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Forgot Computer Password – Microsoft Account.

You’ve forgotten your computer password and/or PIN and you’re now locked out of your own PC.

What you can do really depends on whether the account you’re using on your computer is a Microsoft account or a local account Explaining The Different Windows User Accounts.

If you sign in to your computer using a Local account, then good news, it’s not that difficult to get back in How To Reset A Forgotten Windows Password.

But if you’ve forgotten the password for a Microsoft account, then you could be in real trouble. Let me explain what you can and can’t do.

Microsoft Account Passwords.

Forgetting your Microsoft account password is a real problem. You see, you can certainly get back into your computer. That’s not too difficult to do and I’ll show you how to do it below.

What you can’t do though, is to get back in to your Microsoft account online.

The only way to do that is to go through the online account recovery process. That’ll normally involve sending text (sms) messages or emails that contain a code that will get you back into your account.

The problem with that is often times these recovery phone numbers or email addresses are out of date and no longer usable.

Since you’re here and reading this, I’m guessing that you fall into this category.

I can certainly help you get back into your computer. We’ll do that next. As for your online Microsoft account, they do have an account recovery form, but I’ll warn you now, you might be out of luck.

You can find a Microsoft guide here https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/account-billing/help-with-the-microsoft-account-recovery-form-b19c02d1-a782-dee6-93c3-dc8113b20c42

What Can you Do To Get Back In To Your Computer?

When you’re locked out of your computer because you’ve forgotten the password and it’s a Microsoft account that you’re using, you only really have two options –

  1. Wipe the computer and re-install Windows – Doing this will completely remove your Microsoft account and all your data. But it will give you control over your PC again.
  2. Create a new user account – You can create a new Administrator account, even though you’re currently locked out of your computer. It can be done and that’s what I’ll show you how to do in this guide.

So if you should remember the password, or maybe gain access through the Microsoft account recovery process, then you can simply log back in.

Secondly, because we’re going to create an admin account, you can save all your files (pictures, documents, videos etc) from the locked account. And I’ll also show you how to do that.

How We Are Going To Get You Back Into Your Computer?

On the Windows login screen, in the lower right hand corner, is an icon called Accessibility in Windows 11 and Ease of Access in Windows 10.

If you click on it right now, it’ll give you various options such as narrator or screen contrast etc.

The important thing about this icon is that it works even though you’re not signed in. We can change what program the icon opens when it’s clicked. We can make it open Command Prompt.

Once we have a command prompt, we can create a new user account and give the account admin privileges.

To get started you’ll need to have a bootable Windows flash drive.

How To Create A Bootable Windows 10 USB Flash Drive.

How To Create A Bootable Windows 11 USB Drive.

Make The Accessibility Icon Open Command Prompt.

Plug in your bootable Windows flash drive and boot your computer from it. Windows will load from the drive as if you’re going to install it.

When you get to the Windows Setup screen, press Shift and the F10 keys on your keyboard.

That’ll cause a Command Prompt window to open.

Windows Setup screen. Keyboard with the Shift and F10 keys marked.
Hit Shift & F10 to open Command Prompt.

Select The Windows Drive.

When the Command Prompt opens, it’s working from the flash drive. You need to point it towards your Windows folder on your computer.

Windows will typically be installed onto the C: drive. So type the letter C followed by a colon and press Enter on your keyboard.

Windows will typically be installed onto the C: drive.

So type the letter C followed by a colon and press Enter on your keyboard.

It’ll look like this –


C: has been typed into a Command Prompt window.
Type C: and press Enter.

Now that you’re on the C: drive you need to change the directory to the System 32 folder inside your Windows folder.

You do it by typing this command and pressing Enter

cd windowssystem32

cd windowssystem32 typed into command prompt window.
Type cd windowssystem32

When you click the Accessibility/Ease of Access icon on the Windows login screen, it opens a small Windows utility called Utilman (Utility Manager).

What we’re going to do is to move Utilman out of the way and then replace it with Command Prompt. Then when you click the Accessibility or Ease of Access icon, the command Prompt will open. Brilliant.

Type in these two commands, pressing the Enter key after each command.

rename utilman.exe utilman2.exe

copy cmd.exe utilman.exe

"rename utilman.exe utilman2.exe" typed into command prompt.
Type “rename utilman.exe utilman2.exe” then press Enter.
Type “copy cmd.exe utilman.exe” then press Enter

Restart Your Computer.

That’s the hardest part down. Restart your computer. You can either just close the open windows by clicking the X in the top righthand corner. Or if you’re getting the hang of this command prompt business type –

shutdown -r -t 0

Then hit the Enter key. PS, that’s a number zero at the end, not a letter o.

Creating A New Admin Account.

