Best is never use or enable the first 3 below, or  near endless pain and data loss awaits you! 
 Only Lost PW are a pain, changing them never hard. (read the user guide?)
You are here only if someone failed to write them down in their diary? or on a cheat cheat hidden in some book only you know its place)
Lost it to what?
         There  are 7 levels of Passwords to lose (including the very impossible Bitlocker™ or any SED hard drive or SSD)
  1. BIOS    user (this can be disabled or reset using supervisor PW if known below. (best is disable it)
  2. BIOS    supervisor/admin (  BIOS Password lockout problems)   ( and TPM blocks with UEFI grade BIOS )
  3. HDD Bitlocker encryption (hopelessly impossible and by "DESIGN !")
  4. Windows local login PW lost.  (and no USB key made)
  5. Windows  7/8/10 live login PW only & cloud store . The  trick, of using another admin account #2 to cure lost account admin #1
  6. Web passwords, (like AMAZON or EBAY,  banking, etc. go to there web page and click lost my password . ( fresh idea? use Lasspass.com to manage this?)
  7. EMAIL ,  ( go to your providers web page and click lost my password !) I listed, the top 11 here.
In the future, write your passwords down, on thin paper and put  it in a book (random) on a known only by you page number, ("Post-it-Notes(™)" are best so they can't fall out book rattled by thieves, grin!)
I use Lastpass, for all passwords, and never for my banking, (all else?, yes)
If you must use a BIOS password or worse Bitlocker, for sure write it down in  secret place. Ok? (hidden deep in an old huge book is best)
Some PCs have 2 more ways to get past BIOS PW, and that is using the finger print reader or answer 3 questions trick, via Intel® Management Engine BIOS Extension (Intel® MEBX)  , or AMT(tm) if opted and turned on. (my HP has this)

 HP (and other OEM) BIOS password resets  (see BIOS PASSWORD LOCK  see photos just below
See this web search for 1000's of wild examples of BIOS Password pop up window failures. ( If asking for help snap a photo of yours for 10 times faster and more accurate answers , and share it)

There are basically 3 Generations of PASSWORD Storage Technology .
(NVram is just Static RAM, with a battery and the 2 form what is called, Non volatile RAM , random access memory)
 (Gen1 keeps kids out, not anyone else so is toy grade protection and in fact is illegal to use this today on new PCs, by law) NVRAM stores, RTC time of day&date, and stores BIOS configurations.
  • Gen1a:Stored in CMOS NVRAM, very old PCs made 2000 to 2010 simply put the PW into the NVram and if you remove and kill all 2 to 4 power sources in your PC, (line AC, and up to 3 batteries inside, this erases the NVram and PW with it.
  • Gen1b:Some PCs have  jumper clip that is marked, CMOS_clr or PW_clr.  that erases the PW,  only seen on very Old  PCs for sure  1 decade old or older, (age matters ok?)
  • Gen2:Stored in custom formatted, separate tiny, EEPROM chip. (this chip many have a backdoor fix) Only your PCs maker, can tell you how to reset this level of PW. Call them and ask do not  use hacker/scalper solution or risk bricking your PC.
  • Gen3 in TPM chip and UEFI.(if enabled in BIOS pages,  you will not ever reset this PW., lacking direct intervention of your OEM maker of PC, (if HP, them if Dell then them, etc) Read about it here. TPM chip:
Do not attempt to short wires in any PC to reset the NVRAM PW,  (jumper named above are oK)
Shorting the intel ICH chip or the like,  that controls the NVRAM if you read the ICH chip data sheet clearly states and I paraphrase " shorting these pins here, blows our chip to hell , stop that , hacker"

Do not let mindless hackers talk you into actual hacking of any PC that has important data not backed up or wrecking (bricking forever) at $300+ motherboard, is fun. OK
Hacks  like directly shorting a chip out. or unsoldering chips with no skills or proper tools to do so...  (In most case, 1 in 100 are successful and 99 wrecked the motherboard doing so) Try not to be THEM.
IF on the other hand the PC has no value to you (like most of mine) hack away, H3LL even have fun! (but I use no BIOS PW ever)

