How to Reset the Admin Password in Windows 10

Retrieve or change the administrator password for a Windows 10 PC

A Microsoft Surface running Windows 10

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Forgetting the administrator password for your computer can be a big problem, so you should know how to reset your Windows 10 administrator password if you lose it.

Instructions in this article apply exclusively to computers running Windows 10. It is also possible to reset the administrator password on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

What Is a Windows 10 Administrator?

The administrator is the user in charge of a computer. Any Windows 10 device will let you create administrator accounts and standard accounts. Standard account users can access software without materially changing it, while administrator account users can make changes to your computer and how it functions.

On personal devices, the person who sets up the computer is designated as the administrator. For business devices, the administrator is often someone in the IT department. When a standard account user tries to do something they're not explicitly allowed to do, they are either blocked from doing so or required to provide the administrator password.

If you log into your computer using an email address, that means you're using a Microsoft account. If you use Skype, Hotmail, or any other Microsoft web service with the same email address as your username, then your password for those services will likely unlock your computer as well.

Before buying a second-hand device, make sure you're given administrator access.

How to Tell If You're a Windows 10 Administrator

To determine if you're an administrator:

  1. Press the Windows Key or select the Windows icon to open the Start menu, then select the gear icon to open the Settings.

    Select the Windows icon to open the Start menu, then select the gear icon to open the Settings.
  2. Select Accounts.

    Select Accounts.
  3. Check under your name and email. It will say either Administrator or Standard.

If you share a computer with a spouse or a family member, it's a good idea for you both to know the administrator password.

Check under your name and email where it will say either Administrator or Standard.

What to Do if You Forget Your Windows 10 Administrator Password

If you're the administrator, there are a few ways you can retrieve or change the password:

If all else fails, take a few guesses. While it's not necessarily great password security to use the same words and ideas to generate personal passwords, we all do it. If there's a common personal password you use on your devices, try it out and see if it works.

How to Reset Your Windows 10 Password

Select Forgot Password? on the sign-in screen of your Windows 10 device. You'll be asked to answer some security questions or perform other verification steps, such as providing a verification code sent to your phone.

If you have a Standard account, you can request whoever set up the computer to grant you administrator privileges. If the person who set up the computer isn't reachable, you can also install a fresh version of Windows 10, which will allow you to make yourself the administrator during setup.

Reinstalling Windows 10 will wipe the device and any data contained on it.  

Can I Retrieve Someone Else's Windows 10 Administrator Password?

It may be possible to obtain someone else's Windows 10 administrator password with third-party Windows password recovery software. You should have a Standard account on the device and the consent of the administrator.

Retrieving a password without the knowledge of the password holder may be a violation of computer crime statutes. 

Do I Need a Windows 10 Administrator Password?

It's possible to eliminate the need for an administrator password altogether. If your computer rarely leaves your home, or you don't use it to store any personal information, these simpler sign-in options may be better suited to your needs:

  1. Press the Windows Key or select the Windows icon to open the Start menu, then select the gear icon to open the Settings.

    Select the Windows icon to open the Start menu, then select the gear icon to open the Settings.
  2. Select Accounts.

    Select Accounts.
  3. Select Sign-in options in the left pane, then select the box under Require sign-in and choose Never.

Alternatively, you can choose to use a PIN or a picture password to log into your account.

Select Sign-in options in the left pane, then select the box under Require sign-in and choose Never.