A password reset disk is a USB device you can create and use to reset the password for a Windows 8 or 8.1 user account. We show you step by step in this guide.
In order to create a Windows 8 or 8.1 password reset disk, you’ll need to have an external storage drive handy. We recommend a USB flash drive. Even a small capacity model (1GB of less) will work fine. These can be found in most electronics stores or online for less than $20. Ideally you would use this USB flash drive for the sole purpose of acting as a password reset disk. After creation, it should be kept in a secure location at all times.
The advice in this article applies to all versions of Windows 8 and 8.1. Password reset disks work for local user accounts only. If your computer is part of a domain (Active Directory), which is common for work-issued computers, your user account password can only be reset by your network administrator.
Step 1: Log In to Your Account
To begin creating a Windows 8 or 8.1 password reset disk, first log in to your Windows account. The account you’re signing into is the account for which you’ll be creating the disk.
Step 2: Connect Your USB Flash Drive
The next step is to connect your USB flash drive and let Windows install its drivers. Windows will tell you when the installation is complete; it should take only a few minutes.
Step 3: Access the Control Panel
To access the Control Panel, open Search either by pressing the Windows + [S] keys simultaneously or by moving your mouse to the lower right corner of your screen and then up and then clicking Search. Type control panel and click the Control Panel item when it appears as shown here.
The Control Panel will open in a separate window. Once opened, ensure the View by drop-down in the upper right is set to Category (if not, change it to that). Then click the User Accounts and Family Safety link.
On the screen that follows, click the green User Accounts link.
On this last screen, finally click the Create a password reset disk link on the left. This will open the Forgotten Password Wizard.
Click the Next button to begin.
Note: If you get an error message at this point, you probably forgot to connect your USB flash drive!
This screen asks you to select your USB storage drive. It will likely be the default item in the list; if not, select it from the drop-down. The drive will likely be labeled D:, E: or F:. Once selected, click the Next button.
Enter the current password for the user account you’re logged into on this screen and then click the Next button.
The wizard will now create your password reset disk. Creating the password reset disk should take less than a minute.
Click the Finish button to exit the Forgotten Password Wizard. You have successfully created a Windows 8 or 8.1 password reset disk!
How to Use a Windows 8/8.1 Password Reset Disk
In the event you wish to use your Windows 8 or 8.1 password reset disk – as in, you forgot your user account’s password and wish to reset it – first access the Windows login screen. Simply type your password incorrectly and a link will appear to Reset your password…. Plug in your USB flash drive password reset disk and then click the link; the wizard that launches will guide you through the password reset process.
A password reset disk in the wrong hands could be used to reset the account password for whichever computer and user account for which it was created. Therefore it’s imperative to keep your password reset disk in a secure location, preferably away from the computer it was created with.
We explained the general purpose of a password reset disk in this article along with the individual steps necessary to create one using an off-the-shelf USB flash drive. A password reset disk can be used when needed to reset the password for a Windows 8 or 8.1 user account from the Windows login screen. It’s handy to have a password reset disk in the event a password should become forgotten or lost. This is especially useful for computers that are used infrequently. Remember to keep the password reset disk in a safe location away from the computer it was created with for security purposes.