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.
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!
If you see the "Log On to Windows" window with a user name and a blank password (instead of this Welcome screen), 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 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.
If That Didn't Work...
If that didn't work, I'm assuming you couldn't login to Windows as an Administrator because all existing Administrator accounts on the computer are password protected. That's OK! You can still fix it yourself; it's just a lot more difficult.
I usually use the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. In this program, there is an option to create an Administrator account on the problematic PC. Using this Administrator account you can reset the passwords as mentioned on page 1.
Alternatively, Login Recovery offers two tools, one CD and one floppy based, that accomplish this task in around 10 minutes.
Between these two pages you should be able to fix over 99% of password problems with Windows XP.
Want to return to the normal guide? Click here!
All Content Copyright ©Dan Kennedy; 1998-2005