Stuck at Windows login password screen

22 Apr 2021

This article provides solutions to common issues when you are stuck on the Windows login screen.

Keyboard Does Not Appear or Respond

If you are at the login password screen for Microsoft Windows, and the on-screen keyboard does not appear after tapping in the password text box, 

  1. Tap the Accessibility icon in the bottom-right corner.
  2. Select "On-Screen Keyboard" to enter the password or pin.

If the on-screen keyboard will still not come up, Windows may be busy installing an update from Microsoft. For more information see our Windows Updates May Delay Booting or Field Work article.

Keyboard not responding

If the on-screen keyboard is not responding at the Windows login screen, see the Windows Login Keyboard Unresponsive article.

Forgot Your Password

If you have forgotten the password to your Microsoft account, and the handheld had an active internet connection before you last logged out or shut off (or there is a wireless icon in the bottom-right for setting up a connection), log in to a Microsoft website on another computer and use the forgot password link to change the password. 

If you have Build 1803 or higher of Windows 10 installed, then you can recover a local account password by answering your security questions. For more information see Reset your Windows 10 local account password.

Boot into "Safe Mode" or Wipe Current Account

To boot into "Safe Mode" or wipe the current account from the handheld (which includes all associated installed apps and other content), follow these steps.

  1. From the Windows login screen, tap on the Accessibility icon to select On-Screen Keyboard. Or attach a USB keyboard.
  2. Tap on the Shift button to turn it blue. Or hold shift on the USB keyboard.
  3. While Shift is highlighted or being held, tap on the bottom-right on-screen Power button to select Restart.
    • This takes you to a Recovery menu with several options including "Troubleshoot" then "Reset this PC."
    • If you are not able to access the Recovery menu, it is possible (though not recommended) to hold the hardware power button for 10 seconds three times in a row to get to the Recovery menu.
  4. Select your desired option.

Reload OS Image from Recovery Key

If wanting to wipe and entirely reload the operating system image on the unit, please follow the instructions to create a recovery key.

Send to Our Repair Center

With proper proof of device and data ownership, our repair center can recover a unit that is stuck at the login password screen. A one-hour labor charge may apply, depending on circumstances. To submit a unit, follow the instructions and fill out the form at our Repair Policies (Instructions) web page.

More Information

For more information see the You can't sign in to your Microsoft account article.

If you have deleted all the user accounts, you may want to consider using a local offline user account with no password. Instructions for setting this up can be found in our Getting Started with Windows 11 on Mesa Pro or Mesa 3 Window - Getting Started article.

Original article written October 20, 2016