Locked out of Win­dows

Is Win­dows re­fus­ing to recog­nise your pass­word? Dis­cover how to rec­tify the prob­lem by re­set­ting your pass­word to re­gain ac­cess

Windows Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

Un­for­tu­nately, it hap­pens to the best of us: sud­denly Win­dows re­fuses to let you log on to your user ac­count be­cause of a lost or for­got­ten pass­word. If you’ve been log­ging on us­ing a PIN num­ber, then the so­lu­tion is sim­ple: click ‘Sign-in op­tions’ and you can elect to log in us­ing your ac­count pass­word in­stead. Then head over to Start > Set­tings > Ac­counts > Sign-in Op­tions to re­move your PIN be­fore set­ting a new one.

But what if you have for­got­ten your pass­word too? Read on to dis­cover how to re­set your pass­word en­abling you to log on again. You’ll need ac­cess to an­other user ac­count or com­puter to per­form th­ese steps.

Re­set your pass­word

Both Win­dows 8.1 and 10 strongly en­cour­age you to sign on us­ing a Mi­crosoft ac­count pass­word – it’s the same as the one you use to ac­cess all Mi­crosoft on­line ser­vices, from your Out­look.com email to your OneDrive ac­count. If this is re­fused, then check the pass­word on other de­vices, if pos­si­ble, to ver­ify that it’s your mis­take and not your com­puter’s. As­sum­ing you’ve for­got­ten your pass­word, you can take steps to re­set it.

To do this, click the link pro­vided on the lo­gin screen or visit https://ac­count. live.com/pass­word/re­set in an­other browser. Fol­low the wizard – en­ter your Mi­crosoft ac­count email and the re­quired captcha text, then choose your ver­i­fi­ca­tion op­tion (email or text – you will need to pro­vide your backup email ad­dress or the last four dig­its of your phone num­ber) to re­ceive a se­cu­rity code. En­ter this into the box pro­vided and you’ll be prompted to re­set the pass­word by set­ting a new one. Make sure you note this down. Once en­tered, you should be able to log on to your ac­count again – your PC will need to be con­nected to the in­ter­net to ‘re­ceive’ and recog­nise the new pass­word.

If you don’t have a work­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion op­tion, you’ll need to an­swer a se­cu­rity ques­tion­naire. Your an­swers don’t have to be ex­act, but you may have to wait up to 30 days to get full ac­cess to your ac­count. Visit https:// sup­port.mi­crosoft.com/help/17875 for more tips on pass­ing this test.

Re­set a lo­cal pass­word

If you’re run­ning Win­dows 7, or you have opted for the ‘lo­cal’ ac­count op­tion in Win­dows 8.1 and 10, then thanks to a rather gap­ing hole in its se­cu­rity set­tings, it is pos­si­ble to re­set your lo­cal ac­count pass­word if you have ac­cess to an­other ad­min­is­tra­tor-level user ac­count on the same com­puter – just log on as that user, open a Com­mand Prompt win­dow as an ad­min­is­tra­tor and type ‘net user user­name new­pass­word’, sub­sti­tut­ing ‘user­name’ for your user­name and ‘new­pass­word’ for your new ac­count pass­word.

Al­ter­na­tively, you can re­set your pass­word us­ing ei­ther a Laze­soft Re­cov­ery Suite Home boot disc (see page 18), or a Win­dows in­stal­la­tion or re­cov­ery disc or drive. To cre­ate the lat­ter on an­other PC, open the Backup and Re­store tool, then click ‘Cre­ate a sys­tem re­pair disc’ if you’re still us­ing Win­dows 7; or search for ‘re­cov­ery’, then click ‘Cre­ate a re­cov­ery drive’ if you’re run­ning Win­dows 8.1 or 10. Untick the ‘Back up sys­tem files to the re­cov­ery drive’ box if prompted. Then click ‘Next’ to cre­ate your re­cov­ery drive, and fol­low the step-by-step guide op­po­site, which will help you re­set your pass­word.

You can re­set your Mi­crosoft ac­count without need­ing any ver­i­fi­ca­tion op­tions.

Untick the ‘Back up sys­tem files to the re­cov­ery drive’ box to keep your re­cov­ery drive size down.

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