When your computer restarts, you’ll be back at the login screen. Still unable to get in because you don’t know the password. But we’re doing something about that.

Click the Accessibility or Ease of Access icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

This time a Command Prompt window will open.

Windows login screen. Accessibility icon is clicked and a command prompt window has opened.
To regain access to your computer open Command Prompt by clicking the Accessibility/Ease of Access icon.

Now we can create the new user account using the Command Prompt.

We have to type in two commands, the first will create the user account and the second will make it an Administrator account.

Press the Enter key after typing each command.

Note that you’ll replace the word username with whatever name you wanted the new account to have. IE, your own name.

net user username /add

net localgroup administrators username /add

Adding a new user account to regain access to PC after forgetting the password.
Type “net user username /add” then press Enter. Substitute “username” for your own name.
Adding the new user to the Administrators group.
Make the new user an Administrator by typing “net localgroup administrators username /add” and hitting Enter. Again Substitute “username” for your own name

Once that’s done, close the command prompt window, restart your computer and then log in to the newly created account.

As yet the account doesn’t have a password. So it’ll start right up. You can of course add a password later it you decide that you want one.

You’re Back Into Your Computer.

After clicking the newly added user account, eventually you’ll be presented with your desktop. Great, now at least you’re back into your computer.

Since this is a new account, all the default settings will be applied and you won’t have any files (documents, pictures etc) yet.

That’s the next job. Getting your files from your old account.

Windows desktop.
You’re back into your computer. Albeit with a different account.

Do You Have Any Files To Retrieve?

Not everyone will have files to retrieve. If you don’t, then you can skip this next section and move onto “Putting everything Back”.

Retrieving Your Files From Locked Account.

Now that you’re back into your computer, you can get the files and folders from your old account.

Open file Explorer by pressing the Windows key and the letter E on your keyboard then –

  1. Click This PC in the navigation pane
  2. Double left click on your C: drive
  3. Double left click the Users folder.
  4. Then double left click on the account name for which you’ve forgotten the password.
This PC is being clicked in File Explorer.
To get back the files & folders from your old account click This PC.
C: drive is indicated if File Explorer.
Then open the C: drive.
Accessing the User accounts folder in Windows to retrieve files from a locked account.
Next open the Users folder.
Selecting the account for which the password has been forgotten.
And finally select the account which is locked.

You’ll see a popup window appear.

“You don’t currently have permission to access this folder”

Click the Continue button.

"You don't have permission to access this folder" popup. Continue is highlighted.
To get your files you’ll need to grant yourself permission. Click Continue.

It might take some time.

Windows will then change the permissions on the folder to allow you to access it. It can take a while, it all depends on how much data you have and the speed of your PC.

Copy And Paste Your Files.

When all the correct permissions have been granted, you’ll see all the user folders associated with the account you’re locked out of.

Now all you need to do is to Copy & Paste the files that you want to retrieve.

You could use Cut & Paste to actually move the files, but I’d use Copy & Paste because you might regain access to this locked account.

User folders from the account that's locked in File Explorer.
Copy & Paste the files from your old (locked) account into your new account.

Putting Everything Back.

Now that you’ve regained access to your computer, we need to put CMD.exe and Utilman.exe back where we found them.

Restart your computer and boot into the Windows bootable flash drive again.

When you get to the Windows Setup screen, hit Shift and F10 to open the Command Prompt window.

Windows Setup screen. Keyboard with the Shift and F10 keys marked.
Press Shift and F10 to open the Command Prompt.

We need to change the directory that the command prompt is working in. It needs to be looking at the Windows System32 folder.

Then we’ll delete the Utilman.exe file. And finally rename Utilman2.exe to be Utilman.exe.

  1. Type C: and press Enter
  2. Type cd windowssystem32 and press Enter
  3. Type del utilman.exe and press Enter
  4. Type ren utilman2.exe utilman.exe and press Enter.
Changing drive in command prompt.
Deleting a file in command prompt.
Renaming a file in command prompt.


Forgetting the password for your computer can be a real pain, especially if your account is a Microsoft account.

In effect you’re locked out of your own computer. This guide is intended to help get you back in to your PC.

You can set the new account up any way you like. At the moment it’s a local account without a password. But your can add a password and change it to a Microsoft account if that’s what you want to do.

You could also delete the old, locked account if you wanted to, but I’d just leave it as is. You never know, you might suddenly remember the password. How To Delete A Windows User Account From A Windows 10 Or 11 Computer

Good Luck.

How to use chkdsk on a Windows PC
How to use SFC /scannow (system file checker).
How to restore all options to the Windows 11 right click menu.
How to use DISM.exe on your computer.
How to replace a missing recycle bin icon.

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