Windows 11 makes changing a password a straightforward process that only requires a few button clicks, the existing password, and the password you’d like to use moving forward. But there is one caveat: Logging in via Windows Hello, the passwordless authentication mechanism that allows you to use facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, a physical security key, or a PIN instead of a password, will make it so you can’t go back to using a password to sign in.
Microsoft previously allowed Windows users to switch between using Windows Hello and password-based authentication to access their PCs. That appears to have changed with Windows 11, however, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Microsoft has been trying to kill passwords for years, and it recently advised millions of people to delete their Microsoft account’s password in favor of one of the authentication options available via Windows Hello.
Local accounts that haven’t been set up to use Windows Hello can still rely on passwords to sign in, though. Here’s how to change your password in Windows 11.
How to change your password in Windows 11
1. Open the Settings app’s Accounts page. The quickest way to access this page is to launch the Start menu, search for “Password” and then select “Change your password.” This will automatically launch the Settings app to the appropriate Accounts page.
2. Click ‘Password.’ Note that this option will only be available if you haven’t enabled any of the Windows Hello authentication tools; otherwise the Password section isn’t shown.
3. Click ‘Change.’ A drop-down menu should appear telling you that “You’re all set up” and offering a button called “Change” that leads to the password setup screens shown below.
4. Enter your current password.
5. Enter your new password and hint. It’s worth noting that unlike other operating systems, Windows 11 doesn’t allow you to leave the “Hint” field blank, so you have to enter something. Choosing meaningless punctuation or a deliberately misleading hint can help make sure nobody else can guess your password based on this information.
6. Click ‘Finish.’
You’ll now be able to log in to Windows 11 using your new password. Note that this is for local accounts only and, if you are using a Microsoft account, this won’t work and it won’t change that password for other computers or Microsoft services.