Frequently Asked Question

Windows 10 - create/enable/reset local user and admin accounts when password lost
Last Updated about a month ago

A. Boot from Windows 10 USB or DVD

  1. Create a bootable Windows 10 USB or DVD
    1. Follow the instructions here for "Create Windows 10 installation media
      www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10
    2. Detailed instruction for use are in the section half way down the page:
      "Using the tool to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) to install Windows 10 on a different PC"
  2. Restart the device with the USB/DVD inserted
  3. As soon as your PC boots, press the F11 key ( this key will differ from one pc to another and may be F9 or F12)
    1. If they don't work, try the Esc or F10 key to get into the system options and set the USB as the first boot priority and reboot again
  4. Once in the one-time boot menu, use the arrows keys on the keyboard to select the installation USB or DVD created in step 1
  5. Hit enter to boot to the select device
  6. Press any key when you see the “ Press any key to boot from the USB/DVD" option

B. Enable system-level access from the sign-in screen

  1. In the Windows set-up screen, set the options for 'Language', 'Time and currency format' and 'Keyboard  or input format'
  2. Click Next
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  4. Select the “Repair your computer” option from the lower left-hand corner.
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  6. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command prompt
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  7. In the black command window, type the following two commands, pressing Enter after each one:
    1. rename c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.bak
    2. copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
  8. Reboot the PC with a normal restart (remove the USB/DVD)

C. Work on local user accounts

  1. On the Windows 10 sign-in screen, click on the 'Ease of Access' icon:
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  2. This will open a system command prompt.
    1. Substitute words between quotation marks with your own desired details
  3. To see a list of current local users, enter:
    1. net user
  4. To create a new user
    1. net user "name of new user" "new user password" /add
  5. To enable the built-in Administrator account, enter:
    1. net user Administrator /active:yes
  6. To set/reset a password for a user (including the Administrator account), enter:
    1. net user "name of user" "new password"
  7. To elevate a user to an Administrator enter:
    1. net localgroup Administrators "name of user" /add
  8. Restart the PC by entering:
    1. shutdown -r -t 0
After the PC restarts sign-in in the usual way with the new credentials.

D. UNDO the 'Ease of access'/command prompt swap

1. Boot from USB again
2 - 6. Follow the instructions in Section B above, steps 1 to 6.
7. Set the utilman.exe file to its original state, by entering:
   a. del c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
   b. rename c:\windows\system32\utilman.bak c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
8. Reboot the PC with a normal restart (remove the USB/DVD)


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