If You Use a PIN Make Sure You Know Your Password [Windows 10]

By | July 15, 2018
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If You Use a PIN Make Sure You Know Your Password [Windows 10]

Last night around midnight Microsoft installed an update (not a version update, just your ordinary Windows update). Well, just to show you we feel your pain, the update bricked my Windows 10 laptop.

I spent hours running different commands like SFC /SCANNOW , Diskpart… / DISM …, and so on. I finally tried using Windows 10 Reset then got a message that it failed, and good old Windows gleefully returned my PC to its bricked state (bricked means unbootable, unresponsive, useless… you get the picture.

This is main work computer – an ASUS. I have good backups (Ashampoo) and I was going to use my image backup to restore my computer, when I realize that my BIOS’ USB boot option was missing. You can’t run an image from inside Windows. This laptop has no CD/DVD drive and I had no way to use the rescue media to access the image backup.

What a mess. I was able to use ASUS recovery to access Windows 10 Reset (and kept my files). It eventually completed successfully. I was able to move my configuration files from many of my programs (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) from my Ashampoo backup so when I reinstalled the programs I needed, they were setup as I liked them (bookmarks, extensions, server lists, preferences, etc.) which saved me a  lot of time and trouble.

All the above is the preface for this tip. If you use a PIN to log in to Windows, you better know your password.. After finally resetting my laptop, I have to use my password to sign in. It’s been months and months – maybe years – since I had to have my Windows password – because I’ve always used a 4-digit PIN.

Luckily, I used a Microsoft account to log into Windows, and Cortana helped me re-set my Microsoft account password so I could log in to Windows.  I like using a PIN much better than a password, so I set up a new PIN and this time I saved my password (not on my computer -but on a piece of paper which I keep in a locked drawer)… so if I ever have to reset my computer(s) again, I will not have to waste time resetting my password. If you don’t use a Microsoft account to log in to Windows you’ll have even a harder time accessing your computer.

Some lessons here:

  1. There are a big advantages to using a Microsoft Account to log in to Windows. If you forget your password, it will be much will be much easier to reset your password. And you’ll be able to use all of the features of Windows 10.
  2. If you use a PIN to log in to Windows, make sure you don’t forget your password.

If you’re not sure what a Microsoft account is, this is for you:

What is a Microsoft Account?

If you have an email address provided that you can sign in to at www.outlook.com, then you have a Microsoft account.  In other words, if you have an email address ending in:


… you have a Microsoft account.

Your Microsoft account can be used to access any or all Microsoft services. And in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 you can also use your Microsoft account to log in to your Windows PC.

You can have more than one Microsoft account. You can have as many as you like, but after two or three it gets confusing (at least for us).

If you want to use a Microsoft account to log into Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, you might want to keep it separate from your regular @hotmail, @live.com, @msn.com, @outlook.com etc. address that you use for everyday emailing. But you certainly don’t have to.

Just remember, when you create a new account by going to https://www.outlook.com, you’re creating a new email address and a new Microsoft account.

We hope this helps you and we hope you enjoyed this little true story.




2 thoughts on “If You Use a PIN Make Sure You Know Your Password [Windows 10]

  1. Susan Kazimerczak

    Sorry to hear about your troubles.
    You must have been bald by the end of fixing your laptop

  2. Sylvia Deitz

    I’m so sorry you had to go through all that! Wow! My biggest nightmare! One question, I also have an Asus laptop, but seemed to get the update just fine. How did you finally get your computer to boot? If the little button on the side won’t start it, what will? If anyone can get things going it’s you guys! So far I’ve managed to do all my own fixing, but I’m sure at some point I will need you. I’ve put into practice all the tips you’ve sent us over the years. I’ve been with you for over 10 years, back when I was so into Incredimail. Loved your stationery & got quite good at it myself.


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