With Windows XP built in password reset disk utility, you can create a password reset disk so that you can easily bail yourself out of a jam in the event of a forgotten password (with out needing any third party recovery solutions). The only problem with using the password reset utility on XP is that it requires a floppy drive. Back then that was an acceptable solution, but these days, the floppy drive is pretty much history.
With Windows Vista, the requirement for creating a password reset disk has changed. Now you can select any media, including using a USB drive to reset your password.
To create a USB password reset disk on Windows Vista, click on Start \ Run and type Control Userpasswords in the Start Search box. In the Programs list, click Control Userpasswords and follow the steps below:
1) – Plug in the USB drive you want use to create the password reset disk.
2) – Click on Create a Password Reset Disk under Tasks.
3) – In the Forgotten Password Wizard welcome screen, click Next.
4) – On the next screen, select the drive letter for the USB drive you used in Step 1, and click Next.
5) – In the Current user account password box, type the password for the user account, and then click Next. If the user account does not have a password, leave the password box blank.
6) – When the progress bar reaches 100 percent, click Next followed by clicking Finish to close the wizard. You can also disconnect the USB drive if it is no longer needed. You may also want to label the USB drive as a reminder that it is the password reset disk for future reference.
Now that you created the disk, to use it when you have forgotten your password, follow these steps:
1) – Plug in the USB drive you used to create the reset disk, and boot Windows Vista normally.
2) – At the login prompt click Reset Password and click Next at the Reset Password Wizard.
3) – On the next screen, select the drive letter next to The password key disk is in the following drive list and click Next.
4) – At the next screen type a new password, and type it again in the confirm field. Also type a hint that will remind you of the password if you forget it.
5) – Click Next then click Finish to close the wizard.
6) – Logon on to Vista with the new password.
Using a USB drive with the password reset utility, can be run on all editions of Windows Vista. Once you have created the password reset disk, it can not be used to reset a password for another Computer (only the Computer where the utility was run against). Also, consider keeping the disk in a safe location, since anyone can use the disk to reset the password and gain access to your Computer.