Forgot Windows Password? No Problem

Forgot Windows Password? no problemLocked out? If you can no longer access your system, you can still “boot from someone else” and save data, but all investments in the system would be lost and a laborious reinstallation is required. It doesn’t have to be.
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EnlargeIf you have backed up your Windows with a Microsoft account and forgot the password, you can restore it via the Microsoft website
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Easy access to your data even without a password

On the first day after your vacation, you sit down at your PC again, type in the password – and you fail: Windows reports: “The password is wrong. Repeat the process. ”And await your“ OK ”. After the click, the operating system shows a “password hint” as a small reminder. But because you have learned from the PC world that passwords cannot be found in the lexicon and should consist of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers, a hint such as “ten characters” doesn’t really help you. Clicking on “Reset password” also leads you to a dead end, as you do not have one
Have put on the rescue stick. Perhaps you have even installed a password manager, but of course it can only be reached after a successful login. Don’t worry, forgetting your Windows password is not a catastrophe. On the following pages, PC-Welt presents you with various options for unlocking the door to Windows again.
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First of all: Logging on to Windows with your user name and password is less about protecting your data than about managing the various user profiles. The operating system recognizes who is currently sitting at the PC and can thus provide the user with their familiar working environment. In order to protect the data from prying eyes, Windows brings with it encryption technologies such as EFS (Encrypted File System) and Bitlocker.
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And another basic tip: In extreme cases, a forgotten password can lead to the loss of all data because you cannot avoid reinstalling Windows 10 . You should therefore regularly create a backup of the most important data and also maintain this backup.
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But as long as you have not encrypted your files, they are largely freely accessible, even without you or another user logging into Windows. For example, if you have installed Windows 10 in parallel with an older Windows version, simply log in to this older version and access the files on the other system from there using Explorer. You can also install the hard disk with Windows 10 in another computer, boot into Windows there and call up the data on the second hard disk. Or maybe you have created a Windows 10 rescue system on a DVD or a USB stick. Then you can boot your computer with this medium and thus also get access to the hard disk data. Of course, this is not a permanent solution.

Note: Before trying one of the solutions described below, you should make sure that Caps Lock was not activated or Num Lock was deactivated while entering the password.

The Windows password and encryption

The methods described in the article for overwriting the Windows password have one major catch: If you have protected files or folders on your hard drive with the built-in Windows encryption, these are then no longer accessible. The Encrypted File System (EFS) responsible for encryption is linked to the user password. If it is changed, regardless of whether by the administrator or by overwriting the old password, you will no longer be able to access your data. Affected are all files and directories that you have encrypted after clicking with the right mouse button using the command “Properties -> Advanced -> Encrypt content to protect data”. Windows will only adjust the encryption accordingly if you change your password yourself.
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However, there is a way out: you can export the certificate for encryption and save it on another drive such as a USB stick. To do this, you need the Windows Certificate Manager, which you can call up by entering the file name certmgr.msc in the search field on the taskbar. Go to “Own Certificates -> Certificates”, right-click your user name in the right half of the window and select “All Tasks -> Export”. Use the following wizard to also secure the private key and define a password. Then select the desired storage location and make sure that the PFX file with the certificate and key does not end up on the local hard drive. If you can no longer access your data after changing the Windows password, copy the PFX file back to the computer and double-click on it. This calls up a wizard that you can use to re-import the certificate.

Trick 17 with the purchase program: Skip password entry

EnlargeMost of the tricks described enable access to the Windows desktop so that you can define a new password in the “Settings”.

Windows saves all passwords in the “SAM” file (without extension) in the “C: \ Windows \ System32 \ config” folder. This is a database in which the user data is encrypted as hash values. Breaking this encryption is very tedious, depending on the complexity of the password. However, there are various workarounds.

The first option is to use the paid Kon-Boot tool . You burn it on a CD or copy it to a bootable USB stick, start your computer with it and then immediately start a second boot process from the hard drive. Kon-Boot then patches the Windows code in the main memory, which is responsible for the logon process, and lets you boot to the desktop without entering a password after selecting an account with administrator rights. In the next step, the password can be changed in the Windows settings via “Accounts -> Login options”. Now take the CD out of the drive or remove the USB stick and restart Windows from the hard drive. You can log in with the new password.

Kon-Boot was formerly a free open source tool and is now chargeable. In some places on the Internet you can still find the old versions, which are, however, not compatible with Windows 10.

Reset Microsoft account password

EnlargeAnyone who logs into Windows with a Microsoft account can reset the password via a web service in a few minutes.

With Windows 10 (and also Windows 8), the locally stored account information is still possible, but the standard is rather the login with a Microsoft account, whereby the entered password is verified online via the Microsoft server.

The methods for resetting the password explained in the following points do not apply here. They only apply to local account logins. If you can no longer get your Windows 8 or 10 because you forgot the password of your Microsoft account, you can repair it online using any other computer.

The web address is . What you still need to know in any case is the email address or mobile phone number that was stored when the Microsoft account was set up. You will then receive a security code at this email address (or on your mobile phone), and after entering it you can assign a new password.

You can also change an existing password via your Microsoft account dashboard under “Security”. Here you will also find an overview of all devices that are linked to your Microsoft account and lots of other information and setting options.

Reset the Windows password of a local account

With this first variant you need any Windows 7, 8 or 10 setup DVD. Whether original or self-burned ISO image is just as irrelevant as the Windows version. This does not have to match the Windows to be cracked either. But it has to be a fully-fledged installation medium – under no circumstances a recovery CD / DVD.

