How to Find the Windows Administrator Password

Screenshot of the Administrator login prompt in Windows 10
Administrator Password Prompt (Windows 10).

An administrator (admin) password is the password to any Windows account that has administrator level access. There are a few scenarios where you might need access to an administrator account, like if you're trying to run certain types of programs or access certain Windows recovery tools.

In newer versions of windows, like Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, most primary accounts are configured to be administrator accounts, so an administrator password is most often the password to your account.

Not all user accounts are set up this way, but many are, especially if you installed Windows on your computer yourself.

There's also a built-in "Administrator" account in all versions of Windows that functions as another, pre-configured admin user account, but it doesn't typically show up on the logon screen and most people don't know it exists.

That said, if you're using an older version of Windows, like Windows XP, you may need this admin password when accessing the Windows XP Recovery Console or when trying to boot into Windows XP Safe Mode.

Tip: The steps involved in finding your admin password is essentially the same in each version of Windows.

How to Find the Administrator Password in Windows

Note: Depending on the situation, finding the password to an admin account may take minutes up to hours.

  1. If you're trying to login to the actual "Administrator" account, try leaving the password blank. In other words, just press Enter when asked for the password.

    This trick doesn't work nearly as often in newer versions of Windows as it did in Windows XP but it's still worth a shot.
  1. Enter the password to your account. Like we mentioned above, depending on how Windows was set up on your computer, the primary user account will often be configured with administrator privileges.

    If you installed Windows on your computer yourself, this is very likely the situation for you.
  2. Try to remember your administrator password. As mentioned in the last step, your account might be configured as an administrator, especially if you installed Windows on your computer yourself.

    If that's true, but you've forgotten your password, you might be able to make really good guesses at what the administrator password might be.
  1. Have another user enter his or her credentials. If there are other users that have accounts on your computer, one of them may be set up with administrator access.

    If this is true, have the other user designate you as an administrator as well.
  2. Recover an administrator password using a Windows password recovery tool. You may be able to recover or reset an administrator password with one of these free tools.

    Note: Some password recovery tools in the list linked above also have the ability to add administrator privileges to regular Windows user accounts, which could be valuable if you know your account's password but it's not an administrator account. Some can also enable accounts like the "Administrator" account.
  3. Perform a clean install of Windows. This type of installation will completely remove Windows from your PC and install it again from scratch.

    Important: Obviously, don't attempt this extreme solution unless you absolutely must. Don't do it just because you're curious what the password is.

    For example, if you're needing an admin password to access operating system diagnostic tools and this is your last effort to save your PC, performing a clean install will work because you'll have an opportunity to set up a new account from scratch during Windows setup.
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