Options for a lost administrator password include recovering the password online, using a recovery disk or using a password-cracking software application. Windows Vista, 7 and 8 do not have administrator accounts. For users of these operating systems, the original account created with the OS installation has default administrative privileges.

Windows 8 users can recover their passwords online through Microsoft's Windows Live website. After typing in the Microsoft account ID, the user receives a new password via email.. Alternatively, the user can make a password recovery disk by going into the Control Panel and following links to User Accounts and Family Safety. The program guides users through the steps necessary to make an emergency recovery disk. Users should store these disks securely because they allow anyone to reset the administrative passwords on the computers. Also, the disk needs to be made before password recovery is necessary.

Password-cracking programs are available for the most extreme circumstances. Users can run programs such as Ophcrack from a boot CD to try and discover the lost password. Other boot CDs wipe out the administrator password entirely. However, both of these methods require physical access to the computer, as users must insert the CDs into their optical drives.