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Windows Key HowTo

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NOTE: To see HowTo for the previous versions of Windows Key (8.5 and lower), please click here.

Below are the steps to reset a Windows account password using Windows Key. The overall steps are as follows:

  • Create a password reset CD/USB image and burn it on a disk;
  • Reset the password with the CD or USB disk.

1. Download a free demo version of Windows Key (to reset a 'Demo12345' password for a trial) or buy an instant download online (to reset an unknown password).
2. Run the downloaded file to install Windows Key. You can install it on any PC you have access to, not just on a computer you wish to unlock.
3. At the end of the installation process enable the Run Passware Kit check-box and click the Finish button. Passware Kit with the Windows Key module will be launched automatically.

Creating a Password Reset CD Image / USB Disk

1. On the Start Page click Reset Windows Administrator Password.
2. Insert your Windows Setup CD.

NOTE: Both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit Setup CDs are supported.

Browse for either a TXTSETUP.SIF or a BOOT.WIM file. The TXTSETUP.SIF file is usually located in the 'I386' folder of the Windows XP/2003 Setup CD. The BOOT.WIM file is usually located in the 'Sources' folder of the Windows 8/7/Vista/2008 Setup CD.

  • The Make password reset image from field should contain the location of the TXTSETUP.SIF or BOOT.WIM file;
  • You can protect the Windows Key password reset media with a password by enabling the Set a password on the Windows Password Reset CD/USB disk check-box and typing your own password in the field;
  • Check Add drivers for SCSI/RAID hard drives, if you need to reset a Windows password for a SCSI/RAID/IDE hard drive. The field Copy drivers from should contain the location of the additional drivers for your hard drive. These drivers should be listed in the Pick up the drivers for your hard drive field. For example, drivers for Intel hard drives can be downloaded at the manufacturer's site.
3. Click Next.

NOTE: If you do not have a Windows Setup CD, you can request a Windows Key ISO download.

4. Choose what password reset device to create:
  • Select CD/DVD if you want to make a password reset CD or DVD disk;
  • Select USB flash if you want to make a password reset USB flash drive.
5. Specify the CD or USB burning drive from the pull-down list of the CD/DVD or USB flash options.
6. Click Next.

NOTE: To create a Windows password reset CD, a CD-ROM drive capable of burning is required.

7. The burning process starts. Passware Kit copies the necessary files from the Windows Setup CD into the ISO image file.
8. After Passware Kit creates a password reset ISO image, it prompts you to insert a blank CD/DVD disk into the CD-ROM drive so that it could burn the image on this disk. Insert a blank CD/DVD disk into the CD-ROM drive. Click OK.
9. The password reset disk is now ready.

Resetting the Password

NOTE: If you used a Windows XP/2003 Setup CD (TXTSETUP.SIF file) to create a Windows Key password reset disk, follow these instructions to reset the password. If you used a Windows 8/7/Vista/2008 Setup CD (BOOT.WIM file) to create a Windows Key password reset disk, follow the steps below to reset the password.

1. Reboot your system with this CD or USB disk.

NOTE: To reboot your PC with a USB Flash Drive you may need to set the following options for the BIOS Setup Utility: after rebooting your PC please press 'Del' or 'F2' to run BIOS Setup Utility, go to the 'Boot' section and press 'F6' to move the 'Hard Drive' device up, then press 'Enter' on the 'Hard Drive' option and press 'F6' to move the 'USB Drive' device up. After all the changes are set, press 'F10' to exit and save the settings.

2. After all the required files are loaded from the CD or USB drive, Windows Key process starts.
3. Enter the protection password that you have set while creating the Windows Password Reset CD\USB disk. Click Next. If you have not set any password, go to the next step.
4. Select the Windows installation to be unlocked. If there are several installations, use additional information from the table to choose the one you need to unlock. Click Next.
5. Select the local Windows account or Active Directory Administrator account for which you want to reset the password. Click Next.
6. Review the list of tasks to complete. Click Next.
7. To reset passwords for other Windows installations or accounts, click Back To Start and repeat the process from Step 4.
8. Click Reboot if you are finished and want to exit.
9. Remove the Windows Key bootable CD or USB disk to restart your PC.

Now you are able to log into your computer without a password!

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