Utilities/boot devices to unlock Win 10 local accounts

IT Guy
IT Guy used Ask the Experts™
I'm doing some consulting for an organization that has a lot of Windows 10 computers where the logon account passwords are unknown.

Some of these computers are running the most recent version of Windows, Windows 10 version 1709 or other recent Windows 10 builds. None of these computers are members of a Windows 10 domain.

What software, utilities, boot devices, or methods can be used to unlock these Windows 10 local accounts or reset these local logon passwords?

This software will only be used on company owned equipment and won't be used for hacking or dishonest purposes. We need this software to avoid having to reload Windows 10 on all of these computers.
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There are a number of solutions for "breaking" passwords on a local account. Off the top of my head there's PCUnlocker. It's a licensed software that offers a boot environment for resetting passwords. Beyond that, there are many ways to do this without a software but they're quite technical and not really worth doing if you're not comfortable with the inner-working of CLI applications. That said, you're better off reloading these machines anyways because there's no way to know that you're getting clean machines. You risk more by trying to repurpose than reload.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Use PogoStick from a bootable USB. Time tested to reset (NOT hack) Windows passwords.

Distinguished Expert 2017
What is the goal, just regaining access to the desktop/system?
As long as you can boot the system and access the filesystem to temporarily replace utilman.exe with cmd.exe.
on boot, easy access, will bring up a command window running at system level,
net user /add newuser *
net localgroup administrators /add  newuser

will create a new user "newuser" with a password and will be a member of the administrators group.

make sure to reverse the above, after newuser logs in and does what is needed.
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RaminTechnical Advisor
PSTools ( PsPassword ) can Reset the Local Administrator Password on Multiple Computers.

 How to reset the Local Administrator Password on Multiple Computers:

  PSTools download link:
I use Lazesoft recovery suite  

See:  http://www.lazesoft.com/lazesoft-recovery-suite-free.html

The downloaded tool will create a bootable DVD or USB for bios or UEFI environments.  

It can only clear local user passwords.  However, in the case of (microsoft) online Windows accounts, there is always a hidden local Administrator account that Lazesoft will let you activate and  clear its password to get into the PC.
IT GuyNetwork Engineer



The problem is that I usually can't access the OS.

What are the steps to follow to boot into a command prompt to access the Windows 10 OS so I can then use the steps that you have provided?

As I have mentioned these computers all have the latest Windows 10 OS.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

PogoStick works from a bootable USB Key. No need to get into the OS.
RaminTechnical Advisor
The problem is that I usually can't access the OS.

What are the steps to follow to boot into a command prompt to access the Windows 10 OS so I can then use the steps that you have provided?

here is a video tutorial which shows what to do and it works for all Windows.


Other Method:

You need a phisical access to this address on the target hard drive:   \Windows\System32
But you have to Boot the PC from another media to have access to specific files.

Some of your Options to Boot from:
Use Windows Installation Media (USB / DVD).
Slave the HD Drive to another PC and Boot that PC.
Use a Linux live CD to Boot.

Use a Windows Installation Media ( USB / DVD ) method and boot the PC from it:

During the boot process to initiate the Windows 10 install media. Proceed through the screens until you get to the part where it says "Install Now"; on that same screen there will be an option to "Repair your computer"; click that link. This will take you the Windows 10  System Recovery Options >> Troubleshoot >> Advanced Options>> Startup Options >> Command promt.
that will take you to the Command Prompt.

Go to this Address: \Windows\System32 on The Drive where your Operating System is located.
Now Type these commands:
Ren OSK.EXE OSK.EXE.OLD  and hit Enter.
Ren CMD.EXE OSK.EXE and hit Enter.
Reboot the  system normaly.
in bottom left of login screen you can see a Button named Ease of Access, click on it.
Select On-Screen-Keyboard.
Go to this Address: \Windows\System32
Net User Wesley nopass
Hit Enter
Close the command Prompt.
now nopass is your password to login.
Don't forget to rename OSK.EXE.OLD to OSK.EXE.

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