Windows locks you out of your User Account when you have too many unsuccessful login attempts. The account lockout duration can be anywhere between 1 to 99,999 minutes. There can even be a manual lock set that needs to be unlocked by the admin explicitly.
Starting from Windows 11, the account lockout threshold is 10 failed sign-in attempts and the default lockout duration is 10 minutes.
You can either unlock a locked-out account using another Admin account on your PC or you can unlock by entering the safe mode and then creating a new user on your PC using the built-in Admin.
1. Unlock Using an Admin Account
The most straightforward way is to use an admin account. You can either use the Local User and Groups tool or you can use the Windows Terminal. For your ease of convenience, we will be showcasing both options.
To use the Local User and Groups tool, first, press the Windows+R keys together to bring up the Run Command Utility. Then, type lusrmgr.msc and hit Enter to proceed. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Now, click on the ‘Users’ folder on the left section of the window to proceed.
Then, from the right section, double-click on the user account that you wish to unlock. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Next, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Account is locked out’ to uncheck it. Then, click on the ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’ buttons to confirm.
The locked account should now be unlocked.
To unlock using Windows Terminal, first, head to the Start Menu and type Terminal to perform a search. Then, from the search results, right-click on the ‘Terminal’ tile and click on the ‘Run as administrator’ option.
Now, a UAC (User Account Control) screen will appear on your screen. Click on the ‘Yes’ button to proceed.
Alternatively, instead of using an admin account, you can also Command Prompt from your sign-in screen. Power on your PC and at the first sign of boot, hold the power button for 10 seconds to force shut down the computer. If you have a desktop computer, you can also pull the plug on it.
Repeat the process three times and let the computer turn on normally the fourth time. Windows will boot your computer in Advanced Startup Recovery mode. After your computer reboots, select ‘Troubleshoot’ from the WinRE.
Further click on ‘Advanced Options’.
Then, select ‘Command Prompt’ to proceed.
Whichever method you used to access the Terminal/ Command Prompt, type or copy+paste the below-mentioned command and hit Enter to execute.
net user <username> /active:yes
Note: Change the ‘<username>’ placeholder with the actual username of the account.
2. Use the Password Reset Option
You can also reset your password by answering the security options set by you at the time of installing the operating system.
On the Sign in screen, click on the ‘Reset password’ option to proceed. This will open a separate window on your screen.
Next, answer all the security questions. Once done, you should be able to reset your password.
After resetting the passwords, sign in using your new password.
If you use a PIN to sign in to your PC, you can simply unlock the computer by entering your Microsoft Account password.
On the account sign-in screen, click on the ‘I forgot my PIN’ option. This will bring an overlay screen to your window.
Then, enter your Microsoft Account password to proceed.
Now, on the next screen, enter a new PIN and click on the ‘OK’ button. Once reset, you should be able to log in using the new PIN.
3. Use Safe Boot
If you have a reason to believe that a bug is causing the lock-up issue or you are facing the issue after recently installing a third-party software/service, starting up your PC in a safe boot can resolve the issue.
First, power on your PC and at the first sign of boot, hold the power button for 10 seconds to force shut down the computer. If you have a desktop computer, you can also pull the plug on it.
Repeat the process three times and let the computer turn on normally the fourth time. Windows will boot your computer in Advanced Startup Recovery mode.
On the Advanced Startup Screen, click on the ‘Troubleshoot’ tile to proceed.
After that, click on the ‘Advanced options’ tile.
Then, click on the ‘Startup settings’ tile.
On the next screen, click on the ‘Reset’ button to continue. This will restart your PC immediately.
After the restart, you can see a list of actions on your screen. Press the 4 key on your keyboard to boot into Safe Mode. If you wish to access the Internet in Safe Mode, press 5 on your keyboard.
Note: The numbers may vary on your system. Make sure you press the keys that precede the desired option in the list.
Once the computer starts in Safe Mode, try logging in to check if the problem has been resolved.
There you go, folks. The above-listed methods will help you unlock a locked account on Windows. Moreover, to further prevent an issue like this, you can also change the Account Lockout Policy.