I Forgot My Windows Vista Password! What Can I Do?

Here some ways to get back in if you forgot your Windows Vista password

Reminder Ribbon Tied to Finger
Katie Black Photography / Getty Images

Forgot your Windows Vista password? Don't feel too bad because you're not alone. We're supposed to make our passwords difficult to guess but sometimes we make them so difficult that no one, not even us, can remember them.

There are a several ways to find your forgotten Vista password:

Use Your Windows Vista Password Reset Disk

If at some point in the past you created a Windows Vista password reset disk, now is the time to use it! This is one of those situations where being proactive pays off.

Your password reset disk will still work even if you've changed your Windows Vista password since creating it.

Take Educated Guesses at Your Windows Vista Password

Before you skip over this seemingly obvious advice, really take a look at some of these ideas. If you haven't already, put some serious guessing effort in before you move on to more complicated ways of getting your password back.

Most Windows Vista passwords, even overly complicated ones, are often inspired by everyday things in our lives.

Is it possible that your Vista logon password was created using:

  • your name?
  • the name of a family member or friend?
  • a pet's name?
  • a birthday?
  • your home or office address?
  • something from your childhood?
  • a favorite food?
  • an often dialed telephone number?
  • some combination of the above ideas?

Need more help remembering your Windows Vista password? See How To Guess Your Own Password for some other ideas.

Have an Administrator Change Your Password

If you share your computer with someone else, that person may have administrator level access, meaning they'd have the ability to change your Vista password for you.

If you're the only user of the computer, this advice obviously won't do you much good.

Use This Hack to Reset Your Windows Vista Password

Now we're getting into the serious stuff. Not impossible, even for the novice, just a lot more involved than guessing.

If you've tried the easier ideas above and nothing worked out, follow my How to Reset a Windows Vista Password tutorial. Yes, there are few commands to execute and you may need to do some things you've never done before, but it's very straightforward and almost always does the trick.

Hack Into Windows Vista With a Password Recovery Program

If there's no way you'll remember your forgotten Vista password, you have no password reset disk, you're the only user on your PC, and the reset trick didn't work, then it's time to move on to dedicated recovery/reset software.

Windows password recovery programs are free software tools designed to reset/delete your password or recover the old password itself. They're not the easiest programs in the world to use but if you can follow step-by-step directions, a password recovery program is almost certain to get you out of this predicament.

Still Can't Find Your Windows Vista Password?

If you still can't get in to Windows Vista, even after trying all of the free password recovery programs, you will need to do a "clean install" of Windows Vista. This is the type of recovery that will erase everything on your PC.

This is a drastic and destructive step but if you forgot your Vista password and can't get in any other way, a clean install is guaranteed to get your PC back in full working order.