Reset Passwords for User Accounts in Microsoft Windows 7

Resetting passwords means changing the passwords without providing the old ones. Passwords must be reset if the users have lost their old passwords or the passwords are hacked by any unauthorized person. In Microsoft Windows operating systems, users can reset their passwords using Password Reset Disks, creation of which is a user specific task which does not require elevated privileges at all. However, if users have lost their passwords and they have not created password reset disks for their accounts, it becomes essential for them to contact the systems administrators and request them to reset the passwords for their accounts using administrative privileges.

In Microsoft Windows operating systems, administrators can reset passwords for standard user accounts or other administrator accounts without the permission of the account holders. For example if, on a Windows 7 computer, there is a standard user account named A whose password is xyz, the administrator of that computer can forcefully reset the password for user account and can change it from xyz  to something else.

Challenges While Resetting Passwords Forcefully Using Administrative Privileges

When administrators forcefully reset passwords, it becomes their responsibility to protect any sensitive information that might be stored in the users’ profile. If, because of any reason, any sensitive information is lost, it is the administrators who are held responsible for the losses that the organization may face because of the lost data.

Another most important thing that many administrators do not notice is that if users have encrypted their information using Encrypting File System or EFS and the administrators forcefully reset the passwords, the encrypted data becomes unavailable permanently. Therefore it is strongly recommended that every user must create a password reset disk so that the password can be reset by himself/herself in case it is lost.

In other words, resetting passwords forcefully using administrative privileges is the hard and risky solution that administrators use if something goes wrong with the user accounts or the passwords are lost. Under normal circumstances administrators must grant users the permissions to change their passwords on their own and must also educate about the password reset disc creation process.

Resetting Password of a Standard User Account Using Administrative Privileges

In order to reset password of a standard user account on a Windows 7 computer, administrators must follow the steps given as below:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer with the account that has administrator privileges.
  2. Click Start, and from the displayed menu right-click Computer.
  3. From the context menu that appears, click Manage.
  4. On the opened Computer Management snap-in, from the left pane under System Tools category expand Local Users and Groups, and from the displayed containers click to select Users.
  5. From the right pane, right-click the name of the standard user account for which the password has to be reset, and from the context menu click Set Password.
  6. On the displayed box, read the information carefully and click Proceed.
  7. On the next box that appears, type and retype the new password in New password and Confirm password fields respectively.
  8. Once done, click OK button and on the displayed information box click OK button again.

    Reset Password

  9. Log off from the current user account and log back in with the account, for which the password has been recently reset.
Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.
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