Troubleshoot Windows password problems

Here are solutions to some common problems with passwords.

Show all

I tried to log on, but I keep getting a message telling me that the user name or password is incorrect.

Here are several possible solutions to fix this problem:

  • CAPS LOCK might be on.

    Passwords in Windows are case-sensitive, which means that every time you type your password, you have to capitalize each letter in exactly the same way that you did when you first created it. If you have accidentally pressed CAPS LOCK, then you're inadvertently typing your password in all capital letters. Make sure CAPS LOCK is off, and then type your password again.

  • You might be typing the wrong password.

    If you can't remember your password, you need to reset your password, either with a password reset disk or an administrator account. For more information, see Reset your Windows password.

  • An administrator on the computer might have reset your password.

    If your computer is on a network, a network administrator has the ability to reset your password. If you think this might be the problem, check with your network administrator. If your computer is in a workgroup, anyone who has an administrator account on the computer can change your password.

  • You might be trying to log on to the wrong user account

    If you have more than one user account on the computer, make sure you're logging on to the account that matches the password you're using.

I can't remember the password for my administrator account.

The best option is to use your password reset disk. If you don't have a password reset disk, you can reset the password by using another administrator account, if you have one. If you reset a password using another administrator account, you will permanently lose access to any e‑mail messages or encrypted files that are on the administrator account that you are resetting the password for.

The steps that you should follow will vary, depending on whether your computer is on a domain or a workgroup. To find out, see "To check if your computer is on a workgroup or domain" in How is a network at home different from one at work?

My computer is on a domain

  1. Open User Accounts by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking User Accounts, and then clicking User Accounts.
  2. Click Manage user accounts. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click the user account that you want to reset the password for, and then click Reset password.

  4. Enter the new password, confirm the new password, and then click OK.

My computer is on a workgroup

  1. Open User Accounts by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking User Accounts and Family Safety, and then clicking User Accounts.
  2. Click Manage another account. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click the user account that you want to reset the password for, and then click Change the password.

  4. Enter the new password, confirm the new password, enter a password hint, and then click Change password.

Can Windows remember my password so I don't have to type it when I log on to a network?

Sometimes. When you log on to a network and you're prompted for your user name and password, you might see a check box that tells Windows to remember that password. If you select the check box, Windows will remember that password and stop prompting you for it every time you log on. However, if you store the passwords on your computer, anyone who has access to your computer also has access to all of the passwords. Therefore, for security reasons, we recommend that you do not select the check box and that you always enter your password when logging on.

I can't use my fingerprint reader to log on to Windows.

If you upgraded to this version of Windows from a previous version of Windows, you will need to type your user name and password the first time that you log on instead of using your fingerprint reader. Once you have logged on, you can start using the fingerprint reader after you download the driver using Windows Update. For more information on Windows Update, see Install Windows updates. If you've been using your fingerprint reader exclusively and don't remember your Windows password, you will not be able to log on. If there are no other user accounts on the computer, you won't be able to log on to Windows and you will need to re-install Windows.