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How to reset your Windows 8 password

Remembering each and every one of your passwords can often give you a stress-inducing headache. When it comes to computing, people are frequently encouraged to create a wildly-unique combination of letters and numbers to ensure the highest level of security. However, creating such a cryptic combination also often leaves users fumbling with their own passwords. After all, forgetting said passwords is a common occurrence regardless of which platform you’re using. Luckily for Windows 8 users, there’s a bevy of options to skirt a forgotten password and reset the operating system’s login credentials. Although one method requires you to set up a reset disk prior to losing your password, resetting your password in Windows 8 often requires little more than a Microsoft account or a system administrator on hand. Best of all, most options take less than an hour to complete, won’t cost you a dime, and are easier done than said.

Here’s our guide on how to reset our Windows 8 password, so you can spend less time taking shots in the dark and more time getting to the task at hand. Additionally, check out our guide on how to find your Windows 8/8.1 product key and how to make an administrator user account in Windows 8.

Reset your Windows 8 password using the reset disk

Although there is a vast assortment of methods for resetting a Window 8 password, using the reset disk is the easiest way to reset your login credentials — that is, assuming you set up the feature prior to forgetting your password. Doing so will ensure you always have access to your password, whether it’s stored on either a removable USB drive or floppy disk.

Step 1: Insert removable media — Insert the removable media on which you want to create the reset disk, whether it be a portable USB drive, a floppy disk, or a compact disc.

Step 2: Navigate to the User Account preference — Click the Start button, select the Control Panel from the resulting menu, and click the green User Accounts and Family Safety link in the upper-right corner of the window. Afterward, click the green Users Accounts link at the top of the window once again.

Step 3: Create a password reset disk — Return to the User Account preferences and click the Create a password reset link from the list of options on the left-hand side of the window. Afterward, simply follow the on-screen instructions to create a backup copy of your Windows 8 password. When finished, store the password reset disk in a safe place.

Password Reset Disk 1

Step 4: Reset the password — If you are one of the few who made a Windows 8 password reset disk before forgetting your password, simply plug in the removable media on which you created the reset disk in Step 3. Afterward, boot up the user login page, and once you’ve input the incorrect password, click on the resulting Reset Password to bring up the Password Reset Wizard. Then follow the on-screen instructions to reset your Windows 8 password.

Reset your password online using your Microsoft account

Assuming you’ve signed up for a Microsoft account after purchasing your computer or installing Windows 8, then you can easily reset your login credentials online. Having a Microsoft account allows you to sign in to many different platforms under the Microsoft umbrella using the same login credentials, whether using Outlook, Skype, an Xbox console, or a bundle of other assorted services. Also, keep in mind your Microsoft account doesn’t necessarily utilize a Microsoft-specific email address, but rather whatever email you initially used to sign up with the service.

Step 1: Access the password reset site — Navigate to the main Microsoft’s password site using your favorite desktop browser or smartphone. Afterward, click the I forgot my password option at the top of the resulting list, enter your Microsoft account in the text field, and fill out the CAPTCHA test before clicking the blue Next button below the entry fields.

Microsoft Account Login

Step 2: Verify your identity — Check the bubble directly left of one of the two resulting options, either email or text, to select your desired method for receiving your security code. If you choose the email option, enter your email address again in the resulting entry field. Likewise, enter the last four digits of your phone number in the resulting entry if you select the text alternative. Click the blue Next button when finished, or click the blue I can’t use any of these options button to have Microsoft contact you via an alternate email.

Microsoft Identity Verification

Step 3: Locate the security code — Once the security code has been sent to the appropriate address, locate said code within your email inbox or on your smartphone, and enter it on the resulting Microsoft page before clicking the blue Next button. Afterward, enter and reenter your desired password in the text fields before clicking Next once again.

If you selected I can’t use any of these options during the previous step, enter the email address associated with your Microsoft account — along with an alternate email address with which Microsoft can contact you — on the resulting page. Once you’ve input an alternate email address, click Next and enter your name, birth date, billing info, and as much of the requested information as possible. Click the Submit button when finished and Microsoft will notify you via email with a password reset link.

Reset your Windows 8 password using another administrator

Despite what you might think, there is another way to reset your password if you’ve managed to lock yourself out of a computer used by multiple people. However, the method outlined below only works if another user account is set up with Windows 8 administrator privileges on the computer. That said, the option will only work if there are multiple accounts touting administrator control on your computer.

