Have you forgotten the password for your Windows 10 PC? You can change it whether you’re using a Microsoft Account or a local account.
Did you forget the password for your Windows 10 PC? You can change it whether you’re using a Microsoft Account or a local account.
You’re trying to sign into your Windows 10 PC, but there’s one small problem: You forgot your password. Don’t panic. Windows 10 has long offered the ability to reset your password if you use a Microsoft Account. And those running the Windows 10 April 2018 Update or later can also reset it using a local account.
With a local account, you need to establish several security questions to answer in the event you can’t remember your login. Answer them successfully, and you can reset your password and access your account.
Check which version of Windows 10 is running by opening Settings > System > About. If the Windows version says 1803 or higher, you’re in business. If not, go to the Update & security category in Settings and download the latest version of Windows 10, which at this point is 1903.
Microsoft Account Recovery
Let’s try the password reset with a Microsoft Account first. You’re at the Windows 10 sign-in screen and don’t remember your password. Click I forgot my password.
Recover Your Account
At the Recover Your Account screen, type or confirm your email address. Click Next.
Verify Your Identity
At the screen to verify your identity, choose how you wish to receive your security code to confirm your account. Click Send code. Check your email or texts for the code. Enter it in the appropriate field and click Next.
Reset Your Password
At the screen to reset your password, create a new password for your Microsoft Account. Click Next.
The next screen confirms that your password has been changed. Click the Sign in button, return to the sign-in screen, and enter your new password.
Now, let’s say you use a local account for Windows 10. One of the first tasks you should complete is to set up the necessary security questions to help you if you ever need to recover your account. In Windows, open Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. In the Password section, click the link to Update your security questions.
Type the password for your local account. You can then select your security questions, type the answers, and click Finish.
Try to Sign In
Okay, now let’s say you’re at the sign-in screen, and your password has left your brain. You can either try to guess the password or leave the password field blank. Click the arrow next to the password field or press the Enter key. Windows tells you that the password is incorrect. Click OK, then select the Reset password link.
Answer Security Questions
Enter the answers for your security questions. Click the arrow next to the last answer or press Enter.
Create a New Password
Windows prompts you to create a new password. Type and then confirm your new password. Press Enter. Windows then grants you access via your new password.
Alternatives to Passwords
If you don’t want to enter a password every time you log into Windows, you can log in with a picture password or use biometric data such as a fingerprint or face. And while we don’t recommend it, you can even go without a password entirely.
Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com on August 15, 2019.