Everyone’s suffered that sense of intense frustration as you type an endless list of passwords into a login screen only to be met with “Invalid password or username”. Thankfully, online services always provide the option to bypass this via other means than a password, so users can reset their login credentials and start anew. But what happens if the forgotten password belongs to a Windows 10 account and the most common password reset options fail? Well, if that’s the case, there are two things you can do: don’t panic and turn to password reset disks that can pop that account open in no time.
The Home-Made Password Reset Disk
Since recovering a forgotten Windows 10 password is close to impossible – unless a password cracking tool like John the Ripper or Hashcat is used – taking precautions when creating a new user account is crucial. It isn’t considered by many, but this can easily be achieved by relying on Windows’s built-in option to create a password recovery disk on a flash drive.
The process is simple: just plug in a USB drive, go to Control Panel > User Accounts > User Accounts and click on “Create a password reset disk”. From the moment the command is created and saved to a flash drive, any time the Windows 10 password is forgotten or cannot be recalled by any other means, just pop that USB drive in before the PC is booted and wait for the login screen to show up. Then simply click on “Reset password” and follow the on-screen instructions, after which you’ll be able to access the account with newly created credentials.
Store-Brought Password Reset Disks
Despite being one of the easiest ways to prevent getting locked out of a Windows account, the default Windows password reset disk is worth nothing if it’s lost or damaged. There is no need to rely solely on Microsoft’s solution, though, as there is always the option to purchase an out-of-the-box password reset disk, either directly from the manufacturer – like in the case of Lovell Tec’s device – or via online stores like Amazon.
Similar to Windows’s own solution, these disks also have to be plugged in to the computer before it’s booted. However, the big difference here is that users are required to access the PC’s BIOS and then boot the program found on the key to erase the Windows password or to perform other tasks such as accessing the computer’s primary drive. Due to the capabilities of this disk, it’s even more important to keep this special flash drive hidden safely from unauthorized people because the moment it’s stolen, it can be used to break into any Windows 10 account.
Although password reset disks are undoubtedly the most convenient options for forgotten Windows 10 logins, it’s best to also take into consideration some of the alternative approaches that might come in handy should password reset keys not be an option for you.
For starters, when a new user is created in Windows 10, the system asks for the user to create a Microsoft Live account as well. By default, Windows and Microsoft Live accounts share the same login credentials – for reasons of convenience – which means that users that have forgotten passwords can simply request the reset of their logins via Microsoft Live and then access their Win 10 accounts with the new credentials.
The other option is a bit less conventional, but it also works like a charm: accessing the computer from the administrator’s account. Not only is such an account accessible without a password – at least by default – but admins can delete the passwords of other users, too.
Forget Me Not
Admittedly it’s quite easy to reset the password of a Windows 10 account with a password reset disk but no matter how convenient it is, this should still only be considered in cases of emergency. As such, the best approach is to ensure you’ll never risk forgetting the password – and therefore needing to reset it – by doing any of the following:
- Set up a PIN code or a biometric authenticator supported by Windows Hello.
- Create a strong but memorable password.
- Store the password in the encrypted vault of a password manager for Windows 10 that, thanks to multi-platform support, can be recalled from another device such as a smartphone.
Best Password Managers of 2018