BACK DOOR Dreams?: 1 example:
GEN 2:
 Consumer PCs, not Enterprise PCs:
 The big clue is hitting enter key 3 times, and getting a response (odd number) other PC makers have special complex key strokes to get the hinted PW unlock code to show up.
The consumer "toy grade" PCs at HP have a back door PW. (hit PW box, with enter key 3 times,  , see funny code like i59879876  , write that down , call HP and they give you magic password that works. (some $20 scalpers do this act too... I void them)
HP  Business Enterprise  grade ( Probooks, and Elite books or Work stations) have no GEN1  PW cures, by DESIGN. These Laptop only reset via HP direct intervention. ( Google that model PC and add, smc.bin fix)
I will not discuss TPM chip hacks,  of any kind , the older flash chips that stored the PW in a simple EEPROM cheap serial  chip, can be hacked and can be replaced (pre coded)  But may brick your PC so I will not tell you how.
There are fleabay sellers selling pre coded EEPROM chips to solder in,  good luck to you using that method.  (if your old PC is only worth $20 used and broken on ebay what is there to lose trying, sure none)
The TPM chip is un-hackable , really that is one of the goals, #1 TPM is  tamper proof ,hack proof, ,it is in fact super hack resistant.  (by Design)
If your PC has  backdoor password, ask for help at your PC makers, website forum , they may have a call in phone number to all this to happen.
The above backdoor is illegal now on new PCs and web sites hacking them , by order or GDPR and NIST.GOV
That means asking for help 10 years ago, PW Backdoors are told, but not today most forums and for sure  OEM forums this practice is banned (GDPR banned it) they go mute !
There are endless, on line scalping web sites even charging $85 to reset your PW.  (some even fail to do that and keep your money)
Yes some old long lists of backdoor passwords are good , if lucky and the old list matches your relic PC , sure.


The HDD password or FIPS grade Hard disk encrypted, lost my password can not be hacked. (guess yes, but if you guess too  many times it may do a self bricking action , now dead forever)
This is tricky some PCs have the HDD lock and the BIOS PW lock married,   if you get one right the other works.  (That means solve first lost PW , and pray the other does not ask later, yes,  PAIN)

The HDD hard disk drive may have drive encryption and drive lock turned on, in many cases this is a feature INSIDE the HDD, ( or both it and the BIOS in your PC)
This can not be hacked, all you can do is guess.
In many cases if you guess to many times wrong, the HDD secure erases the HDD as you stand there in horror. (this is feature some like and paid for...)
One more pesky window POP's up at power on time. (this is a BIOS locked PC) Note the total lack of a logo or water mark or some identification as to the source of his window. )
HDD LOCK 1 , example.
This I think is  OLD DELL BIOS admin PW,  (stealthy and nasty) This one can be impossible to clear. .

end HDD lock #1

Backdoor Example #1:
This is HP BIOS message , note the lack of HP marks !  (more stealth ) This is  BIOS lock NOT HDD lock.
 If you hit the enter key  3 times and get funny i12345678 code that means there is back door password cure. (never will you see this act, on any Enterprise  grade laptops, PRO or ELITE BOOK)
code shows up (i12345678) call HP and ask for a decode of your PW hint, here.

