How to Recover Lost Password in Vista

If you are security conscious (and these days you really have to be) you create a new password for your Windows Vista login on a regular basis. Here is a scenario. You have set the security to remind you every 45 days, and you get a warning late at night, You decide to create a new password. The next morning you attempt to login, and discover that you cannot remember the password you created at 1:00 AM. Now what do you do?

One of the first things to attempt is to see if you can get into the Administrator Account. As with earlier versions of Windows, Vista automatically sets up an Administrator Account. From the login screen, type “Administrator. You should leave the password blank, and you should be able to get into Vista. Once there, you can go to User Accounts, and reset your password. Just make certain you can remember it this time.

You can also try using a password recovery disk, provided you have made one. Supposing you have, when you have forgotten your password, click on “password reset”. This will bring up the password reset wizard. At this point, you will be instructed to choose the password reset disk. If this is a USB drive, plug in the appropriate drive, and find the userkey.psw file. You will then see a screen, which will enable you to create a new password.

One note on the above methods: You may lose some of your stored passwords in Internet Explorer.
If these steps are unsuccessful, you can attempt to go to safe mode, and reset the password from the User Accounts.

Third Party password recovery utilities are another method you can use. One is available here. Be aware that some of these third party solutions are not free. The regular price for Windows Password Recovery is $49.99, and is currently on sale for $19.99. You can use a search engine to locate a freeware program to recover you lost password.

One of the best-reported Freeware password recovery programs available is Ophcrack. It can be downloaded from About.com. Just search for Ophcrack. Another is called Cain & Abel. These programs work by allowing you to download a free ISO image to be burned to a CD. When you need to use the program, you boot your computer to a CD, and the program will locate your user files, allowing you to recover your missing password. Naturally, you will need either to do this in advance, or use a different computer.

If you have tried all of these steps and have been unsuccessful at recovering your password, your next option may be to use System Restore. To do this you will need to go to Safe Mode by restarting your computer, or going into the Administrator Account. Once you are into the desktop, Go to Start – All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – System Restore. Or press the WinKey on the keyboard, type Restore then press enter. A word of warning, once you start System Restore, you cannot stop it. The idea here is to go to a restore point prior to you changing your password.

These methods are well documented, and one of them should help you. Good luck.


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