How to Change or Reset a Windows 7 Password

by Reads (30,013)

If you’ve forgotten your Windows 7 password, or you just want to reset it, this handy guide will review all you need to know.

The steps in this article only apply to local computer accounts. If your account is a domain account, which is typical in a business environment, your domain administrator can reset your Windows 7 password. The methods outlined in this article will not apply.

NotebookReview.com does not take any responsibility for damage caused by following the advice in this article.

Removing or Changing a Windows 7 Password

Follow these steps if your computer is already password protected and all you want to do is change your Windows 7 password.

StartMenu

First, open the Start menu by clicking the Start button in the lower left of your screen and then clicking Control Panel.

ControlPanel1

Once in the Control Panel, set the View by drop-down to Category View in the upper right as highlighted in this screenshot. Then click User Accounts and Family Safety. Once there, click the User Accounts link.

ControlPanel2

Once you see a list of options, click the Change your password or Remove your password link to perform the desired action as highlighted in this screenshot.

ControlPanel3

Regardless of which action you choose, you’ll need to know the current password before proceeding.

If you want to change or reset the password for another account, click the second item highlighted in the screenshot, Manage another account. The shield icon next to this link means you’ll need to be an administrator to make changes.

Resetting a Windows 7 Password

There are two methods you can employ to reset a Windows 7 password. If you know your password but want to create a quick way to reset it, follow our step-by-step instructions for creating a Windows 7 password reset disk.

If your computer is password protected but you don’t know the password,  perform an advanced password reset. To follow this section of the guide, you’ll need to have your Windows 7 installation DVD handy.

  • Insert your Windows 7 installation DVD into your computer’s optical drive and then restart your computer. When prompted, press any key to boot from the disk.
  • The first setup screen will ask you to select your language. Select yours and then on the next screen, click the Repair your computer link at the lower left, instead of clicking the button to install Windows.
  • Select the drive where your operating system is loaded on the next screen (it’s likely C:\) and click the Next button to continue.
  • At the next screen, click the Command Prompt
  • Type the following command into the command prompt. (If C:\ is not your operating system drive, replace it in the following commands.)

Cmd1

copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\

  • Press the [Enter] key to execute the command.
  • Enter the following command after that:

Cmd2

copy /y c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe

  • Press the [Enter] key to execute the command.
  • Now restart your computer – you can just shut it off by pressing the power button. Remember to remove the Windows 7 installation DVD so your computer doesn’t try to boot from it again.
  • Once at the Windows login screen, quickly press the [Shift] key five times. Normally this would activate the “Sticky Keys” functionality in Windows but the above set of commands instead bound it to launching a command prompt. It’s through here we’ll initiate the password reset.
  • Enter the following commands:

Cmd3

net user myaccountname desiredpassword

  • Replace myaccountname and desiredpassword with your username and desired password, respectively. Your Windows account password has now been reset.
  • Before you give yourself a pat on the back, you’ll want to re-enable Sticky Keys functionality so that someone else can’t use this trick to reset your password. To do so, follow the steps we just ran through until you get to the point where you launch the Command Prompt after clicking Repair your computer…
  • Then enter the following command:

copy /y c:\sethc.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe

  • Press the [Enter] key to execute the command. You can then restart your computer and be on your way.

Conclusion

Windows 7 passwords need to be changed from time to time for various reasons. Whether you forget it or just want to update it as part of your normal security routine, this guide will ensure that you can change or reset your password at any time.

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