These techniques to recover a lost xp password are among the more
advanced Windows XP Tips and Tricks. In some cases, recovering from a
lost password can be very easy though.
For completeness' sake we start with the simplest tips that can
help you regain access to a locked account. But even if you find
yourself in a more complex situation, please read on. You'll find out
what to do.
Warning : Be extra careful if you are using
Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows XP Professional. If you don't
know what EFS is, you probably shouldn't worry about it. It's a feature
in Windows XP Professional that deals with file security on a local
level. If you do use it, please always make sure to
export your private and public keys before attempting to reset your
If you can login with another user account
If you share your computer with other users it's fairly simple to
regain access to your account. You could ask one of the other users to
log on to Windows with their password and perform the following steps :
- Click the Start button
- Click "Run"
- In the "Open" field, type "control userpasswords2" (without
- Click ok
Windows opens a user accounts dialog. Select the user with the
lost password and click the "Reset Password" button. Enter a new
password (and a second time in the confirmation box) and click ok. Click
ok once again and you are ready.
Now you can log on to your account using the new password.
More advanced password recovery
If there are no other users on your machine to unlock your
account, you need to reset your password "offline". Offline means that
you boot your pc from outside your usual Windows XP environment using a
boot disk or a bootable cdrom.
This offline technique to recover a lost xp password isn't for the
faint of heart; the procedure isn't presented in a nice graphical
interface and there even is a small risk involved ...
Sometimes the password reset fails and as a consequence you cannot
log on with the locked user account afterwards. This doesn't happen
often though, and if you are reading this because you need to recover a
lost xp password ...
you weren't able to log on after all ...
Of course you will need access to another pc to create a boot disk
or bootable cd.
Is your boot sequence right ?
Your computer's boot sequence is set in the BIOS and determines if
the pc can boot from a floppy or cdrom. To get into the BIOS, you
typically need to press a certain key or key combination during startup.
Depending on the brand of your computer this can be :
- The F1 key
- The F2 key
- The F10 key
- The del key
If you have made your way into the BIOS, now would the time to
choose either your floppy drive or your cdrom as primary startup device.