How to Reset a Forgotten Password on Windows Vista

by Matthew Burley

Many people use passwords to protect access to computers. It is a simple yet effective way to protect sensitive data and equipment. Unfortunately, by their very nature, passwords can be difficult to guess when they have been forgotten. This can be an especially difficult problem when the forgotten password is for Windows Vista. This might prevent a user from accessing his computer at all. Once you are positive that you do not know your password, there are two options available to you in order to restore access.

Use Other Administrator

Log in to Vista with the other administrator user account.

Click the "Windows" button on the lower left-hand corner.

Click the "Control Panel" option on the right.

Click "Classic View" in the left tab, then double-click the "User Accounts" option.

Select the "Manage Another Account" option.

Click the account for which the password was forgotten.

Select the option "Change the password."

Enter the new password, then click the "Change Password" button. You will now be able to log in to the previously locked account.

With Only One Administrator

Locate another computer that has a cd/dvd burner and a program that can burn .iso files to a disk. Visit the Ophcrack LiveCd Download website.

Download the "Ophcrack Vista LiveCD" .iso file.

Burn the .iso file to a disc.

Insert this disc into the computer with the forgotten password, then restart the computer.

Boot the computer from the disc.

Highlight the name of the user account with the forgotten password, then click "Launch."

Copy down the password that appears in the far right column once Ophcrack has finished (this is your password), then exit the program and eject the CD.

Start Windows Vista normally and enter the password.


  • Section 1 will only work if the other user account also has administrator access.
  • If your CD-burning software cannot create an ISO image, try ImgBurn.


  • Ophcrack will not work if your password is longer than 14 characters.

Items you will need

  • Access to a computer with a cd or dvd burner (if Section 1 is not an option)
  • Blank cd or dvd

About the Author

Matthew Burley has been a writer of online content since 2005. You can view many of his articles on Burley holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Arizona State and a Master of Science in computer information systems from the University of Phoenix.

Photo Credits

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