Boot the computer using this DVD. After selecting the language, the “Install Now” or “Install Windows” button appears. At this point there is also a button “Computer Repair Options” that you select here. Depending on the setup medium, you will then either come straight to the “Command Prompt” or via the click sequence “Troubleshooting -> Advanced Options -> Command Prompt”. Here you now have to find out the drive ID of the installed Windows. Start with the following two commands and continue with “d:”, “e:” until the “dir” command displays the typical main directory of a Windows system with “Windows” and “Program Files”. There you go with

cd windows\system32

in the folder with the system programs, name it with

ren utilman.exe utilman.ex_

an executable file and copy the command prompt to this name:
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You can then shut down the system, remove the DVD and restart the computer with the installed Windows. Utilman.exe is a small utility program for the visually impaired (“Ease of Use”) that, unlike all other programs, is ready to use on the Windows logon screen. That now solves your login problem. Go to the “Ease of Access” icon on the login screen or use the Win-U key combination. The command prompt “CMD.EXE”, renamed to “utilman.exe”, will open. Now a single command is enough to replace the forgotten password with a new one:

net user [konto] [kennwort]

If you have “forgotten” your account (which then looks more like a break-in), then use the account that is currently displayed on the login screen. The password assignment is effective immediately – you can log on to the Windows system with this password immediately.

Remove Windows password using Linux system

EnlargeSince the file was exchanged by the “CMD.EXE”, any program can be started on the login window and passwords can be changed.

Without a Windows 7/8/10 setup DVD, you can take the almost even easier route via a Linux system. The PC-WELT emergency system, for example, can be considered as an alternative operating system . After starting the system, you can in principle also go the way as described in point 2, because after the “writable” integration of the Windows partition via “Drives” (in the bar above) you have full access to the directory “/ Windows / System32 “.

But there is an even easier way: without having to worry about mounted drives, select the option “New password (new version)” under “Rescue tools”. The Linux system then automatically searches for the Windows partition and the “SAM” registry file. If it finds what you are looking for, it displays the user accounts entered there and you select the account whose password you want to delete. Complete! Then start Windows and you will be logged on without a password.

If the “New password (new version)” tool does not automatically find what it is looking for, there is an older version of “New password” in the “Rescue tools” that requires some supportive interaction.

Change password with Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

The free offline NT Password & Registry Editor resets the password of your Windows account with just a few clicks. The open source tool can delete or replace the password, but cannot display it in plain text. It is also possible to make a Windows user with restricted rights an administrator. A simple editor for editing the Windows registry keys is included.

The offline NT Password & Registry Editor is embedded in a live system based on Linus. Download the ISO file, which is a few megabytes in size. Then write the CD image onto a blank disc using a free tool like Imgburn . Alternatively, you can use a USB stick and create, for example, with the freeware Sardu a multi-boot stick with the offline NT Password & Registry Editor.

When you boot the system, the tool displays all recognized hard disk partitions with their names. Select your Windows system partition by entering the number and confirming with the Enter key. In the next step you accept the standard directory for the registry with the Enter key. Use key 1 to call up the password mode. Pressing 1 again displays a list of all users. Now type in the username for the account whose password you want to reset. Please note: As usual with English keyboards, the Y and Z keys are swapped. Press the Enter key.

Selection 1 deletes the password, button 2 enables the password to be edited. With 3 you change the rights of the user. With ! and Q exit the editor. Save your changes with Z.

Simply change forgotten Windows password

You can simply replace the password with a new one – even with the Windows tools. However, there is one limitation: the file and folder encryption of the operating system is linked to the password. So if you have encrypted data using Windows tools, you will no longer be able to access it after changing the password. If, on the other hand, everything is unencrypted on your hard drive or you use an external program such as Veracrypt you can safely follow the tip below. All you need is the Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 DVD, a bootable USB stick is also suitable.

Boot your computer from the DVD and in the first “Install Windows” window make sure that “German” is set as the installation language. Click on “Next” and “Install Now”. As long as Windows is still thinking, press the key combination “Shift + F10”. The command prompt appears, in which you type “regedit” to load the registry editor. Select the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” key and open the menu command “File -> Load structure”. In the window that opens, look for the system partition C: and there the folder \ Windows \ System32 \ config. In this folder you will see a file called SOFTWARE. But be careful: the registry editor does not display any file extensions. The file you need is simply called SOFTWARE. However, there is also a software.txt in Windows. You can identify the correct file by switching on the “Details” view at the top and paying attention to the “File” type.

Highlight SOFTWARE and click “Open”. The editor now wants to know a key name from you. Assign any name such as “Password” and confirm with “OK”. Now click through to the registry key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Password \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Image File Execution Options

Right click on the folder and go to “New -> Key”. Name the new key “utilman.exe”. Right-click on it, select “New” and “String”. Enter “debugger” as the name, double-click on the character string, enter “cmd.exe” as the value, and close the window with “OK”. Finally go back to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Password, mark this key and go to “File -> Remove structure”. Confirm the removal with “Yes”, close Notepad and the command prompt, and let Windows reboot. If the prompt “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” appears, do nothing and allow Windows to boot from the hard drive.

As soon as the password query appears, press the key combination “Windows + U”. This opens the command prompt, where you enter the command “net user [username] [password]”, replacing “[username]” with your login name and “[password]” with the new password you want. Leave out the quotation marks and square brackets. After you have pressed the Enter key, “The command was carried out successfully” appears as a confirmation. Close the command prompt and type the new password into the login window. Finally, open the registry editor again and delete the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Image File Execution Options \ Utilman.exe.

The trick takes advantage of the fact that Windows loads the utilman.exe file, behind which the Ease of Access Center is hidden, as soon as you log on. As a result of the change made to the registry, cmd.exe is called instead, i.e. the command prompt. The password can then be changed via the scope of their commands.

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