If you’ve only created a local account on your Windows 10 installation you cant use the “reset password by email”-feature which you probably already know since you’re reading this.
I recently somehow did manage to forget a password to one of my computers but it was pretty easy to reset the password, but it took some time.
If you have encrypted your user directory, then I’m pretty sure this method wont get your data back. You will have better luck trying to brute force it. There’s lots guides for that too but I haven’t tested them, but one thing they have in common is that you need to get a USB, CD, DVD and put pretty much any kind of Linux Live CD you can boot and use directly.
This tutorial can look a bit complicated but I assure you that if you just follow the instructions carefully, you will most likely succeed and get admin access to Windows!
Ok, lets start!
1: Download Linux and get a USB stick
Unless you have Linux on a USB-stick or whatever then grab a Linux Mint ISO here.
Linux Mint is my favorite, but you can use any distro or some other OS too.
2: Make the USB-stick bootable
Format the USB-stick to use FAT32 as filesystem. I then used UNetBootin to put Linux Mint 64-bit on the USB-stick.
These days I use Rufus. It simply works better than Unetbootin in my opinion.
It is also released as a Open Source app, but only for Windows!
3: Time to boot Linux
OK, now it’s time to try to boot from the USB-stick. Depending on the manufacturer of your motherboard you can press a key to get into a boot menu where you can choose to boot directly from the USB-stick, but you can also change the boot order in UEFI/BIOS.
Hopefully you’ll get it working. I had to look under “Hard drives” instead of “USB” to find my USB-stick for some reason…
4: Fix the problem with hibernation/fastboot
When Linux Mint is loaded and ready to be used, you need to make some changes to be able to write to the Windows partition if you’re using Windows with hibernation/fastboot.
Start the application called “Disks” and select your Windows 10 partition (NTFS).
Click on the gear button below and click on “Edit Mount Options”.
Turn “Automatic Mount Options” off.
A bit further down you’ll see a text field with the text: “nosuid,nodev,nofail,x-gvfs-show”.
You need to add “,remove_hiberfile” (don’t forget the comma sign).
Save the changes you’ve made and click on the mount button to mount your Windows 10 partition again.
Hopefully you can now use any file manager in Linux to browse the Windows partition.
5: Browse Windows Partition and rename a file
Go into Windows/system32/
Locate the file called “Magnify.exe” rightclick on it and rename it to “Magnify.exe.old”.
Next, locate cmd.exe . Rightclick on it and click on “Copy”.
Paste it on your desktop or somewhere else and rename it to “Magnify.exe” and copy it back to Windows/system32/ .
Now we’re done with the Linux Part.
Shut it down and remove the USB and let Windows boot as usual.
6: Lets do the “little hack” and get into Windows as admin
In the right corner of the screen when you’re about to enter your password, click on “ease of access” and choose the Magnifier.
Now you’ll be running cmd.exe as admin and can reset the password. Pretty neat, eh?
Type “Net user” without the quotes to get the list of all the accounts.
To change the password for a user called “David”, you just type:
Net user David *
Now you’ll have to enter the new password, press enter. (you wont see any letters or so on the screen when you type). And then type the password again to confirm it.
If everything worked you should be able to login with the new password.