Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

A password not working could mean so many things. We look at passwords for the computer, for administrator access, and even for email accounts.

My laptop - it keeps asking me for the password. I put it in and click it and it comes back, wanting the password all the time. It's an HP running Vista. When it does this, it was not on the Ethernet. I hope you can help.

In this excerpt from Answercast #36, I look at a variety of passwords that may have been lost and the most common problem in this area: typing it in wrong!

Which password?

So you haven't said which password it's asking for.

  • If it's your Windows password, you're typing in the wrong password.

Windows does not believe that you are typing in the correct password and it is simply asking you for the correct password. It's giving you another opportunity.

  • If this is some website that you are connected to or some online service:

You are not connected to the "Ethernet" (you are not connected to the internet); there is no way for the website or the application or the "whatever" to validate your password because it can't connect to its service or server.

Typing wrong

By far, the single most common cause for repeatedly being asked for your password is that you're typing in the wrong password.

  • Check the Caps Lock key, of course.

  • Make sure that you are, in fact, typing exactly the correct password.

If you believe that you are typing in the right password and the system keeps asking you for a password, you are wrong: you are not typing in the right password!

May have been hacked

Now, you may have been hacked.

In other words, if this happens with an online situation, you're trying to type in your email password to gain access to your email account and it keeps telling that your password is wrong.

  • Even though you know that it's right, you're still wrong.

Somebody has more than likely hacked your account and changed your password. So, what you believe is the right password is no longer the right password. That happens a lot.

  • It is not a failure of the system.

  • Somebody changed your password.

  • The password that you are typing in is not the correct, current password.

There are lots of different approaches to that, if your email account has been hacked.

Resetting Windows password

In your particular situation, because you're running offline and because I don't really know which password it is you're referring to, I'll assume it's the Windows password and that you are not typing in the correct password.

There are approaches to resetting your password.

I'll point you at one article called, "I've lost my administrator password. How do I get it back?"

That article actually will show you how to:

  • Boot from a different disc, a different CD.

  • That will allow you to reset the administrator password on your machine.

  • Having done so, you can then login as administrator.

  • And set the password for your login account to whatever you think it should be.

At that point, typing in the correct password should then work.

Article C5600 - July 18, 2012 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 20, 2012 9:30 AM

How long have you had that keyboard? Spilled anything on it lately?

In addition to caps lock, some-times aging keyboards will get 'dead' keys, or keys that need to be pounded to register. Two possible tools to help:

  1. Type the password in the login/name field - It will show in clear-text, if letters/characters are missing, it indicates which characters were not received by the computer.
  2. If available, try plugging in a different keyboard..
July 20, 2012 11:28 AM

my password not working refers to my tbird email account! how do i reset my tbird email password?????

Thunderbird does not have passwords of its own, it's simply using the passwords to the email accounts you've configured. How to change that password depends on the email account and the email service provider it's using. For example you'd change a Hotmail password on the Hotmail site, a GMail password at GMail, your ISP's email account probably at the ISP's web site, and so on.

July 20, 2012 12:25 PM

Sometimes Windows will reject the password because you are trying to log on to the wrong system. For example, if you normally log onto the server, but now by accident in the login box or page you are trying to log into "this computer", the workstation itself, not the server, the login won't work. Check to make sure what you are logging into, or even if you are accidentally trying to log into someone else's account.

July 24, 2012 9:48 AM

Check the Numlock key that converts part of the keyboard into a numerical keypad. This has fooled many a client of mine. :)

Fred Wortham
July 27, 2012 1:30 PM

Could this person be referring to Vista's UAC prompt? I know for the short time I used (tried out) Vista, it got maddening - it seemed like I couldn't move my mouse without a UAC prompt popping up! (Windows 7 has a MUCH better paradigm here).

carmella shine
April 10, 2013 7:14 PM

i have been trying for 3 days to go on says my password is try to change to a new password..and it still say the same...incorrect

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.