10 ways to change password in Remote Desktop session

As a regular user of Remote Desktop sessions, you may have been confronted with the case to change your password. Control-Alt-Delete (CTRL-ALT-DEL) doesn’t allow you to change the password in the remote session, but instead gives you a menu on your actual host

Change password in Remote Desktop

There are many ways to change your password. Of course, when you’re working on your physical computer, you may just hit CTRL-ALT-DEL, but this won’t work in an RDP session



Sometimes (but not always), CTRL-ALT-END helps you “ctrl-alt-delete” the session to change your password in the remote session. CTRL-ALT-END is the equivalent to CTRL-ALT-DELETE in RDP. However it depends on the OS-version session settings whether this works or not.

change password rdp session


On screen keyboard

The On Screen Keyboard (OSK) is a virtual keyboard on your screen. This works in Windows Server 2012 / Windows 7 and higher. To reset your password with the OSK, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type osk and hit enter to open the on screen keyboard.
    If this doesn’t work, press Windows+R to open your Run Command window. Type osk and click OK
  3. Press and Hold CTRL-ALT keys on your physical keyboard and then click on the DEL key in the virtual keyboard (on screen)
  4. Minimize the OSK
  5. Click Change a password.
    on screen keyboard

Run the shell

You can directly launch the shell to get the Windows Security Options displayed. To do so, open the Run-box or open a command prompt and copy-paste:

C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f2-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}


Run a VBS-script

This one is nice too. Copy paste the lines below to a Notepad and save the file as securityoptions.vbs . Then open/run/execute the VBS. It will launch the Windows Security Options screen to change the password

Set objShell = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)


In case you have a keyboard with the ALTGR-key, you may also use ALTGR+END to simulate CTRL-ALT-DELETE. I believe German keyboards in particuar have this key.


Reset your password in an RDP session

In contrast to changing a password, resetting a password does not require you to remember the current password. Instead you just overwrite the existing password (if any) and set a new password.

Active Directory Users and Computers

When logged on to a computer that has active directory tools installed, you may use Active Directory Users and Computers to reset the password . You need user account privileges to do so, however.

  1. Open Active Directory Users and Computers from your startmenu (or quicker: Start -> Run -> dsa.msc)
  2. Localize the account (tip: at top level, right-click and choose Find… )
  3. Right-click the account, and choose Reset Password…


Net user

Assuming it’s a local user (so NOT a domain user account), you can use net user to change a users’ password. To do so:

  1. Click Start -> Run (or press Win+R)
  2. Type something like “net user $username $password”. I.e. if the user account is named Peter, you could reset its password by typing: net user Peter P@55w0rd.


Powershell: Set-ADAccountPassword

In case of a domain user account, you may use the Set-ADAccountPassword cmdlet in Powershell. Note that the Active Directory module must be loaded.

Set-ADAccountPassword -Identity Peter -NewPassword (Read-Host -Prompt “Provide New Password” -AsSecureString) -Reset


Powershell: Set-LocalUser

In case of a local user, you may use the Set-LocalUser cmdlet in Powershell to reset a local users’ password

Get-LocalUser ‘Peter’ | Set-LocalUser -Password (Read-Host -Prompt “Provide New Password” -AsSecureString)

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Jean-Paul Pennings
Jean-Paul Pennings

explorer shell:::{2559a1f2-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}