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How To Reset A Forgotten Windows Password.

You’ve forgotten your Windows password and can’t remember the answers to the security questions. In effect, you’re locked out of your own computer.

In this guide I’ll show you how to reset the Windows password without losing any data.

To Get Started.

To reset a forgotten password, you’re going to need to use Command Prompt. The problem is that you can’t open Command Prompt until you’ve logged in to your computer.

And you can’t log in because you’ve forgotten your password. So what can you do?

On the Windows login screen, down in the bottom right hand corner, you’ll see the Accessibility icon in Windows 11 or Ease of Access icon if you’re using Windows 10

When you click on it, it’ll give you various options such as turning on narrator and screen contrast etc. The important thing to note about this icon, is that it works without you needing to sign in to your PC.

By hacking your system (just a little bit) you can change what happens when you click the Accessibility/Ease of Access icon. You can make it open a Command Prompt instead.

Once you’ve got a command prompt, resetting your password is easy.

You’ll need to have a bootable Windows flash drive ready.

Windows 10 login screen. The Ease of Access icon has been clicked and menu is open.
Ease of Access icon in Windows 10.
Windows 11 login screen. The Accessibility icon has been clicked and the menu is open.
The Accessibility icon in Windows 11.

Local Accounts Only.

This guide to resetting a forgotten Windows password only works for Local Accounts. It won’t work for Microsoft accounts. If you’re not sure of the difference please read this post Explaining The Different Windows User Accounts.

Or if you’ve forgotten the password for a Microsoft Account click Forgot Computer Password – Microsoft Account.

Related Posts.

You’ll need to have a bootable Windows USB flash drive. If you haven’t already got one, these posts will help you out.

How To Create A Bootable Windows 10 USB Flash Drive.

How To Create A Bootable Windows 11 USB Drive.

How To Boot From A USB Drive For Windows.

Resetting Your Lost Password.

Plug in your bootable Windows flash drive, restart your PC and boot from the flash drive. After a few moments Windows will begin loading from your USB drive.

When the Windows Setup screen appears, press Shift and F10 on your keyboard. That’ll open a Command Prompt window.

Computer is booting from USB flash drive.
Allow time for the Windows setup files to load from your USB drive.
Windows Setup screen. Keyboard with the Shift and F10 keys marked.
Eventually you’ll see the Windows Setup screen. Press Shift and F10.

Select The C: 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.

C: has been typed into a Command Prompt window.
Type C: and press Enter
C:> is showing in command prompt.
You’ll see Command Prompt change focus to the C: drive.

Change Directory To Your Windows Directory.

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.
To change the directory type cd windowssystem32 and press Enter.
Command prompt is in the Windows system32 folder.
Command Prompt will move to the System32 folder.

Rename Utilman.exe

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

But to reset your forgotten password, you need it to open a Command Prompt window instead.

So you have to rename Utilman, and you do that by typing this command and pressing Enter –

rename utilman.exe utilman2.exe

Be sure to type the command in exactly as it appears here.

The Command Prompt won’t give you any indication that the command worked. You’ll just return to the C:windowssystem22> prompt.

"rename utilman.exe utilman2.exe" typed into command prompt.
Type rename utilman.exe utilman2.exe and press Enter.

Copy CMD.Exe.

The next step is to create a copy of the Command Prompt and save it with the file name Utilman.exe.

By doing this, when you click the Accessibility icon on the login page, it’ll open (or launch) a Command Prompt instead of the Utility Manager. Sneaky ehh.

The command you need to enter is

copy cmd.exe utilman.exe

This time command prompt will give you a notification that the file has been copied.

Now type copy cmd.exe utilman.exe and hit Enter.
Confirmation that a file has been copied.
This time you will get a confirmation.

Restart Your PC.

So what you’ve done is to rename Utilman.exe to be Utilman2.exe. Then you’ve created a copy of the command prompt, but changed the name to be Utilman.exe.

All you need to do now is to restart your computer and you can then reset the lost password.

You can restart the PC by simply closing all the open windows or by entering this command into the command prompt –

shutdown -r -t 0

PS, that’s a zero not the letter o

Resetting Your Forgotten Windows Password.

That’s pretty much the hard work done. Now you can access a Command Prompt to change your password.

Allow your computer to boot up properly. You should end up at the Windows login screen.

At the login screen, click the Accessibility or Ease of Access icon in the lower right corner.

If you got everything right in the earlier steps, a Command Prompt window will open.

Windows login screen. Accessibility icon is clicked and a command prompt window has opened.
To reset your password, open Command Prompt by clicking the Accessibility/Ease of Access icon.

Control Userpasswords2.

Into the Command Prompt window type this command-

control userpasswords2

And then press Enter.

Resetting a password from the command prompt.
Type control userpasswords2 and press Enter.

Changing User Account Passwords

The User Accounts window will open.

Select the account that you’ve lost (or forgotten) the password for and then click the Reset Password button.

In the Reset Password box you can type in a new password for the account. Or if you don’t want any password at all, you can simply leave it blank.

Click the OK button when you’re finished.

Account name selected and Reset Password button is highlighted.
Select the account you require and then click the Reset Password button.
New password box is empty.
Enter a new password or simply leave it blank.

Close all open windows and then re-start your computer. When you get back to the Windows login page, you’ll find that you can sign in using the new password that you’ve set.

All your files, folders and programs will be there just where you left them. Brilliant.

Reset Password Button Is Greyed Out.

The Password Reset button is greyed out and unusable (unavailable) if you select a Microsoft account.

You can only reset a password for a local account.

A Microsoft account has been selected and the Reset Password button is greyed out.
You can’t reset Microsoft account passwords this way.

After Resetting Your Password.

Now that you can get back into your Windows account, you’ll need to put everything back where it came from.

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.

Just as before you have to change the directory that the command prompt is working in. It needs to be looking at the Windows System32 folder.

Then you’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.

Finally type shutdown -r -t 0 and press Enter to restart your computer. Again that final character is a zero not a letter o.


Forgetting your Window password needn’t be the end of the world. You can get back into your computer providing you’re using a local account rather than a Microsoft account to sign in.

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