Reset Windows 10 Administrator Password Using Sticky Keys

Forgetting Windows 10 admin password is common nowadays as Windows 10 asks you changing password per month. However, you don't need to be scared as there are several ways available to help you reset an admin password on Windows. Today, we'll show you a hack that uses Sticky Keys in Windows 10 to reset the local admin password. The feature is intended for users with disabilities that prevent them from using key combinations by allowing them to hit the keys in sequence and achieve the same result. However, we're going to be using it to reset the admin password. Sometimes, it fails on certain brands of devices so we also provide an alternative to Sticky Keys for Windows password reset in 2019.

Part 1. What's Sticky Key
Part 2. Reset Windows Password via Sticky keys
Part 3. Alternative Password Reset Workaround

 

Part 1: What's Sticky Key

On modern computers, we are using graphics user interface to manipulate software for certain purpose. But this is not user friendly for those who has physical disabilities. That's why Microsoft invented Stick Keys to help disabled people freely using Windows.

The purpose of Sticky Keys is to reduce the repetitive keyboard strokes to accomplish certain tasks such as opening Windows Explorer, launching command prompt, etc. Sticky Keys contacts Shift, Alt, Ctrl and Windows Keys in Windows 10 OS.

Part 2: Use Sticky Keys to Reset Windows 10 Administrator Password

This approach works by replacing the Sticky Keys file (sethc.exe) with the Command Prompt file (cmd.exe) so when you activate the sticky keys function, it opens up CMD instead. You then execute a command to reset your admin password. This also works in older versions from Windows XP to Windows 8 and 8.1. Replicate the following steps on your Windows 10 PC if you've been locked out of the account because you forgot the password.

Since your computer is locked, you will need to first boot from a Windows 10 installation disk to replace the sethc.exe file with the Command Prompt. If you bought a license online or upgraded from an earlier version, you won't have an installation disk for Windows 10. No worries, you can always get the ISO file from Microsoft's website and then use a disk authoring utility to create a bootable Windows 10 USB. Once you have the installation disk in hand, carry out the following steps.

Step 1: Change the boot priority so your PC boots from the installation disk. You can do this by hitting the F2 or other special key during the bootup process. It will take you to the BIOS Setup Utility window, where you can change the boot order. Save your changes and exit so the computer can boot from the disk.

sticky keys password reset

Step 2: When you reach the language setup screen, press Shift + F10 to open CMD. Now execute the following two commands, one at a time, with Enter after each.
copy d:\windows\system32\sethc.exe d:\
copy /y d:\windows\system32\cmd.exe d:\windows\system32\sethc.exe

Step 3: This will replace the sethc.exe file with cmd.exe after creating a backup of the sethc.exe file in the D: directory. Make sure the Windows installation files are in D: before doing this. If you need to, you can use the 'dir' command to find out which drive holds the files.

Step 4: You must now exit the Windows setup, remove the installation disk and restart your PC. When it boots up to the login screen, click on Shift exactly five times. Since you have already replaced the files, doing this will open Command Prompt in admin mode instead of activating the sticky keys function.

Step 5: In CMD (admin), execute the following command (hit Enter after typing in the command): net user user_name new_password

Replace user_name with the name of the locked admin account, and new_password to set a new password for that account. You may now close CMD and login with the new password. However, remember to reverse the process that you used to replace the sethc.exe file with cmd.exe.

Part 3: Alternative to Sticky Keys for Windows 10 Password Reset

If you want a really easy alternative to this complicated method, you can try this Windows Password Recovery, an award-winning password recovery utility for Windows. It uses the password reset disk method, but you can even use it after you've forgotten the password. Once created, the disk can be used as many times as you need to. The process is much simpler than the Sticky Keys, and the best part is that you don't need any technical expertise to use the program. It also allows you to create a new admin account in case you are unable to unlock the primary one for some reason.

              

 

Step 1: Download and Install Windows Password Recovery Software

You need to first find a Windows or Mac computer and download a copy of this software. Then follow the instructions to install it on the computer.

Windows Password Reset Open

Step 2: Make Windows Password Reset

In this step, you will learn how to create a password reset disk with USB (preferred) or CD/DVD. Now insert a USB or CD/DVD to the same computer and click "Burn" button accordingly once the disk being found by the computer. A few minutes later, a Windows password reset disk was created. Now, eject the disk and insert it to the locked PC.

Windows Password Reset Burn

Step 3: Reset Windows 10 Admin Password

NowPower on the locked PC and change the boot priority to USB or CD/DVD. When the computer boots from the disk, you will see the main window like the below screen. The program lists all the Windows versions and user accounts. Now, you should click on an user account and click "Reset Password" to remove password from that user.

Windows Password Reset Completed

When the password was reset, the next move is to eject the disk and reboot the computer. If everything works fine, the password screen will be bypassed from the startup and the computer goes to desktop directly.

              

 

Conclusion

One word of caution about password security is in order here. No matter what method you use to reset your Windows 10 administrator password, it's always a good idea to set a new password that is long, complex and unique. When using a password reset disk, make sure that the disk is not left lying around, because anyone can use it to access your computer. In case you're afraid of that happening, you should keep it in a place where only you have physical access. Another way is to set a password for the BIOS so the boot priority can't be changed, but we don't recommend it because if you forget that password, then your password reset disk will no longer work unless you enter that in the BIOS window. That's why it's better to store your disk in a safe place to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.