How to Retrieve a Password From the Windows Registry

By Kara Page

Losing the password that belongs to your Windows username can spell trouble, as you no longer have access to all of the files saved on your computer. Like all of your information, your password is stored in the Windows registry. However, actually retrieving the original password is a challenge. If you just need access to your Windows account, resetting your password is simple. To find the password from the registry, you will need to install password recovery software on your computer.

Reset Windows Password

Step 1

Reboot your computer. When the login screen appears, press "Esc."

Step 2

Go to "Start" and select "Search," followed by "All Folders and Files." Enter ".pwl" in the field and hit the "Enter" key.

Step 3

Right-click on each PWI file and hit "Delete." Reboot your computer and wait for the login screen. Type in your username, then enter a new password and hit "Enter." The password will be permanently reset to the one you entered.

Retrieve Windows Password

Step 1

Download a password recovery program like Ophcrack, John the Ripper or Windows Key.

Step 2

Save the file to your desktop and click "Install."

Step 3

Launch the program. Select your username from the menu and click "Recovery." The program may take a few hours to retrieve your original password from the registry.