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Update: This new guide solves the Windows Defender issue when resetting a Windows password.
In my last post, I explained how you can recover a Microsoft account password using Microsoft’s online forms. If this failed, the method described below will help you sign in again to your Windows 10 computer and access the files associated with your Microsoft account. If you are used to signing in to your Windows 10 computer with a local account instead of a Microsoft account, you can use the method here to reset your password.
If you forgot the password for your Microsoft account and you were unable to reset the password with Microsoft’s online recovery methods, the best way is to create a new local account so you can sign in again to your Windows 10 computer. This method will also allow you to access all of your Microsoft account’s local files.
WARNING: If you encrypted files with EFS, you will no longer be able to access those files if you follow this procedure.
This password is incorrect
Following are the steps to reset a Windows 10 password:
- Boot from the Windows 10 DVD. Make sure that your PC setup is configured to boot from a DVD and that UEFI and Secure Boot are disabled.
Boot from Windows 10 DVD
- Press SHIFT + F10 to open a command prompt.
Open a command prompt with SHIFT + F10
- Replace the file utilman.exe with cmd.exe. Before you do this, you should make a copy of utilman.exe so that you can restore it later. Note that you can only restore this file if you boot again from the Windows DVD. Windows 10 is usually installed on drive D: if you boot from a DVD. You can verify this with "dir d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe." If the system can't find utilman.exe, try other drive letters.
move d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe.bak copy d:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
- After you have replaced utilman.exe successfully, you can remove the DVD and restart your problematic Windows 10 installation:
- On the Windows 10 sign-in page, click the Utility Manager icon.
Click Utility Manager icon
Since we replaced the Utility Manager with the cmd.exe, a command prompt should open now. Don’t worry about the error message.
Command prompt at sign-in page
- You can now add a new user with the command below. We also have to add the user to the administrator group so that we regain full control of our Windows installation. Replace <username> with the account name of your choice. Note that the account name must not exist on this Windows installation. Don’t let the Windows 10 screen saver distract you.
net user <username> /add net localgroup administrators <username> /add
Add a new user and adding the user to the administrator group
- Click the screen to make the sign-in page appear again. Your new account should show up, and you can sign in without a password.
Sign in with a new local account
- You can now access the files associated with your Microsoft account in the C:\Users folder.
- If you worked with a local account instead of a Microsoft account, you can reset your password in Computer Management. Right-click the Start button, select Computer Management, and navigate to Local Users and Groups. Right-click your local account and select Set Password.
Reset Windows 10 password
A shorter way to reset the password of a local account is to replace the first command in step 6 with the following command. (In this case, you don’t need to create a new user.)
net user <username> <password>
Notice that resetting a password with this command doesn’t work with a Microsoft account. The only way to reset a Microsoft account password is through the online forms.
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Unfortunately, my Win10 installation does not have the Utility Manager icon on the login screen. Any suggestions?
BTW, this is a Win10 laptop that was passed to me & don't have either the PIN (I got around that) or the password (struggling with that). All the Linux-based utilities I try fail to load.
@Garrett : in the past I used NTPWEdit as explained here: NTPWEdit – Reset Windows 7 password . You can run this tool from a Hiren’s BootCD PE . The best alternative is Lazesoft Recovery It allows to unlock and reset Windows local admin accounts.
Well, I finally figured the problem was that the password was a Microsoft account password and it couldn't be changed by the usual hacks. I contacted the person who gave it to me and used the "email temp login" (or, however it's worded). I did that, he got the temp login code & gave it to me. I got in and set it up for local login with a new password. Now everything is just fine.
Thank you very much for your help. Much appreciated.
A quick reminder, both tools does not access to local data if your system drive is encrypted.
the guy is good, i must admit!
when creating a new user it resquest a password just put one after writting the name of the user.
Thank you very much, your method worked perfectly well! Thank you for your time and trouble posting this procedure.
thank you so much!
