Solved: How do I Enable Hidden Built-in Local Administrator or Reset Forgotten Password for Locked Windows 10

If you are unable to sign in to Windows 10 for some reason such as forgot the password for your Microsoft sign in account, losing administrator rights, or some other reasons, and not able to reset the password using Microsoft’s online recovery form, follow below steps to create a new local administrator account, reset local admin password using Command Prompt and sign in to Windows 10 PC again.

Solved: How do I Enable Hidden Built-in Local Administrator or Reset Forgotten Password for Locked Windows 10
Solved: How do I Enable Hidden Built-in Local Administrator or Reset Forgotten Password for Locked Windows 10

Prerequisite

Step 1: Prepare the Windows installation media. You can download the Windows ISO Disc Image (Windows 7 | Windows 8.1 | Windows 10) that contains all setup files, then create the Windows installation media by copying Windows ISO file to a USB drive or burning a CD/DVD. Referring to Windows Support > Create installation media for Windows for how to create the Windows installation media.

Step 2: When the motherboard vendor logo show, press the Boot Option Key repeatedly until the Boot Option Menu shows up. Make sure that the locked computer is configured to boot from DVD/USB, UEFI and Secure Boot are disabled.

Step 3: Insert the Windows installation media (USB or CD flash drive) to the locked computer and boot it up using Windows installation media.

Step 4: When the Windows Setup screen appear. Press Shift + F10 keyboard shortcut to open the Command Prompt.

Replace Utility Manager (utilman.exe) with Command Prompt (cmd.exe)

Step 5: Execute the following commands to replace the Utility Manager (utilman.exe) on Windows sign-in screen with Command Prompt (cmd.exe), press Enter after each command:

move c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe c:\
copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

Note: If the system can’t find utilman.exe, try to replace the c with other drive letters.

Step 6: Eject the Windows installation media and restart the PC using below command: wpeutil reboot

Step 7: In the Windows sign-in screen, click on the Utility Manager/Ease of Access icon located in the lower-right corner to open the command prompt window. Ignore the error message if any.

Step 8:
To reset the forgotten password: Type the following command in the command prompt to set the new password for local admin user account: net user <username> <password> and press Enter. Close the Command Prompt and sign into the local admin account with the new password.

To enable hidden built-in administrator account: Type the following command in the command prompt: net user administrator /active:yes and press Enter. Close the Command Prompt and sign in Windows using the built-in administrator.

To add a new local admin user account: Type the following command in the command prompt and press Enter:
net user <username> /add
net localgroup administrators <username> /add

Replace <username> placeholder with the account user name of your choice. After a few seconds, the newly created local administrator account will be displayed in the lower-left corner of the sign-in screen and you can use it to sign in to Windows without a password.

You can now access the files associated with Microsoft account in the C:\Users folder.

Restore Utility Manager (utilman.exe)

Step 9: Insert the Windows installation media (USB or CD flash drive) to the locked computer and boot it up using Windows installation media.

Step 10: When the Windows Setup screen appear. Press Shift + F10 keyboard shortcut to open the Command Prompt.

Step 11: Execute the following commands to restore the Utility Manager (utilman.exe) on Windows sign-in screen, press Enter after the command: copy c:\utilman.exe c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe
Note: If the system can’t find utilman.exe, try to replace the c with other drive letters.

If the message Overwrite c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe? (Yes/No/All) promt, type Yes and press Enter to restore Utility Manager.

Step 12: Eject the Windows installation media and restart the PC using below command: wpeutil reboot