to forget it this time.
Using a password manager application would be very helpful.
From Your Windows 10 Log-In Screen
- First, try to enter the password that you remember.
- If that doesn’t work, a link that says “I forgot my password” should show up. Click on it.
- A screen will show up entitled “Recover your account.” Enter your Microsoft account email address on the space provided and hit Next.
- On the dropdown selection menu, choose which medium you’d like to get your security code. Depending on what you registered beforehand, it could be your recovery email or phone number.
- Enter your full details (either email address or phone number) and press Get code.
- Check your phone/email for the verification code and enter it into the space provided.
- Reset your password by typing in a new one.
Afterward, you can try signing in again with your newly created password on your Windows 10 PC.
How to Reset Password on Windows 10 With a Local Account
If you’re using a local account, then learning how to reset password on Windows 10 is a little different. That’s because you can’t retrieve your account or reset your password through email or phone verification. Sure, using a local account has its benefits like privacy and security. However, it might give you headaches because it doesn’t have many recovery options available to it. With that said, let’s learn how to reset password on Windows 10 when using a local account.
1. Check Your Windows 10 Version
If you’re on Windows 10 version 1803 or later, you might have added security questions for account recovery. In that case, you can easily sign back in by supplying the correct answer to the security questions later.
2. Click on Reset Password
Try entering the password you remember or simply leave the field blank. Either way, hit enter, and when Windows says the password is incorrect, you’ll find a Reset password link. Click on this link to proceed to the next step.
3. Answer Your Security Questions
Most likely, you had security questions set up when you decided to use a local account. Just answer each question and press enter on your last answer.
4. Make a New Password
Once you’re done, Windows should redirect you to create a new password. Make sure to create one that you’ll remember this time around. Type in your password and then confirm it on the next line. Hit enter and you’re good to go.
How to Reset Password on Windows 10 With Administrator Account
If you created an admin account with an admin password, then resetting a local account’s password is easy. Let’s take a look at how to reset password on Windows 10 with an administrator’s account.
- Restart your Windows 10 PC.
- Log in to your administrator account.
- On your Windows 10 search, type in “Computer Management.” You should find results popping up. Select the top result shown.
- Find Local Users & Groups on the left column of the screen.
- Click on Users.
- Find the name of the account you can’t access. Once you do, click on Set Password to create a new password for that local account.
Take note that this method only works with unlocking local accounts. Moreover, it’ll only work if you already have an administrator’s account in the first place.
Also, you might find some files locked after resetting a local account’s password with this method. Keep that in mind the next time you try resetting using an administrator’s account.
How to Reset Password on Windows 10 With PCUnlocker
Third-party software is a lifesaver when it comes to unlocking your Windows 10 local account. All you need is to download the PCUnlocker on a bootable USB stick. However, do note that this may cost some money unless you opt for a free trial.
- Go to a computer you can access and download PCUnlocker onto the USB.
- Once your file is downloaded, unzip it and an ISO image file should pop up called “pcunlocker.iso”
- Use programs such as BurnCDCC or ISO2Disc to burn the image to a CD/DVD or a USB stick, respectively
- Turn on your locked computer.
- On the startup screen, press Esc, F1, F2, F8 or F10.
- Enter the BIOS setup utility.
- Go to the Boot Menu and select “Boot device priority” as your device of choice (CD/DVD or USB)
- Press F10 to save.
- Insert the USB or CD/DVD with PCUnlocker onto your computer.
- Restart your device.
- You should find the boot loading screen automatically come up.
- After booting, PCUnlocker should start.
- Select Reset Local Admin/User Password on the first item.
- Choose the SAM registry file for your Windows PC.
- You’ll find all your local accounts listed under the third item. Choose which account you want to unlock and hit Reset Password.
What’s Next If It Doesn’t Work?
Let’s say none of the given methods above work. Perhaps you don’t have security questions set up that you can use to reset your account. Maybe you’re on a version of Windows 10 before 1803. So, how can you reset password on Windows 10 if all else fails?
