Locked Out of Windows

Dennis Foote – Systems Engineer

Just recently, I had a client locked out of Microsoft Windows and they knew they had the right password and username. The user stated that they could log into Windows just a short time before and that they did not receive an error message or any message asking to change their password. So, like always, my first question was: What were you doing before you logged off last?

The user stated that they were on the phone with someone looking at their calendar to set up some appointments. Now this might seem harmless, right? Well, I know that when signing onto a domain in a workplace environment, if you were to accidently changing the date or time it can cause an issue with time and date syncing. If the time and date are too far off, which in most cases is more than 10 minutes, then once you log out of Windows and try to sign back in, you will not be able to. 

So on to the FIX.  If you can find the network cable on the back of your computer, you will need to remove it temporarilly. Now restart your machine and try to sign on as normal. If this does not work you may have to switch to your local computer account name, which you will find in a drop down list in Windows XP or you will have to click switch user and put the computer name before something like Administrator in Windows 7, for example for Windows 7(MyComputerName\Administrator), then type the Administrator password. 

Once your back onto the machine, using either method, you can then go ahead and change back the time and or date to the current date and time. This should complete the fix.

Don’t forget to plug the network cable back into the back of the computer. Next time you sign into your computer make sure you are signing into the domain which will again be in the drop down list in Windows XP or will look something like (DomainName\YourUserName). Now you may have to ask your Domain admin to unlock your account as well because in most cases, you have tried your password more than the allotted amount of times before you used this fix. Most companies have policies that will lock you out after so many wrong attempts.