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I managed to forget my Windows 10 user password. I searched here, but most answers refer to solution when no encryption is present.

The problem I have is that I have standard Windows encryption enabled on my system. Is it still possible to reset user password without losing the encrypted data? I do remember my Bitlocker password though.

And if it's not possible, would all all my data would be lost if I use the tricks to reset user password?

  • If you were using EFS, then without your password, your within your data is encrypted and cannot be recovered. If you were just using BitLocker, and you were NOT using EFS, then your user profile's password can simply be reset with the built-in Administrator. – Ramhound Sep 18 '18 at 14:10
  • If you reset Windows login password, it will remove every thing in your device. – Joy Sep 19 '18 at 9:38
  • @Joy - That would only be true if they were using EFS, the author only indicated they used BitLocker, which is FDE. – Ramhound Sep 24 '18 at 15:37
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The way encryption works depends on whether or not your device has built-in hardware based encryption or if you are utilizing software based encryption. More than likely, your device is either using pure software based encryption, or your encryption keys are stored in a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). The following answer assumes you have a local account that cannot be reset via online microsoft services. If your user account is a Microsoft Online linked account, absolutely try to reset you password using their services.

When you boot your device to your encrypted volume/drive, the encryption processes first load to allow a method to decrypt the data. Once you have successfully entered in the encryption access credentials, all of the data is then encrypted/decrypted between the disk and other components while you use the OS.

While you have your decryption credentials, you obviously cannot boot and retrieve files like you normally would with a forgotten windows password. In order to retrieve the files in that manner, you must first deactivate the bitlocker encryption through the Windows Control Panel. In order to do that, you must be able to log in.

Absolutely try all of the reset options you find. If those fail, your best option is to use another device and decrypt the drive, assuming you have your full encryption key. When the drive/volume has been decrypted, you will be able to access the files like you typically would via mounting the drive in a different OS or device. If you don't have the full encryption key, you're SOL if you can't remember or are unable to reset your windows password. You may run into additional issues if the standard secure boot features are enabled on your device due to how integrity checks are performed. Honestly, between the probable secure boot, bitlocker encryption, and forgotten password, it'll take a lot of research and effort to successfully bypass each of the security features to reset your password. Decrypting the drive/volume to copy your files is the best first step. After that, it will be easiest to create a fresh installation.

Pro tip: when you are using encryption, don't forget your passwords. For data backup, you can use bitlocker encryption with a cloud backup service. That way even if you run into this problem on another device, you still have a secure cloud backup that you can access so you don't lose your files.

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First of all, you have to boot your computer from a WinPE USB drive with BitLocker module support. When you get to the Command Prompt, run the following commands to decrypt your BitLocker encrypted drive:

manage-bde -unlock C: -RecoveryPassword  put-your-bitlocker-recovery-key-here
manage-bde -off C:

When it's done, you can use some password recovery disks like Offline NT Password & Registr Editor, Elcomsoft System Recovery, Kon-Boot or sticky keys exploit to reset your forgotten Windows password.

After logging back into the system, all your files are accessible but the EFS files remain encrypted, you have to import the EFS private key certificate to decrypt them. If you haven't backed up the EFS certificate previously, you'll lose access to EFS files completely.

Of course, when your Windows password is simple or short, your best option is recovering the password using Ophcrack. After finding the original password, you can login and access the EFS files without having to import EFS private key certificate any more.

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