How to Change Your Password in Windows

Change your password in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP

There are several very good reasons you might want to change the password to your Windows computer. We'd like to think it's simply because you know it's a smart thing to do every so often to keep your PC secure.

Of course, another good reason to change your password is if your current password is too easy to guess...or maybe too hard to remember!

Illustration of a man changing the locks on a door on a PC computer screen
Lifewire / Maritsa Patrinos

Regardless of the reason, changing your password is very easy, no matter which version of Windows you have. You can change your password in Microsoft Windows via the User Accounts applet in Control Panel.

However, the steps involved to change your password differ somewhat depending on which operating system you're using, so be sure to take note of those differences when they're called out below.

This guide covers Windows 10 through Windows XP. See What Version of Windows Do I Have? if you're not sure which of those several versions of Windows is installed on your computer.

Windows 10 and Windows 8

  1. Using the search bar, type sign in options and then choose Sign-in options from the list of results.

    Sign-in options in Windows Search Bar

    If that doesn't work, open Control Panel, choose User Accounts (Windows 10) or User Accounts and Family Safety (Windows 8), then the User Accounts link, followed by the Make changes to my account in PC Settings, and finally Sign-in options on the left.

  2. In Windows 10, select Password and then choose Change.

    In Windows 8, choose Change from the Password section.

    Change button in Sign-in options window
  3. Enter your current password in the first text box and then select Next.

    Current password field in Change your password dialog, highlighting the Next button
  4. Enter your new password twice to verify that you've typed it correctly. You can type a password hint, too, which will help remind you of your password should you forget it when logging in. It's required in Windows 8.

  5. Select Next.

    Next button on Change your password, new password screen
  6. Select Finish.

    Finish button in Change your password dialog
  7. You can now exit any other open Settings, PC settings, and Control Panel windows.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

  1. Select Start and then​ Control Panel.

  2. Choose User Accounts and Family Safety if you're using Windows 7.

    If you're using Windows XP (or some versions of Windows Vista), this link is instead called User Accounts.

    If you're viewing the Large icons, Small icons, or Classic view of Control Panel, you won't see this link. Simply choose User Accounts and proceed to Step 4.

  3. Select User Accounts.

  4. In the Make changes to your user account area of the User Accounts window, choose Change your password.

    For Windows XP users, look instead for the or pick an account to change section, and select your user account, and then choose Change my password on the following screen.

  5. In the first text box, enter your current password.

  6. In the next two text boxes, enter the password you would like to start using.

    Entering the password twice helps to make sure that you typed your new password correctly.

  7. In the final text box, you're asked to enter a password hint.

    This step is optional but we highly recommend that you use it. If you try logging in to Windows but enter the wrong password, this hint will display, which hopefully will jog your memory.

  8. Select Change password to confirm your changes.

  9. You can now close the User Accounts window and any other Control Panel windows.

Tips and More Information

Now that your Windows password has been changed, you must use your new password to log in to Windows from this point forward.

Trying to change your password in Windows (because you forgot it) but can't get into Windows (again, because you forgot your password)? Most people use a Windows password recovery program to crack or reset the password but you should also see our complete list of ways to find lost passwords in Windows for some other options as well.

Another option is to create a Windows password reset disk. While not a required part of changing your password, we highly recommend that you do this.

You do not need to create a new password reset disk if you already have one. Your previously created password reset disk will work no matter how many times you change your Windows password.