When your Windows computer was first set up, you may have created a password that has to be entered every time you start up the computer. So what happens when you forget this password? Is there any way to restore access to your computer?
Fortunately, there is. The simplest method to try first is to get into the computer’s Setup menu. When the computer first powers on, you should see a button combination for this briefly listed on the screen somewhere, usually while the manufacturer’s logo is being displayed. Often it is simply the Del or F1 key. Press these buttons while the prompt is still on the screen to go into the computer’s internal Setup menu. From here you may see an option to restore the computer to its factory settings either from a partition on the computer, or possibly from a recovery disc if you have one. This will clear the password.
If you are using a recovery disc or a USB recovery drive, you may have to change the order in which the computer looks at devices to find and start Windows. In the Setup (or BIOS) menu, look for an option that allows you to set the “boot order” or “first boot device.” You want the first item on the list to be the CD/DVD drive if it is a recovery disc, or the USB drive if that is where the recovery software is located.
Great, but what if you don’t have a recovery disc or partition? Well, there’s one more thing you can try, with assistance from another computer and possibly a more technically inclined friend or relative. Get to a usable computer and download the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor. You will then need to follow the instructions included with the program to set it up properly on a DVD or a USB drive. This is where you may need to enlist the help of someone more technically inclined if you are not used to dealing with software. Once this program is set up on the DVD or drive, you will then boot with it by changing the settings in your Setup/BIOS menu as described above. If done correctly, this software will simply allow you to choose a new password with no further fuss. Just keep in mind that this trick only works with Windows 8.1 and older versions — for Windows 10, your best bet is to contact Microsoft for assistance if none of the above advice is working for you.