How To Reset A Windows 10 Password With Hirens Boot CD

Use Windows PE via Hiren’s Boot CD/USB to Reset a Windows 10 Password

Do you need to reset a Windows 10 password? Microsoft doesn’t make it easy to reset Windows 10 passwords when they are lost or forgotten.  That is important to keep unwanted users off your computer. Below I give you the steps that show how to perform a Hirens Boot CD password reset on Windows 10. You can use either a CD/DVD or USB flash drive. I’ll show you where to get the files and download them for free, and show you which ones you need for your case. This method works on Windows 10 and 8. If you need to do it on an older version of windows, there is a link below for that too.

We have an older article that will help you if you are looking to reset a password on Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and even Windows 8.

If you are looking for how to reset a password on the most recent version of Windows, I have a more recent article here: ‘Hiren boot Windows 11 password reset‘.

Side note – maybe of interest to other Techs

Before I go on, if you are in IT (and reading this page, there is a good chance you are!) then you might be interested in something I have become interested in just now.

It is called Atera, and it would be great for anyone with a small IT services business.

If you’re interested or want to learn more, Learn more about Atera here!

So moving on, based on the changes I’m aware of in Windows 11, there might not be any change to the relevant parts. In any case, it could work at least in some circumstances. But I know it works for other versions, so here goes.

NOTE: One of the more useful tips in this article is to use the USB method. Most Windows 11 machines don’t come with a CD player anymore!

How to use Hirens boot cd for password reset on Windows 10

As I’ve said before, Hiren’s BootCD is an excellent utility that you can create on CD, DVD or USB. These days it actually works better on USB!

Read on to find out how to enable this password reset method.

Step 1: Choose CD or USB and download software

hirens boot pe windows 10 password reset cd icon

The current version (at time of writing) is Hiren’s BootCD PE x64

CD method

First of all, you’ll need the Hiren’s boot CD software. If you want to set up a CD iso download it here (scroll down to the download button at the bottom).

When the zip file has downloaded, double-click the file to extract it.  You will then need to burn the ISO file to a writable CD. For this you can use programs like ‘Free ISO Burner’ (or ImgBurn and many more – perhaps you already have suitable software).

USB Method (Hiren’s boot USB Windows 10 password reset)

If creating ISO versions are annoying to you, or your laptop doesn’t have a CD player, then you will need to put it on a USB. It is possible and it’s much better these days as every machine will have a USB port. It’s probably easier too.

To create a USB boot up version you will need to download the USB Alternative as an executable file (opens in a new tab – this is handy as it has the details on setting up your USB). This will ensure you copy the content and manage the USB drive properly.

So, just to be clear: you need Hiren’s BootCD PE – ISO2USB if you want to use boot from a USB, and Hiren’s BootCD PE x64 if you are going to create a boot CD/DVD.

Warning: Be certain you use a new or blank USB as you will lose everything on one that has data on it. The process includes a reformat and the USB will lose any partitions.

Note: you will need to set up either the bootable CD or USB on another computer. Yes I know this is probably obvious, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to point it out.

Step 2: Boot from the CD or USB

With the CD version, put it into the computer that needs its password reset and boot from it.  You will likely have to change the computer’s boot order in the BIOS in order to boot from the CD.

Note: When using the USB or flash drive version, you will only see USB options in the list of devices.

Step 3: Select Windows PE from the menu

Windows PE is for deployment and recovery, in other words it is the mini XP for Windows 10.

When you boot from the CD, you will see a Hiren’s boot menu, a little like the one below.  Move down to “Offline NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 Password Changer” (using the arrow key) and press enter.

Note, if you have an older version of Windows, you can use Mini Windows XP as first highlighted.

As I state above, this is the deployment and recovery version for Windows 10.

reset password windows-10 hirens boot CD usb

To perform the password reset (or clear) in Windows 10 select ‘Offline… Password Changer’ in Hiren’s bootCD menu. (Yes your version will be newer than mine shown.)

Note: As is written on the screen, Don’t Panic! Several lines of text will roll up the screen, which may be a little disconcerting the first time you see it.

Step 4: If necessary Select the partition

If more than one partition is identified, it will prompt you to select the one (disk) where Windows 10 is installed.

Note: Windows 10 installation normally takes up around 30 GB (ie. 30k MB) – that might help you identify its partition.

If prompted, type the number corresponding to the Windows partition on the screen.

Step 5: Acknowledge or Select Path

I expect most PCs will have the default path as Windows/System32/config.

For most PCs you can just hit <Enter>.

Step 6: Select the default Hirens boot cd PE Windows 10 password reset

You can just press <Enter> again, because it is the ‘password reset’ option we need.

Step 7: Select to Reset Administrator or another user password

You will have a few options at this point to select the user account that needs its password reset.

The user accounts will now be displayed and usually include Administrator and Guest in addition to the users normal set name, which you (or they) should easily recognise.

Reset Administrator password Windows 10 with Hiren boot cd:

Type ‘Administrator’ and press <Enter>.

Reset (User account) password on Windows 10 with Hiren boot cd:

In your case it’s you or your client’s username.

Type the username from the list and press <Enter>.

Step 8: Select the Option to Clear Password

Type ‘1’ and press <Enter> for the default option ‘Clear (blank) user password’, as this is the actual step that will reset a password in Windows 10 by Hirens boot CD *.

You should get feedback that it is successful, ‘Password cleared’.

Note: * You will need to save the changes as you exit.

Press ‘q’ and hit <Enter> to commence quitting the main menu.

Note: Yes you can write a new password rather than clear it.

Step 9: Save Changes

You will be prompted to save changes. Hit the ‘y’ key for yes (and press <Enter>), and your password reset will be saved (ie. the password is saved as clear).

Step 10: Reboot

You are now ready to reboot the machine.  Remove the CD or USB, and then restart.  You or the user can now log into the computer without a password. Awesome! You’ve done a Hirens boot CD password reset in Windows 10!

Summary of how to use Hirens boot CD Password Reset on Windows 10

First you choose whether you want to use the CD or the USB version. Remember to make sure you use a blank USB when using the USB version or one that you don’t mind to reformat and lose any data on it. It’s a great utility that I recommend elsewhere on TheTechMentor.com. Download the appropriate file from the CD or USB link above and install. Follow the steps above that show how to perform a Hiren boot CD/USB reset password in Windows 10. Below follow some FAQs.

What do I need to create a boot CD to reset a Windows password?

You need Hiren’s BootCD PE x64 if you are going to create a boot CD/DVD. However, as most PCs don’t have a CD player, you need Hiren’s BootCD PE – ISO2USB if you want to use boot from a USB.

Can I use Hiren’s Boot CD on a PC without a CD player?

Yes, you will need to use Hiren’s BootCD PE – ISO2USB if you want to boot from a USB. That differs from Hiren’s BootCD PE x64 that you may have used in the past.

Does Hiren’s Boot CD come in USB form?

Yes! You can download a different, newer version of Hiren’s Boot CD. It is made for use with USB. You will need to create the USB for this purpose by a different method to that for which you create an ISO for a CD.

About The Author


Jeff (Surname withheld for family privacy) is an engineer with over 26 years experience. He first learned to program in Fortran 77! See the 'About Us' for more.