What is Microsoft’s policy about lost Windows passwords?

The Windows operating system, includes log in protection to help prevent unauthorized access to the computer. When anyone tries to access a computer, if the user has set a password, he will be asked to provide the password, only after which, he will be given access to the Windows desktop and the data. If a wrong password is typed, access to the computer is denied.


So what happens if the password is lost, forgotten or changed illegally, thereby preventing access of the user to his own computer?

Microsoft policy on lost or forgotten Windows passwords

Microsoft strongly recommends that you set a password recovery Hint. It is also recommended that you create a password reset disk as soon as you first start using that computer.

There are some important points to consider:

  1. The password reset disk must be created before the password is forgotten – and it is best to do so as soon as you first start using the PC.
  2. You cannot use a password reset disk to reset the password for another computer. It is device specific.
  3. A third-party can access your computer if he lays his hand on the password reset disk. It is therefore imperative that you keep it in a safe place.

Microsoft support engineers will not help you retrieve passwords that are lost or forgotten, in case you were to seek their help.

Microsoft, of course, supports the use of these built-in tools viz. Password Reset Disk and Password Hint, which can help you gain access to your computer in the case that you forget your password in future.

Microsoft says, you may also take the help of some 3rd-party tools that claim to help you recover lost or forgotten passwords of your Windows PC.

But for legal reasons, Microsoft cannot recommend or endorse any one of these companies. If you want help to break or to reset a password, you can locate and contact a third-party company for this help. You use such third-party products and services at your own risk, says KB189126.

So are password recovery tools bad?

Are guns bad?

Or does the intent matter!?

While third-party password recovery tools can be very useful if a user has genuinely forgotten or lost his Windows password, they can also be misused. Hence one has to be careful always.

There are therefore, some basic precautions you must always take:

1] It is important that you keep your computer in a safe location or carry it with you always. Should you lose physical possession of the computer, any hacker will be able to break into it and access your data.

2] You also need to NOT keep your password reset disk near your computer, as it can be misused.

3] Leaving a NOT trustworthy person with your computer is also a bad idea, as he will be able to misuse the 3rd-party password recovery tools and gain access to it.

Your views on the subject?

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

One Comment

  1. Alesia

    The built-in password reset disk is less known to most of computer users. Additionally, the password reset disk is limited to reset password of only the account you created it. I would like to use third-party bootdisk PCUnlocker which can handle windows password forgotten problem easier.

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