If you are still one of the many people using Windows XP you more than likely set up a login password to use the Operating Environment. Life being what it is, you can forget your password, or you might have set it with an expiration date, or the XP Configuration file might have gotten corrupted.
What to do? One option is to completely format your drive and reinstall Windows XP; however that is an extreme option. Save that for a last resort.
One of the first things to attempt is to see if it is possible to get into the guest account. At the Login Screen there may be a Guest Login. Many XP users have this enabled, often without a password. If so you can click on it, and get into the program. Once there, you can do pretty much anything you need to do. However any of the settings you had for your background, colors, and the like will not be available. Frankly this is only a workaround, and doesn’t truly solve the problem.
You can log into the Administrator Account. Hopefully you have not forgotten the password. If so, there is another potential solution. Once in the Administrator Account, go the Local Users and Groups. Find your account and click on Reset Password. Be aware that if you use Outlook for your mail server, and have the same password tied into your user account it is possible you may lose emails. You will also lose encrypted files, as well as stored passwords for internet sites.
If you do not have an Administrator Account showing up on the Login Screen, try going into safe mode. Restart the computer, and press F8 which should get you into the Windows Boot screen. There you will be able to select Safe Mode. In Safe Mode you can get to the Local Users and Groups, and either reset your password, or perhaps create a new login.
It is entirely possible that these methods are not available for one reason or another. In other words you don’t remember your Administrator Account Password, or you never set up a Guest Account. If this is the case, your last option is to use the Password Reset Disk.
Hopefully, when you created your user account, you followed the prompts and created a Password Reset Disk. This can be done on a floppy disk, or a USB drive. If not, you can create one from the Login Screen. To do this, make certain you have a disk in the floppy drive, or a USB drive connected. When attempting to login, do not type a password into the box. You will get a message asking if you have forgotten your password. You will have the option for a password hint, or to use the password reset wizard. Follow the steps which will allow you to create a new password for your user name.
The last option that is the one mentioned above as a last resort is to reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows XP. If all other options have failed this may be your only option. The only reason for this would be if you have a corrupted configuration file.
These are time tested methods to bypassing your Windows XP password.