How to Recover Your Windows Login Password Without an OS Reinstall
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you can’t get into your Windows PC because you forgot the password, we feel your pain. Unless you’re aware of other options, you may think that reinstalling Windows would be the only way forward. Thankfully, you’d be wrong!
Recovering a Windows login password without a reinstall is actually one of the easiest things to do, now that there are several premium tools available. The only problem is, who do you trust? Pretty much everyone makes the same claim, offers similar pricing and promotes their product the same way. So how do you know which software to actually pay for so you don’t get let down when push comes to shove; meaning, what do you do when you’re in a bind and you need to access your PC quickly?
For your convenience, we’ve covered a couple of methods you can use to recover a forgotten Windows password.
Method 1: Rack Your Brain for the Password
If you’re like most computer users, you only have a few passwords that you use over and over again. Try different combinations of the passwords you normally use, and it might pay off. It could be a date of birth or an anniversary, the name of your first child, the company you first worked for or any of those common things that would be easy to remember.
On the other hand, if you’re a security buff, then your password will most likely be a random string of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. What do you do in that case? Well, there are a couple of options you could try.
Method 2: Freeware
Free password cracking tools are available for a dime a dozen. Actually, 100% free a dozen! However, you need to be aware of the risks of using freeware. For one, the tool you download might be outdated, which means it’s got security holes that could end up compromising your system and your data. Second, freeware usually doesn’t have any tech support other than perhaps from community members or in tech forums. Third, the software may not have been tested with your computer’s particular configuration, which could lead to data corruption, data loss and other problems you don’t want to deal with.
That said, there are a couple of free options you could try if you’re willing to take the risk.
Ophcrack, for example, is a fairly functional utility that you can download for free. Just download the ISO file on another PC, then burn it to a disk or USB drive. You now have bootable media with which you can unlock your Windows PC.
Another good free utility is Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, which works a lot like Ophcrack. However, it erases your password rather than recovers it. If that’s going to be a problem because of multiple users accessing that machine, then perhaps a premium tool is more suitable for your specific needs.
Method 3: PassMoz LabWin
One of the best premium tools for Windows password recovery we’ve come across is PassMoz LabWin. Designed for quick and efficient password recovery, this utility is ideal for most versions of Windows including Windows 10.
There’s a free trial version that you can download before buying the license so you can review its capabilities and interface without actually paying for anything. Once you’re happy that this is the right choice, you can purchase the license and activate the software.
One of the great things about PassMoz LabWin is that you don’t need special ISO burning software; it’s embedded within the utility. That means just one piece of software to take care of any locked Windows machine.
Here’s how to use PassMoz LabWin:
Step 1: Download the software on a borrowed PC and install it there.
Step 2: On the borrowed PC, launch the software and insert a disk or drive to create the bootable media. This is one of the advantages of this utility because you can burn the bootable ISO file to either a DVD/CD or a USB drive, which is very convenient when the borrowed PC doesn’t have a working disk drive or working USB port. You didn’t think your friend was going to lend you his brand new Windows 10 Surface laptop, did you?
Step 3: On the interface, choose the appropriate option and burn the media to the desired location.
Step 4: Now, remove the disk or drive from the borrowed PC and insert it into the locked PC. Boot up, but at this point you’ll need to get into the boot menu to change the boot order. That will allow the machine to boot from the password reset disk you just created. The startup screen should show you which key to press to enter the boot menu. If not, you can just Google it.
Step 5: Once you boot up with the disk or drive, you’ll see a window to select the OS and the username for which the password was forgotten. Then click on “Reset Password”, which will start off the process. Once complete, click on “Reboot” and login to your PC as you normally would.
The premium method is obviously the easiest since it does all the work for you. No additional software is required, and you won’t have to mess around with command prompt inputs. Just burn the bootable media and use that to boot up the locked system. Easy as pie!