How to Reset a Windows 7 Password

Step-by-step guide to resetting a forgotten Windows 7 password

What to Know

  • Run Repair your computer from the Windows 7 installation disc and run an overwrite command in Command Prompt.
  • Remove the disc and restart the computer, execute the net user command with a new username and password.
  • For a full list of ways to reset or recover a forgotten Windows 7 password, see Help! I Forgot My Windows 7 Password!.

It's a simple process to reset a forgotten password to a Windows 7 computer. Aside from a password reset disk (discussed in Step 14 below), Windows hasn't provided a way to reset a Windows 7 password, but there is a clever trick that anyone can try using both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7.

As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

How to Reset a Windows 7 Password

Try our Step by Step Guide to Resetting a Windows 7 Password for an easy walkthrough if you prefer screenshots, otherwise follow these steps in order:

If you already know your password and just want to change it, see How Do I Change My Password in Windows for help with that.

  1. Insert either your Windows 7 installation DVD or a Windows 7 System Repair disc into your optical drive and then restart your computer. If you have either on a flash drive, that'll work, too.

    See How to Boot From a CD, DVD, or BD Disc or How to Boot From a USB Device if you've never booted from portable media before or if you're having trouble doing so.

    It's not an issue if you don't have original Windows 7 media and never got around to making a system repair disc. As long as you have access to any other Windows 7 computer (another in your home or a friend's will work fine), you can burn a system repair disc for free. See How to Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disc for a tutorial.

  2. After your computer boots from the disc or flash drive, select Next on the screen with your language and keyboard choices.

    Don't see this screen or do you see your typical Windows 7 login screen? Chances are good that your computer booted from your hard drive (like it normally does) instead of from the disc or flash drive you inserted, which is what you want. See the appropriate link in the tip from Step 1 above for help.

  3. Select Repair your computer.

    If you booted with a system repair disc instead of a Windows 7 installation disc or flash drive, you won't see this link. Just move on to Step 4 below.

  4. Wait while your Windows 7 installation is located on your computer.

  5. Once your installation is found, take note of the drive letter found in the Location column. Most Windows 7 installations will show D: but yours may be different.

    While in Windows, the drive that Windows 7 is installed on is probably labeled as the C: drive. However, when booting from Windows 7 install or repair media, a hidden drive is available that usually isn't. This drive is given the first available drive letter, probably C:, leaving the next available drive letter, probably D:, for the next drive—the one with Windows 7 installed on it.

  6. Select Windows 7 from the Operating System list and then choose Next.

  7. From System Recovery Options, select Command Prompt.

  8. With Command Prompt now open, execute the following two commands, in this order, pressing Enter after both:

    This one first:

    copy d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe d:\

    And then this one:

    copy d:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

    To the Overwrite question after executing the second command, answer with Yes.

    If the drive that Windows 7 is installed on in your computer is not D: (Step 5), be sure to change all instances of d: in the commands above with the correct drive letter.

  9. Remove the disc or flash drive and then restart your computer.

    You can close Command Prompt and select Restart but it's also okay in this situation to restart using your computer's restart button.

  10. Once the Windows 7 login screen appears, locate the little icon on the bottom-left of the screen that looks like a pie with a square around it, and select it.

    If your normal Windows 7 login screen didn't show up, check to see that you removed the disc or flash drive you inserted in Step 1. Your computer may continue to boot from this device instead of your hard drive if you don't remove it.

  11. Now that Command Prompt is open, execute the net user command as shown, replacing myusername with whatever your user name is and mypassword with whatever new password you'd like to use:

    net user myusername mypassword

    So, for example, I'd do something like this:

    net user Tim 1lov3blueberrie$

    If your username has spaces, put double quotes around it when executing net user, as in net user "Tim Fisher" 1lov3blueberrie$.

  12. Close the Command Prompt window.

  13. Log in with your new password!

  14. Create a Windows 7 Password Reset Disk! This is the Microsoft-approved, proactive step you should have done a long time ago. All you need is a blank flash drive or floppy disk, and you'll never need to worry about forgetting your Windows 7 password again.

  15. While not required, it would probably be wise to undo the hack that makes this work. If you don't, you won't have access to accessibility features from the Windows 7 login screen.

    To reverse the changes you've made, repeat Steps 1 through 7 above. When you have access to Command Prompt again, execute the following:

    copy d:\utilman.exe d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

    Confirm the overwrite and then restart your computer.

    Undoing this hack will have no impact on your new password. Whatever password you set in Step 11 is still valid.

  16. Your password should now be reset.

For a full list of ways to reset or recover a forgotten Windows 7 password, see Help! I Forgot My Windows 7 Password!.

Worried person trying to reset their password on a PC
Lifewire / Emilie Dunphy
  • How do I bypass the password on Windows 7?

    If you forget your Windows 7 password, use your Windows 7 password reset disk, have an administrator change your password for you, or hack your account with a password recovery program.

  • How do I factory reset Windows 7 without the password?

    To factory reset Windows 7, use the Windows 7 installation DVD or a drive with the operating system on it. If a recovery disc or partition came with your computer, use it. If you backed up using the built-in backup utility, restore your system image in the Control Panel's Recovery area.

  • What is the default password for Windows 7?

    Windows 7 doesn't have a default password. The administrator account doesn't have a password by default, so you have to make up your own password.

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