How to Reset a Lost or Forgotten Windows Password

Windows passwords are meant to keep unwanted users off your computer.  And because of this, Microsoft doesn’t make it easy to reset them when they are lost or forgotten.  In the following article I would like to walk you through using a tool to reset a Windows password when there is no other way into the machine.  This method works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

Step 1:  Download Hiren’s BootCD.  Once it’s finished, double-click the zip file to extract it.  You will then need to burn the ISO file to a writable CD using a program like Free ISO Burner.

Step 2:  Insert the CD into the computer that needs its password reset and boot from it.  You may have to change the computer’s boot order in the BIOS in order to boot from the CD.

Step 3:  If you boot from the CD successfully, you should see a Hiren’s boot menu.  Choose “Mini Windows XP” and hit enter.

Hiren's BootCD Screenshot


Step 4:  Once the machine boots into the Mini Windows XP interface, click on the Start menu and select the “HBCD Menu”.  This will launch the Hiren’s BootCD Program Launcher.

Hiren's BootCD Screenshot


Step 5:  When the Hiren’s BootCD Program Launcher opens, click on the “Programs” menu, select “Passwords / Keys”, select “Windows Login” and then open “NTPWedit”.

Hiren's BootCD Screenshot


Step 6:  When NTPWedit opens, you will notice that there are no user accounts listed.  Because Mini Windows XP creates a virtual C drive to boot from, you will need to change the “Path to SAM File” to the D drive instead of the C drive.  Leave the rest of the path the same, only change the drive letter.  Once you change it, click the “(Re)open” button to list the accounts.

Hiren's BootCD Screenshot


Step 7:  Now select the user account that needs its password reset and click the “Change password” button.

Hiren's BootCD


Step 8:  When the “Change password” window opens, leave the password fields blank and click OK.

Hirens BootCD Screenshot


Step 9:  If the account is locked, click the “Unlock” button as well.  Now click “Save changes” and then click “Exit”.

Hiren's BootCD


Step 10:  You are now ready to reboot the machine.  Click the Start menu, select Shut Down, and then Restart.  If the password reset was successful then you should be able to log into the computer without a password.


If the NTPWedit password reset method is unsuccessful, Hiren’s BootCD also contains Offline NT Password Changer, another good password reset utility.  This method is more advanced though as its command line driven.  If you want to try this method, simply choose “Offline NT Password Changer” from the Hiren’s boot menu instead of Mini Windows XP and follow the steps.

Offline NT Password Changer Screenshot


About The Author


Casey (Surname withheld for contractual and professional reasons) has contributed many great articles on He successfully started his own IT consultancy well over 10 years ago. While going through this tough yet rewarding experience he found there was a terrible lack of focused support out there for computer techs to start their own IT company. So he gravitated towards training and mentoring other computer technicians who want to create a part time or full time income as an IT consultant. He initially wrote courses to help computer technicians start their own IT consulting business (or side business). Many articles also help the general public save thousands of dollars in professional help by helping them DIY. He doesn't contribute directly to often any more due to leading a full family life and being Technical Director a at major US company (hence the requirement for privacy). However his contributions span over 10 years and some have been extremely popular (with so many comments we had to stop accepting more on some, and thousands of shares although it looks fewer after our change to https - we must get around to fixing that!). Having said this, we work to ensure his work is updated and continues to remain relevant.


  • Jamie

    Reply Reply July 3, 2013

    Nice article, Casey. I have used Hiren’s hundreds of times and have never used the NTPWEdit application. Nice to know that it is there and works well. We always use Offline NT Password & Registry Editor. It can be a little confusing the first couple of times you use it, but before long, you can just about do it with your eyes closed. The command line interface makes it really quick to boot and fly through it.

    • Casey

      Reply Reply July 3, 2013

      Thanks Jamie!

  • Emerson J. Hampton

    Reply Reply July 10, 2013

    The boot order can be configured on the Advanced tab in the BIOS settings menu. The steps for modifying the boot order may vary depending on the model of the computer.

  • Vin

    Reply Reply September 6, 2013

    I am having trouble with windows 8 PC with UEFI BIOS and secure boot… The PC will not boot to the cd/dvd drive (the drive works). Is there another way to change the pass?

    • Steven

      Reply Reply September 30, 2013

      I have the same problem with you. It seems that Hiren’s BootCD and Offline NT Password Changer don’t support UEFI. Eventually I purchased a commercial software – PCUnlocker, which comes as an ISO image. Burn the ISO to a USB flash drive using ISO2Disc program. It creates a GPT bootable USB drive that works on my computer.

  • toslow

    Reply Reply February 25, 2014

    I have completed all the instructions upto step 9. but the (Re)open button is not activated. is there a suggestion on how I can get the Administrator password

  • keauha

    Reply Reply April 17, 2014

    I find that we can also reset a lost or forgotten Windows password with Windows password recovery tool, I download it from

  • Manuel Carrero

    Reply Reply December 5, 2014

    Another great tool to use for resetting a password is Ophcrack which is free and I have had great success in the past with it!

    • Gayle

      Reply Reply July 10, 2016

      I use only Ophcrack and PCUnlocker. These two tools can solve almost all Windows password forgotten problem.

  • Miller

    Reply Reply January 8, 2018

    Hiren’s BootCD is very useful! Recently I found an easy trick which doesn’t require you to download any third-party password tool:

    This is a security flaw that wasn’t patched since Windows vista.

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply February 1, 2018

      Nice option Miller! This method requires a Windows installation CD. Clever swap out of the Sticky Keys application file (sethc.exe) with the cmd.exe file to get the command prompt access.

  • Moris

    Reply Reply June 27, 2018

    Hiren’s BootCD is great tool for password reset but it seems not working well on latest Windows 10. It failed on two of Dell computers. Good alternatives can be Ophcrack and Command Prompt with installation CD. I found out this is a great list for free Windows password recovery software:

  • gizsmartcom

    Reply Reply August 31, 2018

    Couldn’t log into Windows after forgetting the administrator password? If you simply reset the password using a password-reset disk, you’re sure to lose all logins and credentials saved in your Outlook application, Web browsers or other programs. To avoid data loss, you can bypass Windows 10 / 8 / 7 local administrator password with Windows Password Key:

  • Faustin

    Reply Reply November 28, 2018

    Thank for this post.

    It’is very helpfull.

    • Jeff

      Reply Reply December 3, 2018

      Very happy that has been able to help!

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