How to Create a Password Reset Disk for Windows 8.1

If you forget your password while working in Windows 8.1, a Password Reset Disk is what saves the day by enabling you to reset a password you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. If you have a password-protected Local account, follow these steps to create a Password Reset Disk (that is, a userkey.psw file):

  1. Log on to the account.

    It doesn’t matter what kind of password you use.

  2. Make sure you have a USB flash drive handy or another type of removable media, such as an SD card, or even an external hard drive.

    The wizard won’t write anything to a local disk (think about it — d’oh!), and it won’t write to a network attached location.

  3. On the desktop, bring up the Control Panel by tapping and holding (or right-clicking) the Start screen and choosing Control Panel. Click the User Accounts and Family Safety link and then the User Accounts link.

    Windows shows you the User Accounts dialog box.

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  4. On the left, click the link that says Create a Password Reset Disk.

    If you can’t see a line on the left that says Create a Password Reset Disk, either you don’t have a Local account or your account doesn’t have a password.

    This step launches the Forgotten Password Wizard, which creates a Password Reset Disk. This nifty little program creates a file that you can use to unlock your password and get into your account, even if your precocious seven-year-old daughter changes it to MXYPLFTFFT.

  5. Follow the Wizard and at the final step, click Finish.

    Store that userkey.psw file someplace safe. If you ever forget your password, or if someone else changes it for you, follow the steps in the next section to log on to your account.

Guard that file! Anybody who has that userkey.psw file can log on in your stead, even if he doesn't know your password.

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