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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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The Forgotten Password Disk

As described above, Windows contains a handy hint mechanism for helping you recall your password if you’ve forgotten it.

But what if, having walked into a low-hanging branch, you’ve forgotten both your password and the correct interpretation of your hint? In that disastrous situation, you don’t have to fling your worthless PC into the freezing river quite yet. You have a few more options:

The screens of this wizard guide you through the process of inserting a flash drive and preparing it to be your skeleton key. If you forget your password—or if some administrator has changed your password—you can use this drive to reinstate it without the risk of losing all your secondary passwords (memorized Web passwords, encrypted files, mail and social-media accounts, and so on).

Figure 24-6. The screens of this wizard guide you through the process of inserting a flash drive and preparing it to be your skeleton key. If you forget your password—or if some administrator has changed your password—you can use this drive to reinstate it without the risk of losing all your secondary passwords (memorized Web passwords, encrypted files, mail and social-media accounts, and so on).

  • On a corporate domain network, the system administrator can reset your password.

  • Someone with an Administrator account can sign in and change your password for you. Even you can do that, if you remember the password for another Administrator account.

  • Use the Password Reset Disk.

This disk is a clever solution-in-advance. It’s a USB flash drive that you can use like a physical key to unlock your account in the event of a forgotten password. The catch: You have to make this disk now, while you still remember your password.

Tip

This drive can get you into a local user account, one stored ...

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