  Ms.com Bitlocker™, locked. (this too happens before Windows can run or day anything at all. The whole reason this lock exists it to prevent hacking  or cracking the PW.
There are exceptions to any rule,  talk to your OEM maker of PC and ask for help, first. OK?
IF you get this  window below and lost the PW you are toast.  you will not break the 256b it AES encryption here.) (sure you can guess )
Note how nice , it told you it's bitlocker asking, what  brilliant idea that is.
On paper, 2256 may seem like a normal number, but don’t you dare underestimate its power.(ti.com calculator shows, 2 to 256 power is 1.16-E77 decimal combo's.  Below is un-rounded number)
 256-bit will have 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,564,039,457,584,007,913,129,639,936 (78 digits) possible combinations.
No Super Computer on the face of this earth can crack this. it will take millions of years to do so.  (not saying if you got one PW letter wrong say  L is l and bingo works. ok?)
Do not think for a moment the software below  lets you guess at  10,000 times a second, IT DOES NOT.  This BITLOCKER can be 40% slower than a good SED self encrypting HDD.
Aka, HDD encryption.  Some newer HDD do this inside the HDD itself, and is not crackable by design.
Guessing is limited:
Notwithstanding, say your Bitlocker PW was your moms maiden name,  say it's "Lovelace",   If you think you got the L wrong on one or both,  you  need 4 tries total on the L upper and lower.  (l + l , L+L , L+l and l+L) (only a human can know this and make it easy)
If you try too many guesses, see this (lock out timer active)
Watch out guessing some DRIVE lockers Auto self fast erase  the HDD if  you guess wrong too many times. (read your product spec, on this)
If you don't have MS Bitlocker you might have Seagate , WD , or Toshiba HDD built in HDD lock called FIPS , compliant HDD, or SSD.  This is not crackable either, read your HDD sticker, then read the data sheet on it to see if it has FIP'S.

The generic name is SED, Secure encrypted drive, but slow and less secure Bitlocker(tm) is popular.
For sure WD / Seagate and Toshiba and all drive makers have there own SED DRIVE LOCKERS.
Some HDD older can be attached over and over with hard resets. (but not the newer FIPS drives) a good 2009 old report fails to show FIPS)
For those sining any form of HDD lock learn what HDD you have first, OK then ask for help.
There are 3 generations of HDD,(SSD) simple no locks possible ,early encryption and new FIPS.
What you have and how it works can be learn by reading the HDD data sheet matching your exact HDD first.
When I say HDD that means hard disk drive or SSD, (solid state drives or m.2 cards)
Even more complex  is the FIP drives they have different levels of features,  think, FIPS1 , 2, or 3? or more as time goes on ,newer rules by our USA government.
The SED, is extremely  safe but very hard to hack, impossible is the goal so... keep that in mind.
One issues is if the BIOS forgets the SED key the PC is bricked, I have no solutions for that, all are the secret of the OEM maker of you PC, and not by accident , by DESIGN.|
The PCs BIOS stores the 256 bit Encryption key and you don't need to type out that key , so that means moving the drive to other PC fails after all your BIOS there has no idea what to here, at all.

FIPS 140-2 , level 4 , you will never hack (guess a few times, maybe) wiki, statements.

Level 1 and 2 , are in the wild, above are rare yet, very hard to get certified. (there are level 3 device, now and expanding now)
The FIPS drive can delete the CSP key and this bricks the drive.

Obviously the weakness of the HDD PW lock is the guessing the BIOS Admin (supervisor PW) and you are in, even 6 character PW like 123456, and you are in,(or "qwerty" LOL easy)
The HDD uses  256bit, Data Encryption Key (DEK)
The BIOS stores that and it uses,  Authentication Key (AK)., if your BIOS PW is 123456, the BIOS likes , then it issuse the DEK and the SED unlocks. Knowing this one line of facts tells you why the Drive is dead moved to 2nd alien PC.

If the blackhat thief stole only the HDD, he is faced with 256bit key to guess. (impossible.) (so he steals the whole PC and attacks it in the underground bunker all year. some PCs only allow 1 guess per 10seconds , so machine attacks are slow...)
Here is only great coverage on SED , usage.

Jumpers? were used for decades, but not now. (this would violate many laws now)
GEN1 PCs long ago had JUMPERS. (Desktops and Laptops (some crazy hard to find) Have this.
Legacy level 1 PW: 
(or any PWwith jumpers) If a desktop it only takes me 5 minutes left side case off, and looking at mobo for CLRPSWR or CMOS-clr or?
On those pesky laptops (notebooks and Pads) it can take an hour of labor to remove all cases , look for jumpers and the coin cell only to find out, IT IS NOT THERE AT ALL those jumpers, the COIN cell will be. (save a few old Toshiba's < avoid them)
The generation shows code in the PW WINDOWS,  when answered 3 times wrong.  Its code only hackers or HP can use.
Here are some consumer PC grade, backdoor decoder reset web sites,  Here-1, and here-2 or here-3.
ProBook 440 G2
This is one of 1000s of photos at HP for 1000s of mother board listed on HP support site.

