It is every Windows users nightmare: one day you try to log in and every attempt is denied. Whether you have forgotten your password or it has been changed or you need to get in and don’t have the password, there is a way to break in.

The Backdoor

Take the battery out if you have a laptop and plug in the mains

Start windows and then whilst it is starting up, pull the power out to force an automatic startup repair on the next boot. Note - this is not very good for the hard drive, so be warned. Only follow this if you absolutely need to get back into your Windows 7 machine!

When it restarts you will see the Windows Error Recovery

image1 - If you see a screen which gives you the safe boot options, just keep trying and eventually it will give you the above screen

Select Launch Startup Repair (recommended)

Windows will then load files and begin the startup repair service

image2 - Wait for a few minutes, sometimes it can take a while, for a box to pop up saying “Do you want to restore your computer using System Restore?” and then click Cancel

Wait for another 5 to 10 minutes for a pop up to appear saying “Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically**”**

Click on View problem details

Select the final .txt link, usually addressed X:\windows\system32\en-US\erofflps.txt

Then, on notepad (viewing the .txt), go to File > Open

Go to C:\Windows\System32

Change Files of type: to All Files

Find sethc.exe amongst the files

Rename it to sethc1

Then find cmd

Right click on cmd and select copy, then rename cmd-copy to sethc

Close notepad and press cancel on Startup Repair to restart Windows

Let Windows start normally and wait until you see your user profile log on screen

Press shift 5 times quickly to open your renamed cmd.exe - now you can use the command prompt before logging on

In cmd, type net user to see a list of users

Choose your user and reset their password by typing net user USERNAME * (where USERNAME is the username taken from the list)

Type a new password for the user or just leave blank and press enter

Hopefully, you’re in! Welcome back to Windows!