In this article we show you how to create a Windows Vista password reset disk for a user account, which gives you a quick and convenient way to reset your password should you forget it.
A password reset disk is a USB storage device or floppy disk that stores an encrypted file which you can use to reset a user account should the need arise. You’ll be able to use the Windows Vista password reset disk to set a new password without needing to know the previous one.
Before You Begin
You’ll need the following to create a Windows Vista password reset disk:
- Login credentials to the Vista user account for which you want to create the password reset disk
- A USB storage device such as a flash drive OR a floppy disk drive and 3.5″ 1.44MB floppy disk
We recommend a USB flash drive as these are faster and more convenient to use than floppy drives. Even a drive with minimal capacity will do (1GB or less). You should use this storage device to serve only as a password reset disk.
(Note that password reset disks can only be created and used with local user accounts. Network and domain accounts have passwords which are managed by Active Directory – ask your network administrator in the event you wish to reset your password.)
Creating a Password Reset Disk
To begin creating your Windows Vista password reset disk, first open the Control Panel by clicking the Start button in the lower left of your screen and then clicking the Control Panel item. Once open, click the User Accounts link.
(Before proceeding further, connect the device you wish to use for your password reset disk to your computer – this means plug in your USB storage drive or insert your floppy disk.)
You’ll see a link in the left-hand pane of this window: Create a password reset disk. Click this to open the Forgotten Password Wizard which will guide you through the process.
On the initial screen, click the Next button to continue.
Select the drive you want to use to create your password reset disk on this next screen. Chances are that you’ll only have one choice here and it will already be selected. Click the Next button to continue.
(If you receive an error before getting to this screen, you probably forgot to connect your storage device!)
This next screen will ask you to enter your account’s current password; do so and then click the Next button once more.
The wizard will now create your password reset disk; this should take a minute or less to complete. Click the Next button to continue and then the Finish button on the final screen to complete the creation of your password reset disk.
Using a Password Reset Disk
Using your password reset disk is simple; first access the Windows login screen by turning on your computer. Click on your user account and type the password incorrectly; you’ll then see an option appear to reset your password. Click this link to open the Forgotten Password Wizard which will guide you through the process of setting a new password. You will not need to know your old password in order to set a new one as long as you’re using a password reset disk.
In this article we showed you the basics of how to create a Windows Vista password reset disk for a user account. After creation, remember to keep the password reset disk in a safe place preferably away from the computer as anyone could use it to reset your password. A password reset disk is otherwise a safe and reliable way to ensure you have a way to always access your account.