Step 1: Access the User Accounts panel — Log in to Windows 8 as you would normally using an administrator account. Afterward, click the Start button, select the Control Panel from the resulting menu, and click the green User Accounts and Family Safety link in the upper-right corner of the window. Then, click the green Users Accounts link at the top of the window once again, followed by the blue Manage another account link toward the bottom of the resulting list.

Manage Another Account in Windows

Step 2: Reset the password — Choose the account you’d like to make changes to when prompted, click the blue Change the password link, and follow the on-screen instructions to change the password for the selected account. Once changed, log out of Windows 8 as you would normally and log in using your desired and new password. Afterward, we suggest you follow the aforementioned instructions to create a reset disk or Microsoft account to ensure you can easily reset the password without administrator access if the situation arises again.

Change Password in Account

Reset your Windows 8 password using the Command Prompt

Though the most advanced and time-consuming method of the bunch, utilizing the Command Prompt to reset your password is still a viable solution in a pinch. However, we only recommend resorting to the method if you haven’t already created a reset disk, don’t possess access to an administrator account, and have exhausted all other means of resetting your password.

Step 1: Access the Advanced Startup options — Hover your mouse over the bottom-right corner of the screen while viewing the Windows 8 desktop, and click the Settings option located at the bottom of the resulting side menu (it’s icon depicts a gear). Afterward, click the Change PC settings option at the bottom of the menu, select the General tab from the right-hand side of the screen, and click the Restart Now within the Advanced Startup section. Then, wait a moment for the Advanced Startup menu to appear.

Change PC Settings Windows 8

Step 2: Access the Command Prompt — Select the Troubleshoot option when viewing the Advanced Startup menu, click Advanced Options, and select the Command Prompt from the resulting list of utilities. Doing so will allow you to execute advanced administrator actions from within the Command Prompt.

Step 3: Enter the appropriate commands — With the Command Prompt open, enter “copy c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe c:\” — and if done correctly — the phase “1 file(s) copied” will appear beneath your entered command. Afterward, enter “copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe” and type “Yes” when prompted to overwrite the utilman.exe file. Again, the phrase “1 file(s) copied” should appear once the command is entered. Restart your computer when finished.

Windows Command Prompt

Step 3: Reset the password — When your computer boots back up and the login page opens, select the Ease of Access option located in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Assuming you correctly entered the proper commands in Step 3, the Command Prompt should open instead of the Ease of Access menu. Afterward, enter “net user username password” in the Command Prompt, replacing “username” with your Windows 8 username and “password” with your desired password before confirming the changes. If the Command Prompt cannot find your desired username, enter “net user” to display a list of user accounts,  find which user you wish to change the password for, and re-execute the net user command above. Note, you’ll need to put quotes (“) around your username if it posses any spaces in it.

Step 4: Log in and reset the defaults — Once your password is reset, close the Command Prompt and log in to your account using the new password you’ve created. Afterward, launch the Command Prompt and type “copy c:\utilman.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe” before typing “Yes” to confirm the changes and restore the Ease of Access option to its original state. Restart your computer when finished.

Reset your Windows 8 password using a clean installation

Like the aforementioned Command Prompt method, you should only perform a clean installation when you’ve exhausted all other alternatives and believe starting from scratch is beneficial. Resetting your PC erases everything on your computer — applications, saved data, etc. — reverting it back to its original factory settings. And once done, there’s no going back.

Step 1: Access the Advanced Startup options — Hover your mouse over the bottom-right corner of the screen while viewing the Windows 8 desktop, and click the Settings option located at the bottom of the resulting side menu (it’s icon depicts a gear). Afterward, click the Change PC settings option at the bottom of the menu, select the General tab from the right-hand side of the screen, and click the Restart Now within the Advanced Startup section. Then, wait a moment for the Advanced Startup menu to appear.

Change PC Settings Windows 8Step 2: Reset your PC — Click Troubleshoot when viewing the Advanced Startup menu, select the Reset Your PC option on the resulting page, and wait for the lengthy reset process to complete. Afterward, create a new local or Microsoft account as you would normally, entering your desired password when prompted. Again, we recommend setting up a Microsoft account to ensure you can quickly change your password down the line should you forget it again.

What do you think of our exhaustive guide on how to reset a Windows 8 password? Do you know of a better method? Let us know in the comments below.

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