- Computers & Software»
- Computer How-Tos & Tutorials
How to Recover / Reset Windows 8 Password The Easy Way
There are any number of reasons you may have lost or forgotten your Windows 8 password. Maybe you purchased a computer from eBay but the seller forgot to give you the password. Or perhaps you simply forgot the password yourself because it is long and hard to remember.
In order to get back into your computer, a bootable media is needed and there are many Live CDs that could be used to crack a lost Windows password. Ophcrack and PCUnlocker are the two most most powerful of these and here we're going show you how to use them to recover and/or reset your Windows 8 password.
Option 1: Change Windows 8 Password with a Reset Disk
A reset disk is the easiest way to reset a forgotten password. However, you have to create the reset disk before you forget your password. So, no matter what method you use to to get back in, the first thing you should do once you've logged in is to create a reset disk.
Step 1: Insert your disk.
It can be any kind of media you choose: a USB drive, a floppy disk, or a CD.
Step 2: Go to the "User Account" preference.
Click the "Start" button and then select "Control Panel." Click the "User Accounts and Family Safety" link upper-right-hand corner of the window and then click "User Accounts," which should be located at the top of the window.
Step 3: Create the Windows 8 password reset disk
Go back to the User Account preference window and click the link titled "Create a password reset," which can be found on the left of the window. Then simply follow the on-screen instructions to create a backup copy of your Windows 8 password. Be sure to store the disk in a safe place where you will be easily able to find it.
Step 4: Reset your Windows 8 Password.
Assuming you made your reset disk before forgetting your password, all you have to do is plug in the disk - or USB drive or whatever form of media you may have used to create the reset disk in step 3. Then, just boot up the computer and at the user login page, click on the "Reset Password" link and follow the instructions to reset your Windows 8 password.
Option 2: Reset Your Microsoft Password Online
When you first installed Windows 8, you had the option of signing up for a Microsoft account, which would allow you to access a number of services and tools under the Microsoft umbrella - such as Outlook, Skype, or Xbox consoles - with a single credential. One further benefit is that a Microsoft account gives you an easy option of recovering a lost or forgotten password.
Note: This method only works if you use your Microsoft ID to log onto your computer. One way to tell is whether you're using a regular username or an email address. If you're using an email address, then this method will work for you. If not, scroll down to find some methods for how to reset the password of a local account.
Step 1: Navigate to Microsoft's password site.
Select the "I forgot my password" option and click "Next."
Step 2: Fill out the necessary fields.
Input your account information in the text field and fill out the CAPTCHA before hitting the blue "Next" button.
Note: The account email address may not be a hotmail.com or a microsoft.net address - it would be whatever email address you used to set up the account.
Step 3: Confirm your identity.
You have the choice of receiving your security code either by text or by email. If you select email, input your email address in the entry field. If you select text, enter the last four digits of your phone number. Click the blue "Next" button when finished or, if neither of these options work for you, select the "I can't use any of these options" button and Microsoft will contact you through an alternate email.
Step 4: Locate the Security Code
Find the security code either in your email inbox or your text messages. Enter the security code on the resulting page. Click the "Next" button and you will be taken to a page where you can create a new password.
If you selected "I can't use any of these options," you will be taken to a page where you will need to enter the email address linked to your Microsoft account and an alternative email where Microsoft can contact you. Once you've done so, click "Next" and enter as much of the information requested on the next page—name, birth date, billing info, etc.—and click the "Submit" button. Microsoft will shortly send you a password reset link via email.
Option 3: Reset Windows 8 Password Through Another Administrator
If your computer is used by multiple people authorized as administrators, then you can have that other user sign in and reset the password for you. However, this method only works if you have multiple administrator accounts on the same computer.
Step 1: Access the User Accounts panel
After having the other administrator login, have click the Start button and select "Control Panel." In the Control Panel, click the "User Accounts and Family Safety" link in the upper-right hand side corner of the page. Click the "Users Accounts" link at the top of the window and, in the following page, click on the blue "Manage another account" link, which can be found near the bottom of the resulting list.
Step 2: Reset the Password.
Select the appropriate account and, when prompted, click the blue "Change the password" link, and follow the on-screen instructions to change the password for the selected account. Once finished, log out of the account in the normal way and login again using the new password.
Other Options to Recover Windows 8 Password
If the above methods won't work for you, you can try the ones below, which use external software to "crack" the Windows 8 password.
Ophcrack is a password-cracking software based on Rainbow table technology that provides you with brute-force/dictionary attack methods to recover passwords on Windows operating systems. To discover the original password, Ophcrack needs to go through all possible password combinations until one works. Here are the steps:
- To get started, we need to download the Live ISO from Ophcrack's official website.There are three editions available for different operating systems. To recover a Windows 8 password, please try the "Ophcrack Vista/7 LiveCD" edition. The download file is about 649Mb.
- After downloading, burn the Ophcrack ISO image to a blank disc using your favorite CD/DVD burning tool.
- Next, put the disc into the CD drive of the computer, whose password you wish to recover.
- Once inserted, Linux will load, Ophcrack will start, and the password recovery will begin automatically. You don't need to type or click anything! Just wait until the password is recovered.
Instead of recovering your password, PCUnlocker allows you to reset a lost Windows 8 password quickly. Windows stores the login credentials (LM/NT password hashes) in the SAM registry hive (c:\windows\system32\config\sam). After booting your machine from the PCUnlocker Live CD, it will update/replace the existing password hashes so you can log back in to your computer with an empty password. It’s much faster than Ophcrack, but you won’t be able to access the original password. To get started, click here to download the PCUnlocker program. The download file is a self-extracting archive which contains a bootable ISO image.
- Burn the ISO image to your CD or USB drive using the freeware Rufus, ISO2Disc, or ImgBurn.
- After booting from the CD/USB drive, PCUnlocker will locate the user accounts on your local system.
- Select a user and click on "Reset Password" button. It will remove / unlock your forgotten password instantly.
- After that, reboot your PC and you can then log into your Windows account without a password.
The LiveCD from previous versions of Windows or Linux may not be recognized in Windows 8. If you can't get your computer to boot from Ophcrack or PCUnlocker, you might need to change the boot mode in BIOS from UEFI to Legacy BIOS and disable the Secure Boot option.