How to Secure Your Windows 10 Account with a Password

By Andy Rathbone

Using a password solves some of the problems caused by Windows 10 letting many people use the same computer. How do you stop Diane from reading Rob’s love letters to Miley Cyrus? How can Grace keep Josh from deleting her Star Wars movie trailers?

In fact, a password is more important than ever in Windows 10 because some accounts can be tied to a credit card. By typing a secret password when signing in, you enable your computer to recognize you and nobody else. If you protect your username with a password, nobody can access your files. And nobody can rack up charges for computer games while you’re away from home.

To set up or change the password on your account, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button and then click the word Settings.

    When the Start menu appears, click the word Settings in the lower-left corner. The new Settings app appears.

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  2. Click the Accounts icon (shown). When the Accounts pane appears, click the words Sign-in Options along the pane’s left edge.

    Options for signing into your computer appear on the right.

  3. From the Password section on the app’s right side, click the Change button, shown in the following figure. Don’t have a password? Click the Add button instead.

    You may need to type your existing password to gain entrance.

    Click the Password section’s Change button.
    Click the Password section’s Change button.
  4. Type a password that will be easy to remember.

    Choose something like the name of your favorite vegetable, for example, or your dental floss brand. To beef up its security level, capitalize some letters and embed a number in the password, like Turnips4Me or Floss2Kleen. (Don’t use these exact two examples, though, because they’ve probably been added to every password cracker’s arsenal by now.)

  5. If asked, type that same password into the Retype Password text box so Windows knows you’re spelling it correctly.

  6. In the Password Hint box, type a hint that reminds you — and only you — of your password.

    Windows won’t let you type in your exact password as a hint. You have to be a bit more creative.

  7. Click the Next button and click Finish.

    Do you suspect you’ve botched something during this process? Click Cancel to return to Step 3 and either start over or exit.

After you’ve created the password, Windows begins asking for your password whenever you sign in.

  • Passwords are case-sensitive. The words Caviar and caviar are considered two different passwords.

  • Afraid that you’ll forget your password someday? (You can reset a lost Microsoft account password online.)

  • When you change your Microsoft account password on your PC, you also change it on your Windows phone, your Xbox, and every other device where you sign in with a Microsoft account.

  • Windows also allows you to create a picture password in Step 4, where you drag a finger or mouse over a photo in a certain sequence. Then, instead of entering a password, you redraw that sequence on the sign-in picture. (Picture passwords work much better on touchscreen tablets than desktop monitors.)

  • Another option in Step 4 is Create a PIN. A PIN is a four-digit code like the ones you punch into Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The disadvantage of a PIN? There’s no password hint to a four-digit password.

  • Forgotten your password already? When you type a password that doesn’t work, Windows automatically displays your hint (if you created one) which should help to remind you of your password. Careful, though — anybody can read your hint, so make sure that it’s something that makes sense only to you. As a last resort, insert your Password Reset Disk.