Call Microsoft (For Microsoft Account Users)
Things are a lot easier when you have a Microsoft account. However, if you can’t restore or reset your Microsoft account’s password for some reason, the next step is to call customer support. Just call the TechNet Help Center and they can walk you through what to do next.
Of course, they’ll also ask you your account’s security questions to verify your identity. If you can’t properly answer those questions, they will ask different questions related to your account’s activity. Once they verify your identity, Microsoft will hand you a temporary unlock code. You can use this code so that you can regain access to your account.
Reset Your PC (Last Resort)
Let’s say you’re using a version of Windows 10 before 1803 and there are no account recoveries available. If all else fails, the very last resort you should try is to reset your entire PC.
Does that sound drastic to you? That’s because it is. Trying this method should be the absolute last on your list because it will reset your entire PC quite literally. That means you lose all your settings, programs, and files. Still, if you’re desperate to use your computer again, you can follow these steps to reset your PC:
- Open your PC until it shows the Login screen.
- Hold the Shift key and click on the Power Icon.
- Hit Restart while you’re still holding the shift key.
- Once your device restarts, you’ll find a new screen that says “Choose an option.”
- On this screen, click on Troubleshoot and then “Reset this PC.”
- Lastly, you have to select Remove everything.
At this point, we hope you’ve said your goodbyes to all your files and programs on your PC. There’s no point in crying over spilled milk, so maybe just try to set up your PC again. Make sure that next time, you’ll remember the password you set on your local computer.
If you’ve successfully signed in to Windows 10, congratulations. However, if you opted for the last resort option (resetting your PC), our condolences. As you can see, losing or forgetting your password is terrible and can have drastic results. That’s why, if you want to make sure this doesn’t happen again, consider employing a few precautionary steps.
Password Reset Disk
If you’re using a Windows 10 version before 1803 and don’t want to update, it’ll be difficult to go on without security questions. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for local account precautionary steps. One such step that could be beneficial to you is to create a password reset disk.
A password reset disk is something that can help you reset a local account password via external disk or drive. All you need is a USB and your Windows 10 PC up and running. Afterward, just follow the given steps:
- Plug your USB into your Windows 10 PC.
- Go to your search bar on the Windows 10 taskbar and search “Create a password reset disk.”
- Select the top result that comes out.
- On the Forgotten Password Wizard, hit on the Next button.
- Select your USB drive and hit Next once more.
- At this point, you should still remember your local account’s password, right? Type that into the field and click on Next.
- After the wizard is done loading, hit Finish.
Passwords are long and complicated because they can contain alphanumeric and special characters. However, there are alternatives to passwords when it comes to signing in to Windows 10. If you use them instead of a regular password, you might not need to know how to reset password on Windows 10 at all.
These alternatives include logging in with a PIN (easy to remember a string of numbers), a picture password, or biometrics. Of course, you’ll only find the lattermost option on PCs that have the hardware to support it. Not every Windows 10 laptop has biometric recognition for fingerprint and Windows Hello, after all. Nonetheless, you’ll find the other two options readily available to any Windows 10 user. Consider setting them up instead of a regular password to save you the headache of remembering a complicated password.
Security Questions for Local Accounts
If you’re using a local account on your Windows 10, you can make how to reset password on Windows 10 easier by setting up security questions. This will make your local account recovery process a lot smoother. To do this, follow the given steps:
- Hit the Windows button on your keyboard and search for Settings. Once you find the settings app, click on it.
- Under settings, navigate to Accounts > Sign-In Options.
- Scroll to the Password section of sign-in options and click on the link that says “Update your security questions.”
- Enter your local account’s password
- Select the security questions you want to get in case you forget your account’s password. Type in the answer to each question. Make sure you can remember the answers to each so that you can recover your account easily.
- Click on Finish and you’re done.
Nobody likes to get locked out of their computer. Windows 10 makes it easier with the option to sign in with your Microsoft account as an alternative. However, not everyone likes to use their universal Microsoft account for their laptops. Most notably, company laptops and PCs with multiple users don’t realistically allow for it. That’s why having certain precautionary measures are important, even more than learning how to reset password on Windows 10.