Reset your Windows 10 password without logging in can seem daunting, but it is possible. Over the years, Microsoft has made the process easier by providing built-in options to reset passwords.
Whether you have forgotten your login password or want to change to a new password, this guide will walk you through the steps to reset it without logging into Windows. We will cover methods that work on Windows 10 Home and Pro editions.
Preparing to Reset Your Windows 10 Password Without Logging In
Before diving into the reset steps, there are a few things you should do to prepare:
Check That Your Account Has Administrator Privileges
The methods outlined below only work if your account has admin privileges. To check:
- Boot your Windows 10 computer
- On the sign-in screen, click the user icon that represents your account
- Look to see if “Administrator” is listed under your username
If you see “Standard User” instead, you will need access to an admin account to reset your password.
Back Up Important Data
Resetting your password essentially creates a new user profile, which could result in data loss. To be safe:
- Connect an external hard drive and use File History to back up your libraries and desktop
- Manually copy important files to external media or cloud storage
This guarantees you have copies if anything gets lost in the reset.
Have Your Windows 10 Installation Media Ready
Some password reset methods require booting from Windows 10 installation media. Before starting:
- Locate your Windows 10 USB installation drive or DVD. If you need to create installation media, follow Microsoft’s instructions.
- If you have a desktop PC without Wi-Fi, connect an Ethernet cable for internet access during installation.
With those prerequisites checked off, you are ready to reset your windows 10 password without logging in using one of the options below.
Option 1: Reset from Windows 10 Sign-In Screen
All editions of Windows 10 have built-in options to reset passwords right from the sign-in screen. This works if:
- You have an administrator account
- Have access to a second working admin account
- Have configured Windows Hello face/fingerprint/PIN sign-in
Here are the steps:
- Restart your Windows 10 computer and arrive at the sign-in screen
- Click the user icon for your account to open account options
- Select “Reset password”
- Choose between using Windows Hello, your Microsoft account, security questions, or a second admin account to authenticate and complete the reset
- Enter and confirm your new password and sign back in!
This method is quick and simple as long as you meet one of the authentication options. Using security questions provides a nice fallback if the other credentials aren’t available.
Option 2: Use a Password Reset Disk
If setting up Windows Hello or security questions seems like too much work, you can use a password reset disk instead. This uses an external storage device to unlock and reset your account.
Create a Password Reset Disk
To create one:
- Search for “Password Reset Disk” in the Windows search bar and open the desktop app
- Select your account and choose your USB drive
- Click “Next” and confirm to save an encryption key to unlock your account
Store this USB drive in a safe place in case you forget your password!
Reset Your Password
With your disk ready, use these steps to reset:
- Restart to the Windows sign-in screen
- Insert your password reset disk and select your account
- Click “Reset password” and choose the disk to authenticate
- Enter and confirm a new password, then sign back in normally
Having a reset disk prepared ahead of time makes future password resets extremely convenient. Just plug in the USB and in seconds create a new login.
Option 3: Reset from Windows 10 Settings App
The Settings app in Windows 10 also allows you to reset security info and passwords. This is an easy option if you can log into another administrator account.
Here is how to use it:
- Log into a second admin account from the Windows sign-in screen
- Open Settings > Accounts
- Select “Sign-in options” on the Accounts page
- Under Password section, click or tap “Reset”
- On the next page confirm your Microsoft account email and password
- Finally, type your new desired password and click “Next”
After following these steps, your old password will be changed across your Microsoft account and Windows login. Sign out and use the new password to unlock your original user profile!
Option 4: Use Cloud Password Management
If you opted to connect a Microsoft, Google, or other cloud account to manage Windows sign-in, you can use their web portals to reset:
- Browse to Microsoft’s account recovery page
- Follow the on-screen instructions to verify your identity
- Choose “Reset my password” and confirm your account email
- Type your new password and sign in on Windows 10 with it
- Visit Google’s password manager page
- Click your profile icon > Manage all passwords
- Browse for your saved Windows password and select “Change password”
- Enter & confirm the new one then sync to update Windows
Handling resets through the cloud gives you access from anywhere with an internet connection. It also provides a universal password for all linked devices and services.
Option 5: Reset from the Command Prompt
The Command Prompt offers a couple advanced options for password resets using the tools netplwiz and control userpasswords2.
