How to log in to Windows if you forget your password

It has happened to all of us that, between the different passwords of each platform and the constant obligation to change them from time to time, we end up with a forgotten password. While this is not always a drama, one of the worst scenarios is not being able to log in to Windows and access our computer.

reset windows password

That is why we want to offer this tutorial, in which we will review and teach, step by step, several methods to regain control of your equipment, ordered according to their level of invasiveness and risk.

Reset the Windows password using your Microsoft account

If after creating it, you added the security questions to your Windows account settings, you only have to select the forgotten password option through the “Reset Password” dialog box that will appear after entering a wrong password.

From here, you only have to answer these questions correctly (in the case of Windows 10 you will need to be updated to version 1803 or higher), you can rewrite a new password for your account. Once this is done, you will only have to log in normally, and using the new password.

The biggest drawback of this method is that, if you have forgotten the password in the same way, you have also forgotten the answers to these security questions; you will not be able to reset your password.

Reset the Windows password using PCUnlocker

Another way not to complicate too much is to use some of the free programs to replace our forgotten password, using in this case, the trial version of PCUnlockuer, a recommendation of the MC team.

In this case, we will need to use a second computer, from which we will download and unzip an ISO image called pcunlocker.iso, that we will record on a CD or DVD, or simply store it on a USB flash drive.

Once this is done, we will go back to the computer of the forgotten password, and force the BIOS setup utility menu to open while it is powered on. For this, and before the boot reaches the Windows start screen, we must press the F2 key repeatedly (in case it does not work repeat the process with the Delete or F8 key) until we reach a window like the one shown in the below photo.

BIOS setup utility

From here, we’ll navigate with the direction arrows to the left until we reach the “Boot” tab, and change the priority setting of boot devices to choose, according to the method we have previously used, the CD reader or the removable device. Finally, we will press the F10 key to save the changes and exit in this way.

With the disk or the USB drive connected to the computer, we will restart the computer, which should lead us to a new boot screen in which this program will load.

In this case, it will be enough to select the first recovery method, “Reset Local Admin/User Password”, and enter the destination path of the Windows SAM registry (usually hosted in “C:\Windows\System32\config”).

Then the program will automatically show us a list with all active user accounts on this computer. By selecting our account, we will click on the “Reset password” button, which will leave the new password in blank.

Reset the Windows password using CMD

It is undoubtedly the most laborious and risky method, since we will have to touch important system files for the computer, but at the same time, it ensures us a great effectiveness without having to resort to third parties, and being able to keep all the data of our computer.

As a major drawback is that we can only use it in Windows 7, since the following operating systems automate the recovery process to a greater extent.

And is that the first step is precisely to unlock access to the recovery environment, for which we must force the system shutdown (turning off the computer directly from the button) up to three consecutive times, or forcing an incorrect shutdown, by withdrawing of the power cable or the battery in the case of laptops.

In this way, when restarting the computer, we can see the Startup Recovery screen, in which we must choose this option instead of the normal start of the system.

After a slower start than normal, we will see a new pop-up window in which the system will try to perform the relevant repairs. However, we will have to press “Cancel” this process, thus forcing the appearance of a small error report.

After selecting Do not send information, click on the dropdown to see details of the problem, we will go down to the end of the message, and select the last available line, with a file “.txt”, and that will open a text document.

From here the most complex part begins, since we will use this text document to access the Windows file explorer, so we recommend you take your time and follow the next steps exactly according to what we are going to detail.

By clicking on the “File” option in the upper left part of this window, we will select the “Open” option. However, we will not select any file, but we will use it to navigate through the files of the computer to the System32 folder (normally hosted in C:\Windows\System32).

Once here, we will look for the file called Utilman and we will change the name to Utilman2, and then we will change the name of the cmd file to Utilman.

Once this is done, we can close all the windows and proceed to finish the repair at startup, which will cause the restart of our computer. However, once the session is started, we can see how the button in the lower corner changes, allowing us now to access the command console without having to start the user session.

So, we must open this application, write the command “net user” and press the Enter key. In this way, Windows will show us a list with the names and accounts of active users on this computer. Once located ours, we will write the last command again, this time accompanied by our username and an asterisk (eg: “net user MuyComputer”), and press Enter again.

Now we should see a message in which we will be asked to write a new password for this user, which we can both write and leave blank, and press the Enter key. Once we see the message “The command has been completed correctly” we can close this window and log in with these new credentials.

Reset the Windows password by formatting

Finally, in case we do not mind the loss of the data inside the computer, we can simply perform formatting of the equipment, thus returning to the factory values and creating a new user account.

  • Press the Shift key while selecting the Start/Stop icon, and select the Restart option that will appear in the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Next, we will see a screen in which we will have to progressively select the options “Choose an option> Troubleshooting> Reset this PC”.
  • Finally, we will have to select “Remove all”, which will proceed with the deletion of the computer.

Once this is done, the computer will restart automatically, loading the welcome message of Windows 10, and the relevant basic configuration of the system and users.