This is and example of the most easy way to reset a BIOS PW. (mostly legacy now)

Example #1:  of an old HP PC that has jumpers.
Finding the correct jumper is not hard if present.
The best way  to do this is learn to read the manual, RTM, the HP web site ,shows the motherboard pages for your PC on those pages are the jumper shown, (most times at HP it's not in the service manual at all)
LOOK for the words, CMOS , PASS, PW, Clear, CLR,  and CLR-PSWD, Clear CMOS with white silk screened painted letters as seen above.
Some PCs respond (old) to just pulling the CMOS RTC "NVraM" COIN CELL BATTERY.  (all power removed, no batteries remain no power cords attached, and  push power button on dead PC  now then wait for 1 full hour)
This COIN cell trick only works on OLD gen 1 PC, with passwords stored in the NVRAM.  (some call this CMOS but is  not just one word, that is lazy talk, it's CMOS NVRAM, that is what it is. (the V = volatile)
The NVRAM forgets only if all power is dead. 100% dead (on my laptop there are 4 power sources, (AC pack, COIN, BIG Li-battery1, and BIG battery2 in the DVD bay (options I have). 
On some Laptops there is docking station, remove  that  first, as some have a battery or power there or both. (a 5th and 6th power source, amazing no?)
Desktops have only 2 power sources, PSU and COIN.

TPM PW lost: (Trusted Platform Module {chip}) Just one example a HP Laptop, circa 2010 made.
The whole purpose of TPM is to keep you from hacking this PC, that is Job1 !  if it is enabled, and  PW set and lost , you will not hack this chip.
ON my PC, this chip is disabled by me, and on purpose!
The relationship of UEFI and TPM is explained super well here by IBM , in one page.(thank you  IBM !)
HP PC needs  direct HP intervention. (with a custom BINARY FILE SMC.BIN)     ( use HP chat to learn this, and prove ownership... can you?)
This is not by accident it is by Design, you turned it on, now forgot the PassWord and you  or the thief  are now  blocked...

Examples of the newer PCs and how to deal with lost BIOS (or UEFI) passwords.

Warning do not  watch utube jokers /hackers, shorting out TPM chip pins to reset BIOS,  "the rule of electronics is never short things and for sure  things you do not UNDERSTAND"
It can work this, if you are at wits end,  1 minute before putting said MOBO in the trash can ,it is ok to short the 2 pins, but never short to the VCC pin ever. (that means you need to read your chip data sheet first, if and only if you know which chip is IT)
In most cases they short the ground pin to 1 of 2 serial lines. (of EEPROM _ a serial EEPROM)

First off enterprise PC by HP are called by 2 prefix names "PRO..." and Elite..." Probook, Prodesk and the like. (Desktop PRO is called WORKSTATIONS)
If you see those 2 words for HP, passwords can be near impossible to reset.(lacking HP direct intervention and help)

In the case of HP, ? why not just ask them first?,  Here read this page, covering how to deal with TPM chip,  in the OS and in BIOS.

I will now assume this PC is not a Backdoor PC.(consumer grade) nor will battery (zero power) resets work. (all clear jumpers are not there)
The process is per below if the TPM chip is not enabled.
This process can change at any time at HP or DELL or whomever OEM made your PC , if they decide to not do this in the future that is their call, or decide to end this practice on your PC after it is 10 years old.
In  a nut shell the steps.
  1. GAIN the PC makers permission first, called getting elevated support,  some business owners have support contract, or you can buy and extended warranty and gain permission more easy.
  2. The Pro/Elite book/desk PC's needs a   SMC.BIN file, Binary flash program to load that, and it resets the TPM PW  Send your BIOS F10 info page per below.  (I print mine out)
  3. The BIN file you receive must match you UUID,  and will  not work on any other PC on earth !  Just your UUID matched PC works here.
  4. HP then sends instructions on how to perform the reset. Some PCs have  HP_tools folder with SMC.BIN already there, (my guess older Enterprise PCs only)
  5. That means if you stole the PC, and the real owner reports this to HP, then you will never get the SMC file , no way. (foiled you are)
  6. The UUID is a digital form a  PC serial number that only your PC has, 100% unique. 
  7. If you don't like this feature, then don't buy Executive level notebooks or Elite/Prodesk PC, or simple turn it off. (in the cases of TPM , you need to tread lightly here,.
The BIOS PW feature  is a trap, if you failed to backup the days data, to external medium then you turn off this PC , you may never get back that days work.
The BITLOCKER feature is also a trap in the same way.
Learn to write down your Password, put the small paper (post-it notes rule here) in a book only you know, and the page only you know. (or learn to uses SECURE NOTES HERE)

