Restoring a Sony VAIO Laptop with a Forgotten Password, Windows 10

For this fix I was presented with a laptop that had not been used for several months due to the owner not remembering the password to log in. This meant the laptop was no longer useful, so had just been left abandoned for a prolonged period of time.

My motto in working in the IT industry is ‘No Computer Left Behind’, and when the opportunity to try and get the laptop working was offered to me, I couldn’t wait to give it a go.

How I Would Normally Fix a Forgotten Password Issue

My first attempt didn’t go as well as expected. I have some software that allows me to reset a password for local accounts on Windows Operating Systems, however, the conditions have to be just right for it to all work. I ran the software, expecting this to be an easy way to remove the password until I hit a stumbling block!

The software detected that the laptop was actually in hibernation mode, as opposed to being shut down, and it had been in this state since the laptop had last been used, some months before. This long hibernation mode had become corrupt, causing the password removal software to not work.

The Long Way Round

With the software not working, and the documents on the laptop desperately needed, I had to find another solution. I could only see one cause of action – recover the hard drive data, reset the laptop, and put the data back on.

And so, that’s exactly what I did.

  1. Removed the hard drive from the laptop
  2. Used a caddy to connect the hard drive to another laptop
  3. Copy the contents onto the laptop. 118GB of data was recovered, taking 5 hours to complete.
  4. Put the hard drive back in the Sony Vaio laptop.
  5. Create a Windows 10 Boot Disk, and reinstall Windows 10.
  6. Set up the laptop as a new device, fully optimised and set up to run as fast as possible. Chrome, Avast, Office 365 and Adobe Reader DC were as usual installed, as well as my usual optimisation techniques.
  7. Copy the data back onto the laptop. This was a long slog, in total taking 7 hours, even on a USB 3.0 connection.

Ultimately though I managed to get the laptop working. I had to go the long route to fix it, taking well over 16 hours to ultimately fix, but I’m glad to report it is now all sorted.


Software Developer, Website Creator and Digital IT specialist over at The Legend of Skippy. I make stuff, that's essentially my job. And when I'm not making stuff, I'm fixing all manner of other stuff. It's a fun life to lead, and I'm here to share it all with you.