Reset Windows Password From CMD

Apr 18, 2021 | 2 minutes to read

Tags: geeky, windows

I recently bought a new PC, and I wanted to move some files over from my Windows 10 Home edition laptop to my new Ubuntu PC and I ran into a snag. I wanted to access my Windows file’s across the network with the default SAMBA (aka SMB) system, but to do that, you need to know a Windows user’s password. And a few months ago, I enabled Windows Hello, which is Micosoft’s attempt to allow people to move away from using a password to login to Windows. I thought this was great and I chose to use it with a PIN for the last few months. But in that time, I managed to forget the password I was using before that. This is on me, since I use a password vault application for remembering my passwords, but my Windows password wasn’t in there.

Microsoft does let you change the user’s password while you’re logged in to the system, which I was since I still have the PIN, but only if you know the old password. Which I did not. So, what to do? I searched around and found this clever approach, which I am sharing for anyone else in the same situation.

It turns out you can change your Windows password without knowing your old password. From a non-Administrator login - but you do have to know the Administrator’s current password. I did this time, so this is what worked for me.

  1. Power up the Windows computer and login with the Hello option you do know - the PIN in my case.
  2. Select Start > Run > Command (Administrator) to open a CMD prompt with Admin permissions.
  3. Enter the Administrator user’s current password when prompted.
  4. Enter this command into the prompt: net user THEUSERNAME THENEWPASSWORDYOUWANT
  5. For example, I typed: net user peter mynewpassword
  6. Press enter.

Here’s a handy reference page explaining that ‘net user’ command more. It’s part of Windows, so it’s safe to use.

That’s it. The password is changed and you can test that from any other PC, or log out and log back on the Windows PC. Thanks random internet page where I found this, and no thanks to MS for not suggesting this solution on your Help pages.

I hope this helps you too, if you’re reading this. :)

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