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How to reset the account password in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 without using third party tools

If you forgot the password for your Windows account and are unable to log in using any other account, then this article will definitely be useful for you. Today, we will see how to reset the account password in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 without using third party tools. All we need is bootable media with Windows Setup. The instructions are applicable to all mentioned versions of Windows. Also, you can reset Windows 7 password using Windows 8 boot disk and vice versa. Follow the instructions below.

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You need to use the Windows setup disk with the appropriate architecture - 32-bit or 64-bit depending on which Windows you have installed. To create a bootable USB disk, see this article: How to create a bootable USB stick to install Windows in Windows 8 or Windows 7
  • If you have Windows 7 x86, use Windows 7 x86 or Windows 8 x86 setup disk
  • In case you have Windows 7 x64, use Windows 7 x64 or Windows 8 x64 setup disk
  • If you have Windows 8 x86, use Windows 7 x86 or Windows 8 x86 setup disk
  • In case you have Windows 8 x64, use Windows 7 x64 or Windows 8 x64 setup disk

If you are not able to boot from DVD media, that is, your PC does not have an optical drive, you can create a bootable flash drive.

  1. Boot from the Windows installation disk/USB stick with Windows setup.
  2. Wait for the "Windows Setup" screen:
    Windows Setup
  3. Press Shift + F10 keys together on the keyboard. This will open the command prompt window:
    Shift + F10
  4. In the command prompt, type regedit and press the Enter key. This will open Registry Editor.
  5. Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key on the left.
    select hklm
    After you select it, run the File -> Load Hive... menu command. See more details here: How to access the registry of another user or another OS.
    load hive
  6. In the load hive dialog, select the following file:
    DRIVE:\Windows\System32\config\SYSTEM

    Replace the DRIVE part with the letter of the drive where your Windows installation is located. Usually it is drive D:.
    05 - 1  config dir
    system file

  7. Enter any desired name for the hive you are loading. For example, I gave it a name 111:
    key name
  8. Go to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\111\Setup

    Edit the cmdline parameter and set it to cmd.exe
    Change the SetupType DWORD parameter value to 2.
    setuptype

  9. Now select 111 on the left and run the File -> Unload hive menu item in Regedit. Close Registry Editor and all open windows. Your PC will be rebooted.
  10. Eject your bootable media and boot from your PC's local drive. The screen will look like this:
    after reboot
  11. Type the following command in the opened command prompt:
    net user

    It will show you all accounts that exist on your PC.
    net user

  12. To set a new password for your Windows account, type the following command:
    net user login new_password

    If your login name contains spaces, type it as follows:

    net user "your login" new_password

    For example:
    net user password

  13. That's it. Close the command prompt window to continue.

You are done! Windows will show the login screen, and you will be able to sign in using the password you just set!
login
All credits go to our friend "Morpheus" for sharing this incredible tip.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

15 thoughts on “How to reset the account password in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 without using third party tools”

  1. Awful trick! I usually use PCUnlocker Live CD to reset lost Windows password. I’ll try your trick on my virtual machine later. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Worked perfectly!
    I performed this on a wimboot UEFI tablet using a WIn8.1 install USB stick created from the Microsoft Link.
    Once that work was done, I was able to reset my forgotten password in less than 5 min.
    You saved me a complete reset!
    Thank You!
    Jim

  3. Now select 111 on the left and run the File -> Unload hive menu item in Regedit. Close Registry Editor and all open windows. Your PC will be rebooted.
    and ? i remove and same thing windwos boot the windows.. stupid step.

  4. To Morpheus and the article writer: I love U PPL!! This saved me countless hours reinstalling the Windows 10 preview after an upgrade to the latest build decided to corrupt the password and hence lock me out.. This worked a treat on WinX build 10130 abd just saved me days and gigs of updates reinstalling. Thanks!!!!!

  5. Thank you.

    A simple and effective solution.
    I unlocked an Acer P3 tablet running Win8 using WinPE offline reg editor.

    Painful journey but worth it. Does this also work for Vista / Win 7 ?

  6. Srsly, you are the man. I tried many methods and all fell short in various places. This was ‘cleaner’ than the rest and worked amazingly. Thx much.

  7. I suppose I am doing something wrong. My friends son died as the result of an automobile accident 14 months ago.They just recently received the computer. I got into the regist. and could open HKLM but did not have option to load hive.That was greyed out. Kon-Boot nor Hirans Boot CD would unlock it either. I figure probably the dead sons’ spirit doesn’t want anyone seeing what is on the HD. ?? I enjoyed reading your posts,and I’m sure if pass word was only problem ,it would have unlocked. jwe

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