Can't login to Windows XP? How to Reset Your Password

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader R. Thomas writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I forgot my user password (with administrator access rights). I tried booting into safe mode, hoping that it would login me in as the 'Admin' user, but I forgot the admin user password, too! How can I get past this? "

My response:

There are a number of ways to get past this. In fact, you can use a hidden Administrator account in Windows XP to reset your main user password. In this article, I'll explain how you can login as the administrator in Windows XP using Safe Mode. If that doesn't work, I've linked to another article which describes 3 other methods you can try.

Login with Admin Access via Safe Mode

  1. To access your hidden administrator account in safe mode, you'll need to restart the Windows XP computer. If it's turned off, power it on to start it up. If it's currently loaded up at the login screen, click the link that says "Turn off your computer" and then choose to restart.
     
  2. After the computer restarts and the screen turns black, start tapping F8 on the keyboard repeatedly until it brings up the Windows Boot Menu.
     
  3. Select to boot into Safe Mode from the list of menu choices on the screen.
     
  4. At the Windows Login, click the "Administrator" user or type in "Administrator" as the user and (important!) leave password blank. Then, click login button.
     
  5. If that doesn't get you in, try "admin" or "owner" with no password. Note: you can also click the "?" button to see your password hint at login. If that doesn't work, try clicking Cancel to get in.

Other Ways to Reset your User Password in Windows XP

I've written an updated article in 2015 that outlines a number of methods you can use to reset your admin password in Windows XP -- which can also reset your main user password. You will most likely need to use Method #3, assuming you have your Windows XP CD, or Method #4 if you don't have the CD as described in the article.

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