How to Create and Use a Password Reset Disk in Windows 10

You can create a password reset disk so that you can regain access to the system quickly in the event of a forgotten local account password, without having to use third-party boot environment CDs.

It’s suggested that you create a password reset disk after creating the user account and assigning the password. The password reset disk is not applicable if you have a Microsoft account (MSA); it works for local user accounts only.

Here is a walkthrough on how to create a password reset disk in Windows 10.

Create a Password Reset Disk in Windows

Creating a password reset disk requires a USB flash disk. If you have a spare flash drive that you don’t plan to use, you can use it as a password reset disk. Note that the password reset disk wizard uses less than 2 KB to store a file named userkey.psw in the drive.

You should know the current user account password in order to create a Password Reset Disk.

  1. Connect a USB flash drive to the PC.
  2. Right-click Start, click Run
  3. Type “rundll32.exe keymgr.dll,PRShowSaveWizardExW” and click OK.

    Alternately, you can open Control Panel and type password reset disk in the Search box. Note that you can search from the Windows 10 Start menu as well. However, on some computers, the password reset disk wizard won’t show up on the screen, though the process is launched correctly by sihost.exe

    Click Create a password reset disk listed under the “User Accounts” category.

    This launches the forgotten password wizard.

    password reset disk wizard

  4. Click Next, select the USB flash drive letter, and click Next.
    password reset disk wizard
  5. Type in the current user account password and click Next.
    password reset disk wizard
    Note: The password you type in this dialog is validated by Windows. Typing a wrong password would throw the following error:

    Wrong Password
    The password you entered is incorrect for this user account. Please try again.
  6. Click Next, and click Finish.
    password reset disk wizard

The password reset disk wizard creates a file named userkey.psw (less than 2 KB)

Reset Forgotten Password Using the Password Reset Disk

If you forget the user account password in the future, you can reset the password using the USB flash drive you created earlier. Use these steps to reset the password:

  1. In the Windows sign-in screen, select the user account.
  2. Type an incorrect password in the Password box, and press Enter.
  3. When you see the password hint message and a “Reset password…” link underneath, click “Reset password…

This starts the Password Reset Wizard. Insert the Password Reset Disk (USB drive), and you’ll be asked to assign a new password for that user account.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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