In most cases of TPM resets the OEM will ask for this serial number, to get the matching SMC.BIN file for you.
To get the UUID,
boot PC and hammer the F10 key and go to the BIOS INFORMATION page, it is there, on all HP PC.
Be sure  to tell HP your  full F10 page data, make , model, UUID on that F10 Page.
My newer PC 2010 , is hammer ESC then hit F1. Seen below photos.

UUID =  (HP once sure you own SAID PC, will ask this number or even as step 1) (only your PC has this unique to you, huge serial number)

A universally unique identifier is a 128-bit number used to identify information in computer systems.
3.4028236692093846346337460743177e+38  , combo's (that is in scientific notation)

The most hard of all PCs to reset the Password, requires a SCM.BIN file to be burned into the BIOS memory (a reset ) only by asking HP. (telling HP your service tag data  or all seen on the F10 page)
here; by country.
or chat


In the case of HP, ? why not just ask them first?,  Here read this page, covering how to deal with TPM chip,  in the OS and in BIOS.
MY F1 screen. (Go into BIOS , and when there hit F1 key) bingo INFORMATION PAGE.

BIOS PW of enabled, blocks this page features 100%  F9/F10 dead.
On newer HP PC's they deleted the SERVICE tag stickers, and only use the above F1 data. (so if the screen is dead, you are screwed, nice no? I call them marketing PUKES)

End BIOS issues .

Local Windows OS  Password, I will not cover all 14 versions of windows. no.
Before Hacking , backup your data first !
The best hack we are told is the Linux hack, using chntpw  (change NT Password) works windows 8.1 and older. OS. (it just changes it and does not need to guess the old one first)
The official statement from MS is to reload the OS,  (after all would they teach how to steal other persons private data? answer, no!, why would the?)
Each year the OS get more difficult.  (if running relic and dead, now, XP or VISTA use Google to hack it, these old OS are child simple  easy to hack. )
  1. Didn't write it down?   oops1
  2. Did you make a password recovery disk,  day 1,?  no? oops2.
  3. Now are you going to reInstall the OS? no? (the MS official way)  HP F11 key fixes this, HP recovery 2006 to today.
  4. We land squarely on hacking. I will assume w7 or newer. (XP is dead and a virus magnet.)
  5. Have a working ADMIN account , use that to change the account that is locked out.
Windows 7 HACK.  (no virus way is " copy d:\windows\system32\utilman.exe d:\" A.K.A; the login page, exploit !
W7 has  login screen exploit that allows manual hacking of 1 file to get ADMIN (cured in later releases, dig?)

W8 near same as above.

In all cases Ask Microsoft.com first for help,  if they say, reload the OS then there you go, and most pages at MS say just that.

Next is: (local login's)

W10 , after many updates and newer builds can be very hard to hack , even impossible,  Some methods below are not free.   (and after the 2-Aug.2016 update most methods now fail ,due to AES128 encryption and HASH)
Learn one thing about W10 now, it is a moving target, at any time any day, MS can fix Password hacking methods, I say count on this.!
Windows 10, as of  2-Aug2016, updated (as all are now)uses  NTLMv2,  ASE128+MD4  encrpytion hashes now in the  SAM.
(That means All old  cracking disks (tools) now all fail .  ) 12+ character complex passwords  have all been harder to crack.
As will bitlocker.
Attacking the PC,  using  boot disk of any kinds, can be foiled. (even to you ,  lost PW)
UEFI  PC , and  safe boot  turned on,?  plus  BIOS passwords  protecting this. FAIL.
Then bitlocker on,  encrypted  HDD/SSD boot drive.(FAIL)
If  you did manage to  steal the  SAM file, good luck cracking it. (Copied to a usb  stick and attack  it  on  another  PC?.)
Many tools do not work now, below  is a list ... I do not know if they work, for sure after July 2016.

