There are a number of reasons you may need to remove windows password protection from a computer the main one being that you forgot your windows password but there are other reasons you would need to remove or recover the password
- Someone changed the windows password and forgot to note it down
- Second hand laptop is password protected and you need to remove windows password protection from it
- You forgot your windows password
- Entering the password wrongly too many times can lock the computer out for a period of time if set and you don’t want to wait
I am asked to remove passwords more often than I would have imagined and a lot of the time it is children trying to get access to accounts guessing the password and then changing it. Needless to say I do deal with a lot of irate parents.
The remove windows password protection on the login screen I have always used a tool called “Offline NT Password & Registry Editor”
Burn The program to disc/USB
Download the program from http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ scroll down to download and either download the Bootable CD image and burn to a disk or if you are going to use USB download the files for USB install.
Warning: If password is reset on users that have EFS encrypted files, and the system is XP or newer, all encrypted files for that user will be UNREADABLE! and cannot be recovered unless you remember the old password again. This program is run at your own risk
Reboot using your selected media make sure the machine boots from either CD or USB as the first device or select the boot menu (on some machines this can be done by pressing ESC, F10 or F12)
The first screen you will see will contain a lot of code and can look very confusing.
It may take a minute to get this screen. You can tell it is complete once you see the part that says please select a partition number.
Select your primary partition. For example mine is number 2 so I press 2 and enter.
The next question you are asked is “what is the path to the registry directory” The chances are this is the default so type windows/system32/config and then press enter.
The program should then load the folders. You will then be presented with more options and you want to select option 1 “Password reset” Press 1 and then press enter.
The hives containing the data that will allow us to remove windows password protection will then load before you are presented with another menu list. We want to select option 1 on this menu “Edit user data and passwords”
We then get a list of users attached to the computer (sorry for the poor image quality)
Now type in the name of the user account (case sensitive) that you want to remove windows password protection from. You will have yet another option screen that gives you a number or user related actions you can perform.
Remove windows password
I would recommend not using option 2 “edit(set new) password” as it is a little hit and miss. The best option I find is to remove the password from windows logon completely and then add a password again via user accounts in windows.
Press 1 on the selected account and you will see a message that says password blanked.
Type an exclamation mark (!) and press enter. On the next screen type “quit”.
You will then be asked about writing changes and you need to make sure you press the Y key. You will then see a message that says edit complete. press n.
Remove the disc from the drive or the USB stick from the computer and press CTRL ALT and DEL together to reboot your computer.
You should find that your windows password is now removed and you don’t require a password to logon. If it is not successful and you still have to enter a password go through the steps again to remove windows password protection and ensure that they are written to the registry at the end as this is the most common cause of it not working correctly