Passwords Are Lost After Upgrading to Windows XP

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q310562
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
After you upgrade to Windows XP from Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), certain passwords may no longer be saved. Uninstalling Windows XP does not restore these passwords.
Windows XP uses a more secure encryption method for saving passwords. To prevent older, less-secure password list files from being available to malicious users on the Internet, password list files are deleted and new files are created during the upgrade to Windows XP. To make your computer more secure, these files are not saved with the Windows XP uninstall information.
There is no workaround for this issue. You must re-create your passwords when you are prompted for them.
This issue involves Windows passwords such as:
  • Dial-up connection passwords
  • Logon passwords
  • Domain passwords
  • Network share passwords
The password list files are deleted because of security issues that could occur if the files remained on the computer. If you backed up your password list (.pwl) files before upgrading to Windows XP, and you then decide to revert to Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows Me, you can restore the .pwl files that you backed up.

Note that this issue does not occur if you upgrade from Microsoft Windows 2000.

Article ID: 310562 - Last Review: 01/11/2015 21:08:41 - Revision: 1.1

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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