You can make a password reset disk only for your local user account. If your computer is joined to a domain, you can't create a password reset disk as a back door to your domain logon password . However, in a domain environment, a domain administrator can safely reset your password and you'll still have access to your encrypted files . Also, on a computer joined to a domain, password hints are never shown, even for local user accounts .

Both solutions require a little forethought on your part. You must create the hint when you set your password, and you must create the password reset disk before you actually need it.

To create a password reset disk, you'll need to know your current password and you'll need to have removable media available. (You can use a floppy disk, USB flash drive, external hard drive, or memory card.) Follow these steps:

1. Log on using the account for which you want to create a password reset disk.

2. If you want to use a USB flash drive as a password reset disk, insert it in your computer's USB slot.

3. In Control Panel, open User Accounts .

4. In the left pane, click Create A Password Reset Disk to launch the Forgotten Password wizard.

5. Follow the wizard's instructions .

You can have only one password reset disk for each user account. If you make a new one, the old one is no longer usable

To use the password reset disk when password amnesia sets in:

1. On the logon screen, make an entry in the password box. If you guess right, you're in! If you're wrong, Windows informs you that the password is incorrect

2. Click OK. The logon screen reappears, but with additional text below the password box

3. If the first bit of additional text, your password hint, jogs your memory, enter your password. If not, click Reset Password to open the Password Reset wizard.

The Password Reset wizard asks for the location of the password reset disk, reads the encrypted key, and then asks you to set a new password, which it then uses to log you on . Your password reset disk remains usable for the next attack of forgetfulness; you don't need to make a new one.

If you can't remember the password, the hint doesn't refresh your memory, and you don't have a password reset disk, you're out of luck. An administrator can log on and change or remove your password for you, but you'll lose access to your encrypted files and e-mail messages and your stored credentials.

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