The W10 hack site 1:

The W10 hack site 2:

I don't do hacks, but you can learn to WEB SEARCH  it.

Keep in mind if the HDD uses the MS or HP encryption feature, I bet all the above fails...  (by design!)

The HP has F11 recovery partition that gains access to the installer and command prompt. (if you need to do that to hack)

The Microsoft home page for W10 down load will burn any DVD or stick with W10 installer,  (takes no retail COA key like W7 does, to DL it., so .... do that.)

Next time learn to write this password down on paper, and put the paper, in a book only you know, and page only you know. (I use PostIt notes so the slip of paper can not just fall out of my book)
All this is done  to protect your data,   even banking transaction data, etc...
If you can login (before) with no internet connection, then the above is true, you are local, but if you could never login, with the internet dead, then the below is what you have. (you have LIVE)

LIVE: (not local as shown above)
Rule #1, only Microsoft can help you here, nobody else can hack Microsoft online servers.  For sure not you.
The Microsoft live login , (if you said yes during the install of W10 then you are using  the Microsoft LIVE CLOUD login,  to reset that , as millions have is there.)

Cured only by going to Microsoft live and doing  request there.                       And this MS policy page.
If these answers on the above line fail you must call Microsoft on the telephone (Cell phone/CELL) and ask for help. (be ready to pay CASH)
  • In the USA, (800) MICROSOFT (642-7676)
  • In Canada, call (877)568-2495
  • In India, contact 0008004402130
  • In UK, contact 0800 026 03 30
 The below is fake  live.com login example, only you know your, live email login password.  (next time write it down in a secret place only you know, hide it in a book? only you know and page #?) 
W10,  the cute blue squares are you owly clue here.  No words saying this is Microsoft Windows 10. But it is Windows for sure, as it shows.
This is a live login, not local at all.  (always keep this fact in your head if  true)
Microsoft has many older live login ways, hotmail, office login's and Xbox 360 login's.
Commonly it can be your Outlook.com or  hotmail.com, live.com, webtv.com, xbox.com, msn.com, or other Microsoft-provided email address is already your Microsoft account.
AOL.com, Gmail.com , yahoo mail,Yandex Mail, GMX.com and more 1000's more , even private mail servers like I own.  

Even owners with Office 365, have an office email account that can work as the W10 login.
Do you use the Microsoft Store [y/n]?  if yes you  have an  account there at Microsoft.
Do you use the Microsoft Cloud? same deal as the store.

Only you know how you login, like see above, it is live.com (or the MS cloud login)
The MS page on this is here.(the CAN'T LOGIN PAGE)

Next time learn to write this password down on paper, and put the paper, in a book only you know, and page only you know. (I use PostIt notes so the slip of paper can not just fall out of my book)

All Microsoft Windows, have a login screen. It even says W7 clear as day here.
Here is set of failed login password screens,  a running list of all possible screens, on topic.
W7,  login,  you can have say 5 or more users here, with there own ICONS , and own PW. 
The solutions are only 3,guess all day, reload W7 from scratch or go online and find hackers that can hack it, and it can be hacked.
This is a LOCAL login only.

There is hope thanks to the USA NIST.gov.  on new Password rules soon.

FYI: Even Windows 10 , has group edit policy to turn on how many PW guesses your are allowed (default is turned off =0) and then only your Admin can reset it for you or some long delay.

I use Lastpass generated 12 character, random passwords,  that nobody can guess, or hack. FYI. (or more char, as I do for banking)  Like this     #V5%Wb7N2Su&

 These comments are only mine, and mine alone and are only opinion's. The real truth is all this STUFF varies by the year and make your PC . (and for sure if any SED HDD or SSD)

version 3  .  8-1-2017  .   revised for more PW examples 11-27-2018