BEST GUIDE: Reset a Windows XP Password

Whenever the average person creates their own user account on a computer running on the Windows Operating System, the very first thing they do is apply a layer of protection to their user account by setting up a password for it. This has been going on ever since it became virtually essential for every household to have at least one Windows computer – way before Windows 10 or even Windows 8/8.1, for that matter. In fact, most would say that protecting user accounts with passwords first started gaining traction when Windows XP was the standard for computers running on the Windows OS.

During the era of Windows XP, which, for many computers all over the globe, is the present era, the most effective way to protect your user account was indeed locking it with a password. However, in the search for a password that would be almost impossible for anyone to crack, many people end up setting passwords for their Windows XP user accounts that they themselves have trouble remembering. If, by a stroke of bad luck, you lose or forget the password to your Windows XP user account, you can easily regain access to your user account through a password reset disk.

However, what is to be done if you, like most other people, did not create a password reset disk for your Windows XP user account when you were setting up a password for it? Are you locked out of your account for good? Is the only option you have to say goodbye to all of your data and perform a fresh install of Windows XP? No! You can reset the password to your Windows XP user account even if you do not have a password reset disk for your account, and all you need to do so is a working Windows XP CD.

Using a Windows XP CD, you can repair your installation of Windows XP using the Windows XP Restore feature and reset your account’s password during the process. The Restore feature will only try to repair key Operating System files, meaning that all of your applications and data will remain untouched. In order to reset the password to a Windows XP user account, you need to:

Restart your computer. While your computer is booting up, on the very first screen that it displays, look for instructions to access your computer’s BIOS, and then press the key that will allow you to do so.

In your computer’s BIOS, look for your system’s boot order and change it so that your computer tries to boot from the CD-ROM or DVD drive before it tries to boot from the Hard Disk Drive.

Save the changes and exit your computer’s BIOS.

Insert the Windows XP CD into your computer’s CD-ROM or DVD drive and restart the system.

Your computer will either automatically boot from the Windows XP CD or ask you to press any key to boot from the CD. If you are asked to press any key to boot from the CD, do so.

When the first Windows XP installation screen appears, press Enter. DO NOT press any key other than Enter. The next screen will give you three options to choose from.

  1. To setup Windows XP now, Press ENTER.
  2. To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, Press R.
  3. To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, Press F3.

Press ENTER here, to choose Option 1.


When the Licensing screen appears, press F8.

The next screen that appears will display a list of all existing Windows installations on your computer. If you have more than one Windows installation on your computer, highlight and select the one that contains the user account for which you want to reset the password. Once you have selected the Windows installation, press R to begin the restoration process for the installation.


Once the first stage of the restoration process is complete, your computer will reboot. Allow it to do so.

Your computer will boot into the Windows XP Installation User Interface and the installation process will begin. Keep a keen eye on this process, and as soon as you see a progress bar that reads Installing Devices, press Shift + F10. This combination of keys, pressed while the installation process is in the Installing Devices phase, will launch a Command Prompt that you can use to reset your account’s password.


Type the following into the Command Prompt that pops up and press Enter:


An Account Management screen should pop up. On this screen, select your user account and then select the Change password


Replace your account’s old password with a new one.

Close the Account Management screen, exit the Command Prompt and allow the installation to go all the way through.

Remove the Windows XP CD and restart your computer. Once your computer boots up, you should be successfully able to log into your Windows XP user account using your new password and all of your applications and data will be found to be unharmed.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.
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BEST GUIDE: Reset a Windows XP Password

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