How To Change or Reset a Windows 8/8.1 Password

by Reads (133,565)

Windows 8 and 8.1 provide several new ways to access a computer compared to previous versions of Windows; we now have the option to connect a Microsoft account, set a PIN and create a picture password. This can naturally complicate the process of resetting the password; in this article we take you through the steps to accomplish that.

Reset your Microsoft Account Password

When you set up your Windows 8 account, Windows gave you the option to link that computer account with your Microsoft (or Hotmail/Live) account; if you did this, Microsoft has a process to reset your password:

  • https://login.live.com
  • Click the “Can’t access your account?” link and follow the steps to reset your password.

Switch to a Local Account

If a Windows account is linked with a Microsoft account (including Hotmail/Live accounts), you’ll first have to disconnect it before you can remove the password.

If your Windows account is linked to your Microsoft account, you can disconnect it by following these steps (note: you’ll need to know the password for your Microsoft account per the instructions in the previous section):

  • Bring up the Charms menu by pressing the Windows key + [C] simultaneously (touchscreen users: swipe in from the right side)
  • Click or touch “Settings”
  • Click “Change PC settings”
  • Click “Accounts” from the left-hand menu
  • Under your account name, click “Disconnect”
  • Enter the password for your Microsoft account and follow the steps to disconnect your account

Removing/Resetting a Local Account Password

This step involves using the Command Prompt when logged in under an account with administrative privileges.

  • Access the Start menu by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard
  •  Type “cmd” — this will bring up the Command Prompt in search results
  • Right-click the Command Prompt > Run As Administrator
  • Use the following command line to remove the password for any account (replacing “username” with the name of the user account you wish to remove the password for):
    • Net User username “”
  • The password for the account is now removed.

Setting a Standard Password

It’s a good idea to set a new password for an account after removing its password. Follow these steps to add a password:

  • Bring up the Charms menu by pressing the Windows key + [C] simultaneously (touchscreen users: swipe in from the right side)
  • Click or touch “Settings”
  • Click “Change PC settings”
  • Click “Accounts” from the left-hand menu
  • Click “Sign-in options”
  • Under the “Password” section, click “Add” or “Change”

Setting a PIN

Windows 8 has a feature that lets you set a four digit PIN to quickly unlock your computer, much like mobile phones. You’ll still have to enter your full password when you login for the first time however.

  • Bring up the Charms menu by pressing the Windows key + [C] simultaneously (touchscreen users: swipe in from the right side)
  • Click or touch “Settings”
  • Click “Change PC settings”
  • Click “Accounts” from the left-hand menu
  • Click “Sign-in options”
  • Under the “PIN” section, click “Add”

 Setting a Picture Password

Another new Windows 8 feature is the ability to set a picture password for your account.

  • Bring up the Charms menu by pressing the Windows key + [C] simultaneously (touchscreen users: swipe in from the right side)
  • Click or touch “Settings”
  • Click “Change PC settings”
  • Click “Accounts” from the left-hand menu
  • Click “Sign-in options”
  • Under the “Picture Password” section, click “Choose Picture”
  • After choosing a picture, you’ll be prompted to create a series of three gestures which will become your picture password.

I found picture passwords are only practical with touchscreens; it’s difficult to accurately duplicate gestures using a traditional mouse and worse yet, anyone looking at your screen can see the gestures you’re making.

Conclusion

Resetting a password in Windows 8 is potentially more complicated than it was with previous versions of Windows; this is mainly due to the fact that there are new ways to access an account such as connecting a Microsoft account. In this way we walked through the steps to reset the password not only for a Microsoft account but also for non-connected Windows 8 accounts. Finally we walked through the steps to create a new password, picture password and PIN.

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