Software & Apps Windows What to Do If You Forgot Your Windows Vista Password Here some ways to get back in if you forgot your password by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on September 11, 2020 reviewed by Jessica Kormos Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Jessica Kormos is a writer and editor with 15 years' experience writing articles, copy, and UX content for Tecca.com, Rosenfeld Media, and many others. our review board Article reviewed on Jun 29, 2020 Jessica Kormos Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email Forgot your Windows Vista password? Don't feel too bad because you're not alone. We're supposed to make our passwords difficult to guess, but sometimes we make them so difficult that no one, not even us, can remember them. Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash There are several ways to find your forgotten Vista password: Use Your Windows Vista Password Reset Disk If at some point in the past, you created a Windows Vista password reset disk, congratulations for being proactive! Now is the time to use it. Your password reset disk will still work even if you've changed your Windows Vista password since creating it. Take Educated Guesses Before you skip over this seemingly obvious advice, really take a look at some of these ideas. If you haven't already, put some serious guessing effort in before you move on to more complicated ways of getting your password back. Most passwords, even overly complicated ones, are often inspired by everyday things in our lives, so you might be able to reverse-engineer your password by guessing how you came up with it. Is it possible that your Vista logon password was created using: your name?the name of a family member or friend?a pet's name?a birthday?your home or office address?something from your childhood?a favorite food?an often dialed telephone number?some combination of the above ideas? Need more help remembering it? See How to Guess Your Own Password for some other ideas. Have an Administrator Change It If you share your computer with someone else, that person might have administrator-level access, meaning they'd have the ability to change your Vista password for you. If you're the only user of the computer, this advice obviously won't do you much good. This is probably true for most people since the majority of us are the sole user of our computer. Use This Hack to Reset Your Vista Password Now we're getting into the serious stuff. Not impossible, even for the novice, just a lot more involved than guessing. If you've tried the easier ideas above and nothing worked out, follow our How to Reset a Windows Vista Password tutorial. Yes, there are few commands to execute and you may need to do some things you've never done before, but it's very straightforward and almost always does the trick. Hack Into the PC With a Password Recovery Program If there's no way you'll remember your forgotten Vista password, you have no password reset disk, you're the only user on your PC, and the reset trick didn't work, then it's time to move on to dedicated recovery/reset software. Windows password recovery programs are free software tools designed to reset/delete your password or recover the old password itself. They're not the easiest programs in the world to use but if you can follow step-by-step directions, a password recovery program is almost certain to get you out of this predicament. Still Can't Find Your Windows Vista Password? If you still can't get into Windows Vista, even after trying all of the free password recovery programs, you'll need to do a clean install of Windows. This is the type of recovery that will erase everything on your PC, including the password you can't remember. This is a drastic and destructive step, but if you forgot your Vista password and can't get in any other way, a clean install is guaranteed to get your PC back in full working order. What to Do After Resetting Your Password Once you've figured out your password, or reset it to make a different one, you should think about how to avoid this in the future. The last thing you want is to repeat these password reset methods again in a few months when you run into the same situation. Besides making a password reset disk as described in the link above, the next best way to make sure you can always get into Windows is to record your password somewhere. However, instead of writing it down next to your computer or committing a complex password to memory, consider storing it in a password manager. Just make sure to use one that has mobile access so that you can find your password without needing access to Windows. Another way to ensure that you're never without access to your computer is to set up auto login in Vista. This will let your computer store the password so that all you have to do is turn on your computer to log in to your user account—no password needed! This is definitely not a secure way to use your computer but it is an option.