Reset windows 10 password using bootable usb drive

Created: Thu 14 Sep 2023 Updated: 9 months ago

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Windows 10 by Microsoft is the most used operating system nowadays. Despite being heavily used in the world, still there are many issues that are beyond Microsoft's domain of service. One of them is forgetting the login password.

In this article, I'll tell you how you can reset your Windows 10 password using a very simple yet effective method. Please keep in mind that this article is purely for education purposes only, do not misuse it. I've tried this method on Windows 10, but It might also work on Windows 11 as well.

Prerequisites

To get started with the process, all you need is a Windows 10 bootable USB drive. If you already have it, you are good to go, otherwise, you need the following resources to create a bootable USB drive:

  • Second working windows machine.
  • USB drive with minimum 8GB storage.
  • Windows 10 ISO image - Download it from Microsoft.
  • Rufus - USB utility tool to create bootable USB flash drive. Download and install it.

Windows 10 ISO image is required to create the bootable USB drive using rufus utility tool. And since you forgot your Windows 10 password which is why you need access to a second Windows machine to create a bootable USB flash drive.

Creating Windows 10 Bootable USB drive

After you have downloaded the ISO image and installed rufus, insert your USB drive in the system. Make sure you have taken a backup of this USB drive because creating a bootable USB drive action will erase all the data on it. Follow the below steps to create a bootable USB drive of Windows 10 using Rufus:

  • First insert the USB drive in the system.
  • Open rufus and click on SELECT options to choose the ISO images.
  • Click on START initialize the process of creating USB flash drive.

This process might take some time (depending on your system hardware specifications). Eject the USB drive after the process is completed.

Reset Windows 10 password

Now that you have Windows 10 bootable USB drive, follow the below steps to reset the password:

  • Insert the USB drive in that system where we want to perform a password reset and restart the system.
  • Open boot devices menu by pressing F8 or F12 button while system booting. Boot devices menu looks like this: boot-menu Select the USB drive from boot devices. Based on the system and USB drive manufacturer, you might have different boot menu shortcut keys and boot device names along with the boot device menu layout. Our main objective is to boot from USB drive.
  • From windows 10 installation screen, select Repair your computer from bottom left side. It will open the system repair menu. Select Troubleshoot from options. Now select System image recovery from options.
  • System image recovery window will open. Click on Cancel > Next > Advanced, select option Install a driver and then click ok to proceed further.
  • A windows with name Open will appear. From this window, you can access your system drives. Open the C drive and navigate to Windows\System32 folder. c-drive
  • In System32 folder, find the Utilman named file and rename it Utilman_backup as shown in below image: rename utilman You might have to press F5 to refresh and reflect changes.
  • After renaming Utilman file, find Cmd file in System32 and rename it as Utilman. rename cmd
  • Now close all the windows and select Continue from repair menu that will exit the setup and restart the system. You can manually restart the system if needed.
  • On windows login page, Click on Ease of access icon on the bottom right side of screen. It'll open the terminal window. ease of access
  • In terminal, run net user pbxforce admin123 to change the password. net user command is used for managing user accounts in Windows systems. cmd command Here pbxforce is my current-user-name and admin123 is the new password for that user. You must replace pbxforce and admin123 with your own username and password.

If you follow the process correctly then your password has been reset and you can log in using new password.

Reverting back file names to original

After changing the password, It's necessary to change the file names back to their original names. Otherwise, you won't be able to access Command prompt after login. Process is very simple: Boot again from USB drive and rename both files back to their original names (from Utilman to cmd and Utilman_backup to Utilman).

Conclusion

Keep in mind that this method should only be used as a last resource. Usually, you should use password reset disk that can be created from User Accounts menu in Windows 10. Using password reset disk is a simple yet very effective method when it comes to resetting the Windows 10 password. After resetting the password using the abootable USB drive method, make sure to rename the files back to their original names to prevent unexpected errors.

Windows 10 password reset
protocolten-admin

Author: Harpreet Singh
Server Administrator

POST CATEGORY
  1. Windows
  2. System Admin
  3. Security
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