Change password from command line (DOS prompt in Windows 7 / Vista / XP)

Previous tutorials have explained how to change Windows 7 password, change Vista password, and change XP password the usual way, by going through the Control Panel. But all three versions of Windows (and earlier ones) allow you to change password from the command line (DOS prompt), using the "NET USER" command: this is a powerful tool that allows you to do much more, including renaming user profiles and managing other user account settings. This tutorial will show you the basic password-related commands, with three options, and experience how to bypass the common "system error 5" problem.


How do I change my Windows password with DOS command line prompt?

The following steps focus on Windows Vista and Windows 7, which have to cope with UAC prompts (unlike XP), but the procedure beyond launching the command line is exactly the same in all cases. Confirmations and password requests you may receive will depend on your profile type (standard user or administrator), as well as your current security settings (how to configure UAC settings in Windows 7).

And these are the three options you can use with the NET USER command in DOS!

Problems changing users' passwords from the command line

If you receive the following error message, it simply means that you are not currently running the DOS prompt with elevated privileges; bypass this problem by running the command line as administrator, as we explained above: "System error 5 has occurred - Access is denied" (can happen with all three variations of the NET USER command described earlier, since all require the same privileges).
DOS error message when changing user password in Windows 7

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