To reset the Administrator password for Windows you need another PC that you have Administrative access to (not the PC you need to reset the Windows password for). Please download and install Passware Kit on this machine. Make sure you have a CD-RW or USB to create a reset disk.
NOTE: BitLocker encrypted drives are not supported for password reset.
1. Launch Passware Kit as Administrator (right-click on the icon and choose "Run as Administrator")
2. On the Start Page, click Windows Password. The following screen appears:
3. Insert your Windows Setup CD. If you do not have a Windows Setup CD, you can request a Windows Key.ISO download.
3.1.Browse for the Windows installation ISO image. If you use the Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/2008 Setup CD, search for BOOT.WIM fileboot file. The BOOT.WIM file is usually located in the "sources" folder. If you do not see the file in the aforementioned folder, choose "All files" from the filename field on the right.
3.2. Check "Add drivers for SCSI/RAID hard drives" if you need to reset the Windows password for the SCSI/RAID/IDE hard drive. You can browse for the folder with the drivers (ANSI encoding).
NOTE: Windows systems set up in UEFI mode are also supported. In addition, Passware Kit supports booting in UEFI mode directly from a WindowsKey.ISO file. Users no longer need to burn the password reset ISO onto a CD or USB drive in order to boot the locked virtual PC.
4. Choose one of the options to create a reset disk: CD/DVD, USB drive or just save a reset .ISO to your PC for later recording.
5. Click "Burn Disk" and the burning process starts. Passware Kit copies the necessary files from the Windows Setup into the ISO image file.
6. The password reset disk is now ready.
Now that you have created a Windows Password Reset CD or USB disk, you are ready to reset your password on a locked computer.
NOTE: In some cases you need to disable the "Secure Boot" in BIOS settings and boot to BIOS Legacy mode. It depends on the PC manufacturer and BIOS.
7. Reset the password using a CD or USB disk.
7.1. Reboot your system with created CD or USB disk.
NOTE: You need to change the boot order on your PC to boot from the reset CD/USB. During the BIOS initialization phase, press ESC/F12 to bring up the list of boot devices (here is a list of hotkeys covering most vendors).
7.2. After all the required files are loaded from the CD or USB drive, Windows Key process starts:
7.3. Enter the protection password if you have set it up while creating the Windows Password Reset CD\USB disk. Click Next. If you have not set a password, go to the next step.
7.4. Select the Windows installation to be unlocked. If there are several installations, use additional information from the table to choose the one you need to unlock. Click Next.
7.5. Select the Administrator Windows account (or Active Directory Administrator account/Domain account in Windows Key Business) for which you want to reset the password. Click Next.
Windows Key supports the reset for Windows Live ID accounts, they are marked under the "MS Live" column. The LiveID password will be reset to 12345678 (not blank!) and once on the Windows Login screen, one needs to change to a "Password" instead of "PIN" as the default option set for LiveID accounts. We recommend turning the internet off for the PC for LiveID account reset.
7.6. Review the list of tasks to complete. Click Next.
7.7. To reset passwords for other Windows installations or accounts, click Back To Start and repeat the process from Step 3.
7.8. Click Reboot if you are finished and want to exit. Note that the log file will be saved on the USB you have used to reset the process. Also, Windows Key performs a backup of the original registry and it is saved on the original files' location. The location of the backup is mentioned in the log file.
NOTE: Be aware that once the account password is reset, EFS-encrypted data becomes inaccessible and the data protected with DPAPI (Data Protection API), e.g., browser saved passwords get erased as well.
8. Remove the Windows Key bootable CD or USB disk to restart your PC and login to the required account with a blank password field or 12345678 password for LiveID accounts.
Now you are able to log into your computer without a password!