I Followed the instructions (Though since I didn't have a windows Installation Disc, I had to use the Media Creation Tool with a USB) yet the problem is even though I replaced the utility manager with command prompt, when I restart my system and click the utilman icon it doesn't come up, is there a solution for this?
I guess Windows Defender causes the problem. After replacing ultilman.exe you can try booting in troubleshooting mode and then disable malware detection.
how do i get the utilman.exe back from cmd.exe copy the bak one over the cmd and then ren didnt work
Good question these are the commands I use to reverse the hack. Load up with the recovery disk again and open command prompt. You might need to do d: instead of c: depending on which disk letter is assigned randomly to your OS. These command got me my regular functionality of the accessibility tool back.
step 1 & 2 worked perfect with the prompt indicating that the file (utilman.exe) was indeed moved to utilman.exe.bak.
I cannot copy cmd.exe however. I receive an error: “the file cannot be accessed by the system. 0 file(s) copied.”
Best I can make of this is that MS has caught on to our antics and somehow locked the cmd.exe so that it cannot be copied. While I wait for a response, I may try to copy a cmd.exe from another pc onto a drive and then copy it from there to utilman.exe…
thanks for the great edit otherwise!
Worked perfectly for me this evening. Turns out the device was running BitDefender for its AV, so no problem mucking about with the Utilman.exe. Device running Win 10 Home, v1809 (build 17763.805).
Thanks for the post – still working 5+ years later! Kudos!
Hi, I have forgotten the local account (admin) windows sign in password and my system having in built windows 10. Trying a troubleshoot through safe mode following above steps, its still asking to sign in local account password. Please help, how reset/recover the password then.
Hey! Thanks for this post, was so useful!
Another hint into creating or editing, is instead using CMD and you want an user interface to do the things, run "control userpasswords2" and add an user. I reset the account using the "Advanced Options" button and Right-Clicking the trouble user and "Reset Password".
If you have an "MS Account" theres no trouble, just add a new user using this GUI.
Good Stuff . Thanks
Hi,thank you, it worked for me to, the only thing is when you replace utilman.exe with command prompt you have to use the drive letter where you have Windows installed not the drive with the temp windows, for me it was dir C:\windows\….. thank you again
Still working, thank you!
Can somebody just tell me how to reset a Power-on Password? I don't have an installation disk for Windows 10 so none of your instructions work. I have an old computer with windows 10 that nobody knows the password for and it asks for a Power on password. I have hunted Google for 3 days now. Is there someway to just reset it or blank it out?
Power on password is not related to Windows but to BIOS/UEFI. If you dont know it, there is usually a jumper on the motherboard. By connecting the jumper BIOS/UEFI will reset to the default settings and the password is gone.
@Lara, the only solution is reset BIOS settings. Find you computer vendor and model, then find the procedure for this reset. Here an example how to reset BIOS settings by Dell KB: How to Perform a BIOS or CMOS Reset and Clear the NVRAM on Dell Systems
Wow! Worked well for us! Very straight forward tutorial and walkthrough. We finally gained access to our computer. Cheers!
Thank you so much !!
I have a big problem and I hope you can help me.
I have got my first laptop yesterday and I accidentally made a microsoft account with an email which doesn't exist. When I want to open my laptop then microsoft ask me for my password but I was stupid and forgot it. So I tried to reset it with microsoft forms but it didn't work. Microsoft teams sent me an email and said, that I gave too little Informations but I can't give more informations because I haven't use my account yet. Now I can't log in my new laptop.
What should I do to solve my problem?
the same process as described in the post should solve the issue. You simply create new admin account and then you can remove the incorrect one.
Must it be a DVD of Windows 10 or will a bootable USB with W10 work? Also, must Secure Boot and UEFI be disabled even if you have a secure boot signed W10 USB image? And if I must disable them, will the computer still boot with those disabled?
Thanks a lot, vey helpful.