Tip: Recover a Local User Account Password

Follow Our Daily Tips

Twitter | Blog | RSS | Facebook

In order to preserve access to any encrypted data and stored passwords that a user might have, it is preferable to try and recover a user password rather than change or remove the password.

Windows 7 provides two ways to recover user passwords:

Password Hint A hint can be accessed on the Welcome screen. Ordinarily, the Welcome screen is displayed when the computer is started and no one is logged on. If someone is logged on to the workstation, ask him or her to log off. Click the user’s name to display the Password prompt, and then click the blue enter button to display the password hint. Hopefully, the password hint will help the user remember the password. If it doesn’t, you need to use a password reset disk.

Password Reset Disk Password reset disks can be created for any local user account with a password. They enable anyone to change the password of the related local account without needing to know the old password. Because anyone with access to these disks can change account passwords, you should store password reset disks in a secure location. If users are allowed to create their own password reset disks, be sure they know how important the disks are.

Note that passwords for domain users and those for local users are managed differ¬ently.
Domain User Accounts Administrators manage passwords for domain user accounts and can reset forgotten passwords using the Active Directory Users And Computers console.
Local Machine AccountsPasswords for local machine accounts can be stored in a secure, encrypted file on a password reset disk, which can be a floppy disk or a USB flash device.

From the Microsoft Press book Windows 7 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant by William R. Stanek.

Looking for More Tips?

For more tips on Windows 7 and other Microsoft technologies, visit the TechNet Magazine Tips library.