Reset User Account Password

How to Reset a User Account Password in Vista
If you forgot the password for a user account, this will show you how to reset or change the password to gain access to the user account again.
How to Reset a User Account Password in Vista

information   Information
If you forgot the password for a user account, this will show you how to reset or change the password to gain access to the user account again.
Note   Note

  • The password used in Vista is case sensitive. You might double check to make sure that you do not have the Caps Lock key on by mistake when typing it in.
  • If you do not have a password for the user account, then clicking or pressing Enter with a blank field will usually work.
  • METHOD THREE below should only be used a last resort to reset a Administrator account when it is the only account created, but it should do the job for you. Your only other option is to reinstall Vista.
  • If you are using BitLocker Drive Encryption, then this will most likely not work.
  • If all of these methods fail, then you will need to reinstall Vista.
Tip   Tip
For a CMOS or BIOS Password:
You can usually reset this password by unplugging the computer and removing the battery on the motherboard for just a bit and/or temporarily crossing the CMOS jumper pin on the motherboard, then change or turn off the password in the BIOS at the next start. See your motherboard's documentation for these locations on it. You can usually find documentation at the motherboard's manufacturer's website.
warning   Warning
To avoid not being able to log on, be sure to write down you user account's username and password and store it in a safe place for future reference if you need it. Another great option is to create a Password Reset Disk. See: See: How to Create a Password Reset Disk in Vista

Reset Password while logged in an Administrator Account

Note   Note
This is if you have a administrator account that you can logon with to change or reset the password for a Standard or another administrator account.
warning   Warning
If you use an Administrator account to remove the password for any other user account, the user account with the removed password will lose access to its encrypted files, e‑mail messages that are encrypted, and stored passwords for websites or network resources. If the user account doesn't have any of these things, or the user doesn't mind losing them, then using an Administrator account to remove the password is a fast and easy way to recover from a forgotten password.

1. Logon to the Administrator account.​
NOTE: If you forgot the Administrator account password, then logon to another Administrator account.​
2. Reset or Change the forgotten password for the user account.​

Reset Password with your Password Reset Disk

NOTE: A password reset disk will allow you to reset the password for the user account it was created in. You had to of created one first though. See: How to Create a Password Reset Disk in Vista.
1. Start the computer up into the Logon Welcome Screen.​
2. Click on the Click to Play button in the video below.​

Reset Password with a Editor Tool

Note   Note
This should only be used on a Administrator account that you forgot the password for and do not have another Administrator account (METHOD ONE or TWO) or a Password Reset Disk (METHOD FOUR) to use to reset the password. This should only be a last resort to gaining access to an administrative account.
Tip   Tip
Depending on what you use, you will need to have the CD/DVD or USB key drive listed first in the boot order in the BIOS settings to be able to "Press any key to boot from CD/DVD.".
warning   Warning
If you reset the password using the tool below, the user account will lose access to its encrypted files, encrypted e‑mail messages, and stored passwords for websites or network resources.

Offline NT Password and Registry Editor
1. For how, see this site: Offline NT Password and Registry Editor
NOTE: If you have no access to your computer, then you will need to create this boot CD/DVD or USB key drive on another computer so you can use it to boot into yours with and use.​
2. Click the Bootdisk button at the top of that website. (See screenshot below)​

3. Scroll down to the Download section and download the lastest version ZIP file (ex: for the Bootable CD image under (CD release, see below on how to use).​
4. Extract the cd######.iso file from the downloaded ZIP file, then burn the ISO file to a DVD or USB key drive.​
NOTE: You can use any ISO burner program you like, but the free ISO Recorder or ImgBurn programs are good ones to use.
5. Follow the instructions from their website on how to use the boot CD/DVD or USB key drive. See: Offline NT Password & Registry Editor
NOTE: Please direct your questions about this tool to the site providing the tool.

Reset Password by Doing a System Restore at Boot

Note   Note
This is for the following scenarios. For more information, see: Microsoft Help and Support: KB940765



Scenario 1:

You recently set a new password for the protected administrator account. However, you do not remember the new password, but do remember the old one.

Scenario 2:

You type the correct logon password. However, Windows Vista does not accept the password because the system is corrupted.

Scenario 3:

You deleted a password protected administrator account. Now, you cannot log on to another administrator account.

Scenario 4:

You changed a protected administrator account to a standard user account. Now, you cannot log on to another administrator account.

NOTE: You will be booting from your Vista installation DVD to perform a System Retore with the method at this link.​
2. Next, do the additional steps below for the scenario that is related to your situation.​

Reset Password in Registry Editor at Boot

That's it,

Related Tutorials

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


Great info but....its complicated. I tried the command prompt tutorial and received a access denied answer when pressing enter. My laptop is also remotly controlled...ouch! The spyware my partner placed on the laptop is WEB WATCHER.
Hi Buffboy,

Which Command Prompt tutorial did you try? You may have needed to right click on the command prompt shortcut and click Run as administrator first.

What goal were you trying to accomplish, reset password?

thank you shauwn...THANK YOU SHAWN...someone is helping me....i went to the web for some command prompt tricks....using the $ find the path to the remote did not work...then did prompt? a list but the commands have been changed ...went to the registy_currentuser....and found all the areas that have been partner is also seeing me real-time doing the research on the he has the ability to block as i am working...he has configured the keyboard to be a camera opened at all times...

as much as i am angry....can it be possible that i am really enjoying the challenge of trying to get the info to comfirm that he has put this on my computer...i will give more details from his user account on the laptop in an hour

thanks again shawn

Your welcome Jonathan. I suppose it's like any good challenge. It's fun to try and solve the mystery.

