In some instances, recovering a lost password can be easy.
For the sake of completeness, we may begin with the simplest tips that can assist you in regaining access to a locked account. However, even if you find yourself in a more complicated situation read on and find out what to do.
Be extremely careful if you are using an Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows XP Professional. If you do not know what EFS is, you should probably not worry about it. It is a Windows XP Professional feature dealing with file security on a local level. If you are not using it, please make sure to always export your private and public keys before making an attempt at resetting your password.
If you are sharing your computer with other users, it is relatively simple to recover access to your account. You may ask one of the other users to log on to Windows using their password and requesting them to perform the following steps:
1. From the desktop locate Start button, click "Run."
2. In the text field, type "control user passwords" (without the quotes) then click "ok."
Pick the account with lost password then click "Reset Password”, provide new password, type it in again in the confirmation box, and click "ok."
Without the other users who can unlock your account in your computer, you will need to reset your password "offline," Meaning you must boot your PC from outside your usual Windows XP environment via a boot disk or a bootable CDrom.
The graphical interface of this offline technique is not presented nicely and there are small risks involved.
In some cases, password reset fails. As a consequence, you will not be able to log on with the locked user account later on. However, this is not a common incident. But of course, you need to access another PC in order to create a boot disk or bootable CD.