In this article we will describe a common scenario faced by many laptop users, and how to fix the problem. the scenario: I forgot my laptop password. If its happened to someone else, it seems really silly and we cant understand how anyone can have forgotten their laptop password. But when it happens to us, we understand that its very easily done – perhaps you changed it recently but cannot remember what you changed it to, or you have not used your laptop for a long time and thus cannot remember the password or perhaps you even changed the password but miss-typed it.
I forgot my laptop password
So, lets imagine I forgot my laptop password, the first thing I would do is write a list of possible passwords – what passwords can I remember using? Do I normally have uppercase letters? Do I normally use a number, if so which one and is it possible that I miss spelled the password?
Answering these questions and building a common list of possible passwords and then trying them systematically is a great way to start in this situation.
If i forgot my laptop passwords and that first attempt at recovery did not yield any results, the next thing I would try would be to check for other user accounts – do I have any other accounts set up on the computer, if so can I access them? If yes, are they administrative accounts?
If any accessible accounts are administrators (as apposed to guest accounts with limited access) then I could log in to one of those accounts, then navigate to control panel, user accounts and then “manage another account” and change the password for my account. If I forgot my laptop password then that would likely resolve the issue as I could simply enter a new one, then log out and back in to my account using that new password.
Failing that, if I forgot my laptop password on windows XP then I would reboot the laptop, keep pressing F8 during the next boot up to get into the boot start menu. I could then select the option to boot into safe mode, where I would be able to log in with the hidden administrator account – which doesn’t have any password by default, and then change the password for my account using the same method as above.
If I forgot my laptop password on windows 7 then I would not be able to use that method as windows 7 does not have a hidden administrator account. In this case I would then need to resort to the last solution: a password reset disk.
The password reset utility is available for download at the bottom of this page:
Once downloaded you will have an iso image that you can burn to a CD using any popular disk image program, such as Nero Express.
Once you have the image burned to a CD you can use it to boot up your laptop – make sure that you set the bios to boot from CD first, or alternatively, when the laptop turns on look out for the prompt to select a boot device (normally activated by pressing one of the function keys on the keyboard).
Once you have managed to boot into the password recovery utility, follow the comprehensive guide here in order to recover or reset your windows password.
A word of warning:
If you have encrypted files or in fact an encrypted profile and you reset your password then any files in the profile will be unrecoverable.
This option has to be specifically enabled when you create your windows account so it tends not to be in place for most users, but it is something to be aware of.