How to Hack into Windows 10: How to Get Back into Windows If You Get Locked Out
Being locked out of Windows 10 is a pain. What’s worse is not even knowing if you can hack into Windows to gain access and fix your password woes. Much like drawing a blank when trying to remember your credit card details or forgetting your PIN, getting a message that your Windows password is incorrect and being refused entry can be infuriating.
Sometimes, it’s just a case of typing the password again, turning off Caps Lock, or replacing a malfunctioning keyboard on rare occasions. There are also times when everything’s working correctly, except your memory.
Thankfully, there is a solution to the problem, but it hinges on the type of Windows account you’re using.
The Two Types of Windows Accounts
One type of Windows profile is the “Local” account, which only gets stored on your computer. The second is a Microsoft account, which links to a registered email address, and it saves personalization settings, profile settings, and more in the cloud for syncing to other devices.
When installing Windows, you get asked to choose which type of account you want to use, and you can change it in the Accounts section of the Settings tool in Windows at any time.
Using a Microsoft account is, unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s favored method because it automatically logs you into built-in Windows programs (such as the Microsoft Store, OneDrive, and Skype). This method also lets you use a PIN instead of your full password. Despite the benefits of a Microsoft account, many people still prefer to use a local one.
How to Rollback to an Old Password Via System Restore
Perhaps you’ve had the same password for years, then decide it’s time for a change. You dream up a devilishly complicated new password, enter it twice as instructed, then carry on as usual. If you go days between restarts, your new password may not be so memorable as you try to log back into Windows. Suddenly, you’re locked out.
If you have System Restore activated, it could be your ticket to getting back into Windows 10. Be warned that Microsoft often disables System Restore after you’ve installed an update, so it’s worth ensuring it’s running after each update.
Because you can’t log in to run System Restore in Windows, you’ll need to boot your computer using your original Windows installation disc. If you don’t have one, hop on to another computer and create a Windows 10 installation USB or DVD. Generally, you use the Media Creation Tool and select which version (32-bit or 64-bit) to use on your media. Once you’ve inserted your “new” install disc or USB stick, restart your computer and follow the steps below.
- Once the installation/repair USB or DVD loads, confirm the operating system details and press ‘Next.’
- On the next screen, select ‘Troubleshoot.’
- From the next window, select ‘System Restore.’
- When the System Restore window loads, hover over your account and click it.
- In the System Restore password window, enter your credentials and click ‘Continue.’
- When System Restore loads, click ‘Next’ to begin the process.
- Choose your restore point and click ‘Next.’
- Confirm your restore point details and select ‘Finish’ to start the restoration process. You can also click ‘Scan for affected programs’ beforehand if desired.
- When the caution window loads, select ‘Yes’ to begin the restoration.
- A small window appears that confirms the restoring process is in progress.
- Once System Restore has completed and the OS has rebooted, a small window appears displaying the restoration status. Click on ‘Close’ to finish the process. If the restoration failed, you’ll see a notice for that instead, as well as the details.
You can also use this method if you recently switched from a local account to a Microsoft one and can’t log in. You’ll need to have a restore point dated before the switch.
How to Reset a Local Account Password using Sticky Keys
If the System Restore method doesn’t work, there is an alternative that manipulates the Sticky Keys shortcut on the Windows login screen (Sticky Keys in Windows lets you use key combinations such as Ctrl+Alt+Delete by pressing one key). This tip only works with local accounts, so skip to the next section if you’re using a Microsoft profile.
- Boot up the installation USB or DVD as previously mentioned, click ‘Repair My Computer,’ then select ‘Command Prompt.’
- You can take some of the following commands below from this Pastebin page to save you the hassle of typing everything out, but confirm all entries!
- In Command Prompt, type “copy c:windowssystem32sethc.exe c:” without quotes, then press Enter (replace c: with another letter if your Windows installation is on a different drive). This step ensures you can reverse the process once you’re back into Windows.
- Next, type “copy c:windowssystem32cmd.exe c:windowssystem32sethc.exe” without quotes and confirm that the copy was successful. This step replaces the Sticky Keys program with the Command Prompt but keeps its filename and shortcut.
- Restart your computer. When the Windows login screen appears, tap the Shift key five times in quick succession. You’ll hear a beep, and then a Command Prompt window will appear. If not, try repeating the key taps.
- In this window, type “net user [username] [password],” replacing [username] with your Windows account username and [password] with your new password. If you can’t remember what your username is, type “net user” and press Enter to display all Windows accounts. Press ‘Enter’ to log in.
- Close the Command Prompt window and log into Windows using your new password.
- Now that you’re back into Windows, you can revert the Sticky Keys file to its previous state. Click ‘Start,’ type “cmd” without quotes, and press ‘Enter.’ Type “copy c:sethc.exe c:windowssystem32sethc.exe” without quotes and confirm that the copy was successful.
How to Reset a Microsoft Account Password
If you use a Microsoft account to log in to Windows and have forgotten the password, you may need to enlist Microsoft’s help to reset it. First, click the ‘I forgot my password’ link on the login screen. You’ll get a prompt to enter the secondary email address or mobile number you supplied when setting up your account. If neither work, you’ll need to fill out an ‘Account recovery’ form. As well as your ‘memorable’ word, the form requests info such as the addresses you’ve recently sent emails to, the subjects of recent messages, and old passwords for the account.
As long as you can enter enough information, you’ll get a password reset link via email. If not, you’ll be told, “you didn’t provide us with enough information to confirm your identity,” at which point it’s best to contact Microsoft directly. You can do this via email or chat on the support page, but if reports online are anything to go by, it could be several days before your account is finally reset.