10 ways to change password in Remote Desktop session

How to change your password in Remote Desktop? As a regular user of RDP sessions, you may have been confronted with the case of changing your password. But here’s the problem: Control-Alt-Delete (CTRL-ALT-DEL) doesn’t allow you to change the password in the remote session> Instead, it gives you the lock menu on your local computer.

Because of this, I’ve written down 10 ways to reset your password in Remote Desktop without using Ctrl alt delete.

Change password in Remote Desktop

There are many ways to change your password on a Windows client. When you’re working on your local computer, you may just hit CTRL-ALT-DEL. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work if you attempt to change a password in Remote Desktop. Hitting CTRL-ALT-DELETE will trigger your local computer to pop up the options Lock – Switch user – Sign out – Change a password – Task Manager.

CTRL-ALT-END

Sometimes (but not always), CTRL-ALT-END helps you “ctrl-alt-delete” the session to change your password in remote desktop sessions. 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 in Remote Desktop 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 change your password in Remote Desktop 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}

Note: this only works on Windows 10 and earlier. It’s not supported on Windows 11.

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 in Remote Desktop.

************************************
Set objShell = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)
objShell.WindowsSecurity
***********************************

ALTGR-END

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 particular 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 start menu (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)

Quick wrap-up

There are different ways to change a password in Remote Desktop. I find the Onscreen Keyboard method the easiest because it’s universal and works in all Windows versions, including Windows 10, Windows Server 2022, and Windows 11. It also enables you to change a password, when you’re in a Remote Desktop session via a Remote Desktop session.

Nonetheless, here’s a small enumeration most used techniques:

remote desktop manager final image

Change password on Remote Desktop

  1. CTRL-ALT-END

    change password rdp session

    Press CTRL-ALT-END to trigger the Lock menu where you change your password

  2. On Screen Keyboard

    on screen keyboard

    Click Start, type osk, and press Enter in the RDP session. This will open the Onscreen Keyboard where you can simulate the CTRL-ALT-DELETE keystroke

  3. Run the Windows Security Options shell

    Open a command prompt (cmd) and enter C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f2-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}. This launches the shell to get the Windows Security Options. Only works on Windows 10 and earlier.

  4. Run a VBS script

    Create a VBS file with the following content:
    Set objShell = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)
    objShell.WindowsSecurity
    Opening the file then launches the shell to get the Windows Security Options. Only works on Windows 10 and earlier.

  5. ALTGR-END

    Press ALTGR+END. Some keyboards, with i.e. German layout, have an ALTGR key. This simulates CTRL-ALT.

Tools:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 11
  • Remote Desktop session

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Jean-Paul Pennings

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

DonnaDD

Why are they so many typos?
> Localize the account (tip: at top level, right-click and choose Find… )

How do you “localize” an account????

Shiv

How is that a typo? Isn’t that US Englishing spelling?

R.J.

+100 to carma

Peter

Thanks for this blog. The OSK option did the trick for me.

Carlos

Thank you so much

Tony

Thank you, it really helpful

Guest

Thankyou, first option worked straight away! 🙂

Guest

Thanks a lot. CTRL-ALT-END option worked straight away for me.

Nick Carr

This is good advice but I was in an RDP within another RDP as we do support from home. This worked for me:

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/user-tile/8faf8cb6-5a8c-43cf-abf6-00de00a80fe5

Tomas

this VBS does not work on my win8:
Set objShell = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)
objShell.WindowsSecurity
 
error message-invalid character.

MikeS

Don’t copy quotation marks from a website, type them manually.

Raj Harkare

Nice Post, thanks for sharing
 

Candice

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Jaffer

Thanks!!! Ctrl-Del-End worked for me..

veer

thanks you

Richard Harmon

CTR-ALT-END, such an easy solution to changing a password on a workstation that I had to RDP to. Those dummies at MS can not document such a short and easy solution. Thank you people at at itexperience. I’m holding onto your web page for the remaining year I have at working and will share it with coworkers and customers.

Uma

Thank you all for suggesting CTRL-ALT-END solution. I never heard or read this anywhere else. It worked. Thank you thank you and Thank you.

John Coleman

OSK did the trick, thank you

Claudiu C

I tried OSK but pressing with the mouse Ctrl, Alt and Del. Not OK. Only when you press physically Ctrl&Alt and use OSK for Del is OK.

corbo

Ctrl + Alt + end works . Many Thanks !

p k

thank you so much for this trick

Anthony

Thank you

Nylo

Thank you so much.

Sunny

This worked for me,

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/user-tile/8faf8cb6-5a8c-43cf-abf6-00de00a80fe5

If you are getting this error, you are probably trying to reset the password and this should help:

This procedure is the only one which worked for me on a Windows 2012 R2 RDP session:
Click Start.
Type osk (to bring up the on screen keyboard)
Hit enter.
Once the on screen keyboard is open, hold ctrl+Alt on your physical keyboard, then click on the del key in the on screen keyboard.
Minimize the on screen Keyboard.

Marcus

Wow! That was the only option that worked for me!
My “beloved” IT disabled everything else! Such paranoia for a so lame security we have… I’m in a very distant remote work, it’s impossible to do it personally.

Twana

Thanks

Lakshminarayana

thank u so much, it really helpful for me

Chris

Thank you for posting all these alternatives !

elvisb

Fantastic! osk keyboard worked for me. Thanks!

Ginny

Thanks for posting this! It really helped a lot.

Emma

Thanks! I’m now able to change the password without waiting for it to expire. Also, another thing, how often does it ask for a password reset? Is there any way find out?

Brian

Thanks, The powershell AD password should be one that always works..

Mel

Perfect! Ctrl-Alt-End worked for me

bbb

i don’t have End

bbb

help i have no del key i have shift and alt and ctrl

larry

I’m running a VD inside a VD… the shell command totally worked. 😀

Bob

Worked for me, after my IT department had no idea what to do

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