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Do you need to change your password for your computer?  This is something I suggest everyone do at least once a year. This will help with hacking and refresh your security measures. Follow these steps below.

If You Remember Your Password

Windows 10 has gotten better with how it is navigated and where things are done.  In order to change your password you can do it one of 2 ways.  You can go through settings and change it locally or if you are using your Microsoft account to log in you can go to Microsoft.com and login and change it there.

To change your password on your computer, go to Start then click on the head at the top of the list. Once there, select “Change account settings.” 

Once the box pops up go to Sign in options on the left.  Scroll down if you must to get to the password section. 

Then click on the Change button. You will see a place to enter your PIN if you use a Microsoft account. Enter your PIN and password to proceed. Then it will ask you to enter the last 4 digits of the phone number they have on file and click next.

Enter the code you get texted to your phone.  This will allow you to enter the old password and the new password you want to use.  Now you have changed the password for your account.

Remember that if you use a Microsoft account you just changed the password for your online account as well since they are tied together. 

Local Account Password Change

If you have a local account all you have to do is put in your old password and click next.  Then put in the new password you wish to use along with a password hint.  Make the hint good but not too good so other people cant guess it if they know you. 

You can also change your Microsoft password online.  Just go to Microsoft.com and click on the head in the top right to sign in.  Enter your email and password to get into your account.  Then click on the head again and click My Microsoft Account.

Once you get to this page

then scroll down to Security and click on the box. 

Click on Change Password  and follow the prompts to reset your password.

Now that you have changed your password make sure to update
your list or note where you keep your passwords. 

What If You Forgot Your Password?

Have you ever gotten locked out of your computer and can’t remember the password?  This can be a big problem since all your data and probably your password list is on the computer.  Don’t worry, with Windows 10 there are a few options to get back in. 

If you use a Microsoft account to sign into your computer then you can easily get back into your machine.  On another computer go to Microsoft.com and click the head in the top right corner to sign in. 

Put in your email address and when you get to the password just click on forgot my password.  Re-enter your email address and click next. 

They will send you a Password Reset Code to the email address.   Go to this email and get the code.  Put the code in and click next. 

Reset your password.  Once done, go back to your computer and put in the new password.  Voila, you are back in your computer.

If you have a local account on your computer you can just click the Forgot Password link on the sign in screen.  It will bring up the option to input the security answers you set up when you set up your account.  Once you enter these you will be able to reset your password and get back into your computer. 

What if these don’t
work?

What happens if you don’t have a Microsoft account or can’t remember the answers to your security questions.  This can happen if you haven’t had to enter your password for a long time or haven’t used the computer for many months. 

To reset with this method you will need a Windows 10 install flash drive.  You can find how to do this here. 

With your flash drive in the computer, restart and boot to the flash drive.  Once the install screen comes up choose the repair option in the bottom left. 

When the blue screen comes up click on the troubleshoot button then click on Command Prompt and follow the steps below.

  1. Now that Command Prompt is open,
    type the following command: copy c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe c:\
  2. …and then press Enter.
    You should see a 1 file(s) copied confirmation.
  3. Next, type this command, again
    followed by Enter: copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe
    c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
  4. Answer with Y or Yes
    to question about the overwrite of the utilman.exe file. You
    should now see another file copy confirmation.

Now remove any flash drives or discs that you used to boot from in Step 1 and restart the computer. 

When the Windows 10 login screen is available, click the Ease of Access Icon in the bottom right.  This should open a command prompt.   

Now you need to execute the net user command as shown below, replacing myusername with your user name and mynewpassword with the password you want to start using.

       net user myusername mynewpassword

For example, I would use the command like this: net user “Carl Gerber” Num63rs

Note:  You only need to use double quotes around your user name if it happens to have a space in it.

Tip: If you get a The user name could not be found message, execute net user to see the list of Windows 10 users on the computer for reference and then try again with a valid username. A System error 8646 / The system is not authoritative for the specified account… message indicates that you’re using a Microsoft account to log in to Windows 10, not a local account. See the Important call-out in the introduction at the top of this page for more on that.

Log In With New Password

Now, close Command Prompt and login with the new password you just set. 

Now that you are in you should reverse the hack that makes this password reset trick work.  To do this use your flash drive to get back into the command prompt in the troubleshooting window. 

Once Command Prompt is open again execute this command:  copy c:\utilman.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe.  Confirm the overwriting by answering Yes and then restart your computer.

Note:
While there’s no requirement that you reverse these changes, it would be irresponsible of me to suggest that you don’t. What if you need access to Ease of Access from the logon screen someday? Also, please know undoing these changes won’t undo your password change so don’t worry about that.

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