Chances are if you found this page, it’s because you locked yourself out of Windows 7 and forgot the password to log back into your account. There are many ways to reset your password including several software applications that can do the job. However, I have found the easiest way (and free!) is as follows:

  1. Get your Windows 7 installation disk. If you don’t have one, you can download a free copy of the Windows Install disk here and burn it to DVD:
    Windows 7 32-Bit (x86) Direct Download Links
    Windows 7 64-Bit (x64) Direct Download Links
  2. Insert your Windows 7 Install disk in your CD/DVD drive, reboot your computer, and boot off the DVD.
  3. When the Windows 7 install screen comes up, click the link that says ‘Repair Windows‘ near the bottom left hand side.
  4. A new screen appears with several repair options, select the one that says ‘Command Prompt’
  5. When the command prompt opens, you will be in the X:\ drive. This is the Install DVD and not your Windows System. You need to find where your Windows 7 is installed. It may be C:\, however it is not uncommon for the Repair Disk to place it as drive letter D:\ or another drive letter. Search drive letters until you find one that has the Windows directory. For demonstration purpose I will use D:\ in this article. So if D:\ is your Windows installation drive, then you will have the following directory D:\Windows
  6. Now you are going to make a copy of the Sticky Keys application, because we are going to copy over it later. To make a copy of Sticky Keys run the following comand:
    X:\> copy D:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe D:\
  7. Now we are going to copy the Command Prompt cmd.exe over the Sticky Keys appliction. To do this run the following command:
    C:\> copy D:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe D:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe
  8. You’re now done with the Command Prompt and Repair Mode. Reboot your computer and remove the Windows 7 DVD.
  9. When the computer reboots, it will boot back up as normal into your login screen. Now press your shift key 5 times. The Command Prompt will open up.
  10. Run the following command in the Command Prompt:
    C:\> net user [your_login_name] [your_new_password]
    *Please Note that [your_login_name] is the login name you are resetting the passworld for, and [your_new_password] is the password you want to set for the login name.
  11. Close the command prompt, and now login with your new password! Once you are logged into your account, don’t forget to copy the sethc.exe back to it’s original location.
    C:\> copy C:\sethc.exe C:\Windows\System32\sethc.exe

That’s it. You are done! You can now begin logging in with your new password.

If you live in the Northern Virginia area and are not comfortable doing this yourself, I will do it for you. Visit my computer repair website at Nova Computing for more information.