Reset Windows Passwords if you cannot login anymore

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 31, 2008
Updated • Oct 3, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

I was forced to change my Windows password frequently at my old job which sometimes led to the situation that I could not remember the new password on the next login. This happened for instance when I changed the password on the last day just before going on vacation. I had to contact the IT department to reset my password. There is an easier solution for computers with direct access.

I know that many users reinstall Windows if they have forgotten their password because they cannot figure out how to get into the system again. I'm using the Trinity Rescue Kit to reset the Windows password so that this is not necessary. You actually have the choice between setting it to a blank password or changing it to a new one.

It can be run from a bootable CD, USB device or network over PXE. The bootable CD is my choice and I always keep one around in case of emergency. Just boot from the CD if you cannot login into Windows anymore because it prompts you for a password that you cannot remember.

trinity rescue reset password windows

You can start once the message "Welcome to Trinity.." appears on the screen. Use the command winpass -l to list all usernames of the system. Now enter winpass -u (for instance winpass -u Martin). This will lead to a series of dialogs, make sure to press n when asked if you want to deactivate Syskey.

You are given a choice to (1) remove the password, (2) set a new password or (3) make the selected user an administrator of the system.

That's actually just one tool that the Trinity Rescue Disk offers. I could write about other useful ones if you like. Oh, one last remark. The file system is based on Linux which means that you will not see the usual c,d,e drives like you do in Windows. Hda, hdb, hdc are the hard drives connected to your computer and the numbers behind are the partitions of those hard drives. Hda1 for instance means the first partition of the first hard drive which is usually the location of the Windows installation while hdc2 would refer to the second partition of the third hard drive.

Note: If you are using Bitlocker Encryption then you won't be able to access the encrypted data after resetting the password. To be on the safe side, create a backup of the system partition first before you are running any operation using Trinity or another option.

Reset Windows Passwords if you cannot login anymore
Article Name
Reset Windows Passwords if you cannot login anymore
Reset your Windows password in case you cannot remember it and thus cannot log on to the system anymore.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Lishine said on July 24, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Need to reset Windows password is not a big trouble for Windows users now. It is a common phenomenon. I have met this problem in last month. After my traveling, I found that I forgot my Windows 8.1 login password. So I searched on the Internet to get solution. Windows Password Key is a popular tool in the search results. Then I used it.

  2. syonxu said on January 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

    There are many Windows password reset tools, but I haven’t personally tested them. Windows Password Rescuer 3.0 is a widely spread edition on internet…
    It supports running with CD/DVD/USB, remove the lost or forgotten password and then log in to your computer without any password.As long as you have another PC to install it and burn it to CD/DVD or USB Drive.You also can use Windows Password Rescuer to add a new user with administrator privilege to your Windows when you can not find target user. With this New user account you can and logon your locked computer directly to copy important data from the locked computer if you want to reinstall your Windows system at last.More detailed instruction you can visit :

  3. Anddy_2011 said on August 18, 2011 at 8:27 am

    A few days ago , I was confronted with the password problem.

    Finally , my workmate James introduce the Windows password

    Seeker.It help me access windows successfully. It’s official


  4. Anonymous said on May 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I can not login

  5. Gonzo said on April 3, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Worked like a charm, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. rono said on February 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Use “konboot” a great soft to bypass the passwoed blockage & log in to any account.

  7. sesvn said on February 8, 2010 at 3:44 am

    field blank. Now press Enter and you should be able to log in Windows.
    Now you can reset your account password from “Control Panel -> User Accounts”.
    Same thing can be done usin

  8. Linky Wu said on October 9, 2009 at 5:32 am

    here is the methods I know.

    The first thing which you check if you forget login password. When we install Windows, it automatically creates an account “Administrator” and sets its password to blank. So if you have forget Your user account password then try this:
    Start system and when you See Windows Welcome screen / Login screen, press ctrl+alt+del keys Twice and it’ll show Classic Login box. Now type “Administrator” (without quotes) in Username and leave Password field blank. Now press Enter and you should be able to log in Windows.
    Now you can reset your account password from “Control Panel -> User Accounts”.
    Same thing can be done using Safe Mode. In Safe Mode Windows will show this in-built Administrator account in Login screen.

    Windows XP and further versions also provide another method to recover forgotten Password by using “Reset Disk”. If you created a Password Reset Disk in Past, you can use that disk to reset the password. To know more about It, please visit

  9. happykaka said on October 9, 2009 at 5:27 am
    Reply there is an article about how to reset windows password. It must be helpful for those who have been locked out of computer

  10. ladyR said on May 17, 2009 at 4:04 am

    Trinity crashed my comp. Wad other ways can we retrieve our passwords?

  11. Manitook said on April 2, 2008 at 1:17 am

    One other thing not covered in the article.
    If the account you are resetting is private you will lose all of the data in it, because it is encrypted with the original password as part of the key. In case of a private account go with Ophcrack as Rarst suggested.
    Also the disk method can be defeated if you use a password/pass phrase over 15 characters long. Over 15 characters and windows can not make LM hash that is removable with Trinity.

  12. Benóný said on April 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I also agree with Rarst. I’ve used Ophcrack a few times myself :)

  13. Dante said on April 1, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Gotta agree with Rarst. Ophcrack is safer. And the perp doesn’t know you’ve messed with its PC, until the search warrant is issued :)

  14. Rarst said on March 31, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Changing (adding\removing\modifying\etc) passwords from offline (booting from another media or putting hdd in another computer) is potentially destructive operation. It may work, may not work and may mess things.

    Can’t say I tried lots of such tools, but few I had seen are highly unreliable.

    Much safer and effective way is cracking password – this requires accessing registry at windows\\system32\\config (usually offline), recovering password hashes (it’s only reading data, no changes required) from it and cracking them with any capable tool. Ophcrack is probably one of the most user friendly (has automatic live cd avaible) and effective (extremely fast).

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