5 Best Ways to Find Lost Windows Passwords

Find lost passwords to Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, etc.

The Windows log-on password is one of the most important passwords we have memorized and if you've lost this password, you'll definitely be inconvenienced. Pick from one of several ways to find your lost password in Windows.

Most of the methods listed below to find lost passwords apply to Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Some of these ideas might work for older Windows operating systems as well.

An illustration that tells readers how to recover a Windows password.
of 05

The quickest and easiest way to get back into Windows after losing your password is to reset it online—but only if you have Windows 11/10/8 and only if you use a Microsoft account to log in. If that doesn't describe your situation, move on to the next idea.

Since you use your Microsoft account as your Windows 11/10/8 credentials, and since Microsoft manages those accounts online, you can easily reset your lost Windows password from any browser, on any computer or device, including your smartphone.

Not sure if you log in to Windows with a Microsoft account? If you log in with an email address, then you're using a Microsoft account. If you log in with something other than an email address, like your name or some other handle, then you're using a local account and this method won't work.

of 05

Use Your Password Reset Disk

If you don't use Windows 11, 10, or 8, or do but log in with a local account, the easiest way to get out of a "lost Windows password" predicament is to use your password reset disk—assuming, of course, you have one. You'll know if you do.

Creating a password reset disk, which is actually probably a flash drive and not an old-fashioned floppy disk, is something you have to do before you lose your Windows password, not after.

You only have to make a password reset disk once. No matter how many times you change your password after creating the disk, it will still work to reset your lost password.

of 05

Have an Administrator Change Your Password

The next easiest way to find a lost Windows password is to forget the idea of finding it at all! Just have one of the other users on your computer change your lost password for you.

This will only work if one of the other people you share your computer with has a Windows log-on account that's set up with administrator access. One account usually is, so give approach this a try with as many accounts as you can.

The first account that was set up in Windows is often times set up with administrator access.

Obviously, you'll have to pass on this idea entirely if you're the only user on your computer.

of 05

Reset Your Password From 'Outside' of Windows

If downloading unfamiliar software, burning discs, or creating flash drives doesn't sound like things you're interested in, try an unofficial, but workable, hack of the Ease of Access feature of Windows to gain access to the Command Prompt outside of a login session.

You'll have to do a little command-line work but all you'll need is access to your Windows installation or recovery media—and a little patience.

On the other hand, the automatic password reset and recovery tools are probably going to be faster solutions from start-to-finish for most of you, than using this method.

of 05

Clean Install Windows

This is the option you really don't want to try but we include it here because it's a certain fix for a Windows lost password problem.

A clean install of Windows is a complete erasure of your hard drive, followed by a reinstallation of the Windows operating system. We have some great step-by-step tutorials linked below but the clean install process is time-consuming and you lose everything in the process.

If you skipped the previous two ideas above because they sounded too complicated, please know that a clean install is much more involved.

Was this page helpful?