How Do I Get Past the Windows Administrator Password?

The Windows administrator password, which is typically tied to the primary user of the machine, is required to change many of the settings on your computer. Forgetting the password can cause you many problems. You might not be able to log on if the administrator password is tied to your username. Even if you can log on, you won't be able to make changes to many of settings on your computer. There are good security reasons for such passwords to be in place, but you can remove the need for a password fairly easily. If you've forgotten or otherwise don't know the password, try one of these approaches to solve the problem.

There are several ways to get past the Windows Administrator password.
Image Credit: piyaset/iStock/GettyImages

Bypass Windows Administrator Password

The simplest method to get past the Windows administrator password is to bypass it using the local administrator password. Press the Windows key and R when you reach the login screen. Then type "netplwiz" into the field before clicking OK. This takes you to the User Accounts window, where there is a check box beside "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer." Uncheck the box and click Apply.

This action takes you to a new window, where you're prompted to set a new account password, which is automatically signed in. Enter a password of your choosing in the Password and Confirm Password fields, then click OK to finish the process. From this point onward, you won't need to enter a password for the Windows administrator.

Use Your Windows Installation Disc

You can also get around the need for an admin password using the installation disc that came with your machine. While there is no way to show the administrator password using cmd, this approach is effective if you can't use the bypass method. Boot Windows from the installation disc and click Repair your computer in the bottom left corner of the window that appears.

For a Windows 10 or 8 install disc, choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options and then Command Prompt. For the Windows 7 disc, locate Command Prompt under System Recovery Options. On the command prompt screen, enter the commands:

copy d:\windows\system32\sethc.exe d:\

copy /y d:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\sethc.exe

Then restart the computer and remove the installation disc. Press Shift five times when you get to the login screen, and you are presented with a command prompt again. With your chosen user name in place of "{user_name}," run the commands:

net user {user_name} /add

net localgroup administrators {user_name} /add

Then, restart again and use the new account to log in.

Use a Connected Microsoft Account

For Windows 10, your user account is likely to be connected to your Microsoft account. This means you can go to the login page for Microsoft on another machine and click Can't access your account. This leads you through a wizard that confirms your identity using information linked to your Microsoft account, such as your cellphone number, and then you can make a new password.

Use Purpose-Built Software

If other options aren't working for you, there are several purpose-built software options to enable you to bypass the administrator password. They include PCUnlocker, PassFab 4Winkey and Mobiledic Windows Password Recovery. These programs all work differently so you need to follow the specific instructions for your chosen program.

Windows XP: Use Safe Mode

For Windows XP, the process is much simpler because you can easily log on by starting in safe mode. Press F8 repeatedly as you boot up to go to the Advanced Boot Options menu. Choose Safe Mode from the options that appear. Press Enter and when you are logged on – either click Administrator or type it and don't enter a password – you can reset the password for the administrator account through the User Accounts section of the Control Panel.

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