Windows 2000 Logon Passwords

This article was previously published under Q258289
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A new Windows 2000 installation, or a Windows 2000 upgrade from Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 98, may unexpectedly prompt you for a password. The following notification occurs when you log on to the Windows 2000-based computer:
Logon Message:

The system could not log you on. Make sure your user name and domain are correct, then type your password again. Letters in passwords must be typed using the correct case. Make sure that Caps Lock is not accidentally on.
The Windows 2000 security model is based on the Microsoft Windows NT security model. This security model requires a user name and password before access to the computer is granted.

The Windows 2000 security model is different from the Windows 95/98 security model in that no authentication is required to obtain access to a computer running Windows 95/98. Users who upgrade from Windows 95/98 to Windows 2000 Professional may not be aware of these differences.
If a user password is lost, forgotten, or unknown, the only method to reset the password is for the administrator (or a user with administrative access) to log on and reset the password in Computer Management. There is no method in the Windows 2000 security model to bypass, disable, or reset the password.

If the administrator password is lost, forgotten, or unknown, access to the computer may not be obtainable and the operating system may need to be reinstalled.

To Reset a User's Password

If a user account needs to be reset, logon as the administrator or as a user with administrative access, and then follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
  2. Expand the Local Users And Groups object under System Tools, and then click the Users folder.
  3. In the right pane, right-click the appropriate user object, and then click Set Password.
  4. Type the appropriate password, and then click OK.
  5. Click OK to acknowledge that the password change succeeded.
  6. Close the Computer Management console and Administrative Tools windows.
  7. The user can log on with the new password.

To Reset the Administrator's Password

Log on to the computer as a user with administrative privileges, and perform the steps listed above for the Administrator account.

If the Administrator password needs to be reset, and there are no other users with administrative access, there is no way to recover the password and the operating system will need to be reinstalled.

Additional Information

A common problem that occurs is using the incorrect case for one or more of the letters in the password. If your password is not accepted, try this:
  1. Press the CAPS LOCK key, and then type the password again. If you remember holding down the SHIFT key when you originally crated the password, make sure you press the SHIFT key as appropriate, even if the CAPS LOCK key has been pressed.
  2. In Windows 2000, passwords are case-sensitive. For example, the following passwords are all different because the letters are in different cases in each password:
    Type the password using different combinations of uppercase and lowercase characters. For example, if the password "password" is not working, try "Password" or "PASSWORD".

  3. Sometimes, the prompt to configure the Administrator password is inadvertently skipped, leaving the Administrator account password blank. To determine if this has happened, attempt to log on as Administrator with a blank password.
  4. If someone else has access to the computer, check with that person to see if they have changed the password.
If none of these suggestions works, the operating system may no longer be accessible. Reinstalling the operating system and restoring from a good backup may be the only method to restore access to the system.

NOTE: If the operating system is reinstalled, all previously installed programs and drivers will need to be reinstalled to operate successfully. Data files such as Microsoft Money files, Microsoft Outlook mailbox files, and so on, should not be affected by reinstalling the operating system, but these files will be lost if the hard disk is reformatted during the reinstallation of the operating system.
The Windows 2000 security framework is designed to fulfill the most stringent security requirements.

The Windows 2000 Setup program creates a user account called Administrator on your computer that has administrative privileges for managing the overall configuration of your computer. The Administrator account is intended for the person who manages this computer. For security reasons, specify a password for the Administrator account. Leaving the Administrator password blank indicates no password for the account.

The password you type in the Confirm Password box must exactly match the password you type in the Administrator Password box. Take special care to remember and protect your password. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256070 Deciding Whether to Upgrade from Windows 95/98 to Windows 2000

Article ID: 258289 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 19:21:52 - Revision: 3.2

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition

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