Good luck,
My son has an user account with password on his computer. I have an administrator account with password on his computer. I cannot remember my password. I am able to logon to his account with his password. What do I need to do to reset my password so I can logon to my account. Do I need to do "method 3" in the tutorial? Is there something else I can try? I have not tried anything yet. Thanks for your help.
Hello Carol, and welcome to Vista Forums.

It depends on what type of an account your son has. If it is another administrator account then you can easily just do Method One. If it is a standard account, then you will need to do Method Three.

Hope this helps,

No, it's not to hard. You basicallly just download the CD ZIP file and unzip it for the CD ISO file. Afterwards, you use a ISO program to burn the CD ISO file to a DVD to use. That's all. I have a good ISO program listed in Method Three to use if you like.

The download website has good instructions to follow on how to do this.

Hope this helps,
Hi Shawn

in order to set up parental guidance and reporting I wanted to install a new admin acct next to my sons admin account and then downgrade his acct to standard, so I would be in control.

I logged in with his account having admin rights but then I did, thinking to use a shortcut a terrible thing: instead of creating a new account with admin rights I found the unexpected ASP.NET and thought: I can modifiy this instead of making a new one... and so I did.

Modified it: changed its name to my nick and gave it admin rights. I then went on as planned to downgrade my sons from admin to standard and set up parental control. So far all worked normal.

To my dismay, when I next rebooted I only could logon with my sons standard account and the modified ASP.NET did not show up in welcome screen. (I realized later it does never show up, it shows only in the control panel...). So I cannot log on as an admin as planned, only as a standard user.

That is, I cannot set up an admin account either unless I get admin level permission by ASP.NET with the password I had created. When logged in as a standard user I can bring up the ASP.NET admin password prompt up by attempting changes requiring admin level rights..

Then the modified ASP.NET indeed displays, but somehow it does not accept the password that I had created for it...this is truly bizarre. The rror is : "logon failure: this is not the logon type requested for this account" - or similar. When I enter a random pwd sequence instead it tells me "logon failure: wrong password or sequence". It means ASP.NET does recognize the password I enter is correct but there is some other bahaviour that prevents it from accepting it. Clearly this mess is linked to the fact that unfortunaley I wrongly used ASP.NET to set up my admin account.

I read in other, 2007 and now closed threads, what ASP.NET is and that its a flaw in the design as it only is an account type for developers that run web appps locally etc (here i am starting to get lost). That I should use a Vista BOOT disk, open the registry via cmd prompt in the Recovery Environment and then perform fairly complicated manual registry work. An MVP posted under apparently an .exe that would tae care of the situation but the site is now down and thread closed.

Would instead one of the above depicted methods in the tutorial work for the ASP.NET related issue. I have the one disk from DELL.

Currently my sons laptop is really stuck. Due to lack of ways to access admin level permissions I cannot even change parental control back to allow him to google (medium parental control does prevent even googling !!!!).

before going to the tedious registry path, I was wondering wether you could help me with a more user friendly solution.
Thank you in advance for your help.

Hello Michele,

Since you do not technically have a You might see if you can boot into Safe Mode with the Built-in Administrator account logged on so you can create a new administrator account and make the changes to the other accounts.

If that does not work, then you can attempt to do a System Restore at boot using a restore point dated before you changed the accounts to see if that can help. Method Two in this tutorial will show you how to if needed.

Hope this helps,
Thanks Shawn - I'll give it one or the other method a try later today and let you know the outcome.

grtz from Europe
Hi Shawn,

I tried using the method three. I have downloaded the zip file from given website.
After I unzipping the fileIi got an ISO image. However, when try to burn the image I got error in buring. I tired this several time but result the same.

I tried opening this ISO image using software like alcohol to copy the files and burn it separately. But still no luck.

This file is very strange.. don't have name.. having squre symbol.

Not sure whether it's problem with downloading or anything else.

I am endup spending whole week for this issue.

Please help in solving this problem.

Any help will be highly appericiated..

Amol Gholap.
Hello Amol, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You cannot open the ISO image and burn the files separately. You have to burn the entire ISO file as is to the DVD using the ISO burning software.

This is a good free one you might also try.

ISO Recorder v3

Hope this helps,
Hi Shawn,

Thanks for the Quick Response.

But I tried buring ISO images with Nero,Roxio creater. But while buring i got the error. That's the reason I tried copying and writing.

Amol Gholap.

As a test, try the ISO Recorder program I posted a link above for to see how it works for you instead.
Thank you SIW2. That looks like a very handy program to have on hand. It probably will work with the 64 bit Vista since it runs at boot from a DVD though. I will add it to Method Three in this tutorial.

Thank you again, :geek:
Hi Shawn.

I did method three, and my CD is all set.
But what do I do now? I really need to access my account urgently as I have a project due soon :cry:. Please Help

Also, does it make a difference whether I used 32 bit or the other? I have Vista Home Premium.

Please reply ASAP

Thanks for your continued cooperation.
Hello Dagurl92, and welcome to Vista Forums.

They both work on either the 64 bit or 32 bit Vista, so no difference. ;)

You will boot from that CD you created to use to reset the account's password. Be sure to follow the usage instructions for that program at it's link for how to use it. They both have great details on how to do it.

Hope this helps,