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How to Remove or Reset a Windows XP Password

Posted: January 16, 2006
Written By: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy


Let me guess - someone created a password on your computer and you can't login to Windows now? Fortunately, the fix is usually really easy to perform and requires virtually no computer skills.

Windows XP has two types of User Accounts: Computer administrator and Limited. You need to login as any administrator to delete any other user's password.

Login as an Administrator

When you first turn on the PC and load Windows, you'll either be presented with the Welcome screen or the login window. Both serve the same purpose here. You can switch from the Welcome screen to the other window by hitting the CTRL-ALT-DELETE keys.

The Welcome screen

In this case, I could click on the "test" account and proceed to delete the password on the "Dan" account, since both are administrators.

If you see an "Administrator" account, click on it to try and login without a password. Remember you can reset the password using any administrator account, even if it's not yours!

Hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE and bring up the "Log On to Windows" prompt if you don't see an Administrator account without a password.

When you see the "Log On to Windows" window with a user name and a blank password, try typing Administrator in the user name box and leave the password blank, then hit OK.

Once you're logged into Windows as an administrator (which you can determine later), read on to learn how to remove the password.

Most OEM PCs (such as HP, Sony, and eMachines) running Windows XP come from the factory with an administrator User Account fittingly named Administrator. However, this account may not show up at the Welcome screen or allow you to login at the login screen (except in Safe Mode). To start your PC in Safe Mode, hit F8 repeatedly immediately after powering it On. Once you've logged into Windows (even in Safe Mode) you can proceed to remove the password.

Removing the Password

Once you're in Windows, open the Control Panel (Start, Control Panel) and go to the User Accounts option. You'll see all User Accounts listed here. Under the User Account name it will either list it as an "Computer administrator" account or a "Limited account".

Click on the account name you're unable to access. On the left you'll see the option "Remove my password". Click "Remove Password" at the next screen. Now when you log off, you'll be able to login without a password.

Next Page - If you still can't login...

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