- On Windows sign-in screen, select “Ease of Access” > Command Prompt
- Type the following command to launch the reset tool:
- Click your account, uncheck “Users must enter a username and password”, apply
This will automatically sign you into your user profile, allowing you to set a new password by:
- Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete
- Select “Change a password”
- Enter & confirm the new password
Now login normally with your freshly changed login credentials.
Use Control Userpasswords2
If netplwiz isn’t working, try:
- Open Command Prompt from sign-in screen as shown above
- Run the command:
- Select your user account
- Choose “Reset Password”
- Type & confirm the new password
- Restart computer and login with new password
The control userpasswords method does not bypass signing in like netplwiz, but serves as a reliable backup when needing to reset a login password.
Option 6: Use Windows 10 Installation Media
If none of the previous options work due to corrupted system files or other issues, your last resort is to boot from Windows 10 installation media. This initiates a full system repair, fixing damaged components so you can access the password reset tools normally.
Create Install Media
As mentioned in initial preparations, create install media on a DVD or USB stick from the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
With Windows 10 installation media ready:
- Insert disc or USB and restart computer
- Change boot order to prioritize loading from media instead of hard drive
- Choose your language settings
- Select “Repair your computer” on the Install Now page
- Click “Troubleshoot” > “Advanced options” > “Command Prompt”
- Type the command:
net user <Username> <NewPassword>Replace <Username> and <NewPassword> with your credentials
- Close Command Prompt and select “Continue”, then finish restarting into Windows
- Login with the new password
Booting from recovery media often resolves underlying OS issues that prevent built-in resets from working properly.
- How to Find Your Wi-Fi Password on Windows 10 in 2024
- Easy to View Wi-Fi Passwords in Windows 11 [2024 Update Guide]
- How to Easily Take a Screenshot on Windows 7, 8, and 10 [2024 Guide]
Prevent Future Lockouts with Password Best Practices
Resetting your login credential using the methods above fixes your current dilemma, but you want to avoid dealing with this again down the road.
Here are some password tips:
- Use a Password Manager: Services like LastPass and 1Password create unique, complex passwords for all your sites and applications. They even auto-fill login forms, eliminating having to remember credentials yourself.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication: Adding protections like biometric verification or security keys prevents unauthorized password changes and restricts access attempts. Learn how to set up multi-factor here.
- Don’t Reuse Passwords: Unique passwords for every account prevents a breach on one site from exposing credentials to all your others. A password manager makes managing unique ones easy.
- Create Complex Passwords: Easy-to-guess passwords leave you vulnerable to cracking attempts. Complex ones with special characters, cases changes, and length over 12 characters improves security.
Following password best practices enhances your overall account safety. Combined with the step-by-step reset methods above, you can now easily recover access to Windows when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Reset Your Windows 10 Password Without Logging In
What are my options to reset my Windows 10 password if I can’t sign in?
You have several options to reset your password from the sign-in screen if you have an administrator account and the right credentials:
- Use Windows Hello face, fingerprint, or PIN authentication
- Answer your security questions
- Use a password reset disk
- Log into another admin account
If those don’t work, you can reset from recovery media or the cloud if you connected a Microsoft account.
Do all the methods work for Windows 10 Home and Pro?
The first 5 options outlined in this guide will work for both Home and Pro editions. Only the recovery media method requires having Windows 10 installation files which typically come with Pro licenses.
What if my user account doesn’t have admin privileges?
Then you will need access to an admin account in order to reset your standard user password. Options like using a password reset disk or second admin profile would work in that situation.
Can I reset my Microsoft account password from Windows?
Yes, if your Microsoft account manages your Windows sign-in, resetting the Microsoft password first using their recovery tools will sync down to change your Windows credentials too.
What should I do once my password is reset?
Once you successfully reset your login password and regain access to Windows, you should follow password best practices going forward. Use a password manager, enable multi-factor authentication, create complex 12+ character passwords, and never reuse the same password twice.
Why can’t I reset from Windows 10 settings?
If the built-in settings options to reset security info and passwords are inaccessible, it likely means your Windows OS has become corrupted. Use the Windows 10 install media method to perform a full system repair first before the reset tools will work again.
What if no methods allow me to reset my password?
In rare cases where most options have failed, the only recourse may be to fully reinstall Windows 10 from scratch. This will completely erase all local data though, so exhaust all other alternatives before resorting to this. Be sure you have backups of important files first if this route becomes necessary.