While many modern Windows 10 devices are now able to unlock with your fingerprint or face, older hardware still relies on a good old-fashioned password. However, it's likely you'll have stuck with the same password for many months or even years. That makes it easy to remember, but it's recommended that you change your password regularly in order to keep your device secure.

To make sure you don't forget, there is a way to set a temporary password in Windows 10, which expires after a set amount of time. Here's how it's done.

Why would I want a temporary password?

There are various situations where it may be appropriate. If you're usually the only person that uses your PC, you might rely on biometrics (fingerprint, face unlock) or go without a password altogether. However, in handing it over to tech support or a friend/family member, you can't be sure where that crucial information will end up. 

It's also a very effective way of ensuring you keep your device secure. It's recommended that you change as often as every 30 days to prevent hackers and other untrustworthy people from potentially gaining access. While that sort of frequency isn't necessary unless you think your device has been compromised, having a password that expires can help make sure you update it regularly. 

How to set a temporary password on Windows 10

The ability to set a temporary Windows 10 password only applies if you have a local account. If you're currently logging in with your Microsoft account password, check out how to set up Windows 10 without a Microsoft account.

  1. Type 'Command Prompt' in the search bar next to the Start Menu
  2. Choose 'Run as administrator' by right-clicking the option or selecting the option to the right of the results
    Windows 10 Command Prompt launch
  3. From the pop-up, click 'Yes' to allow it to make changes to your device
  4. In the window that, copy and paste the following:
    wmic UserAccount set PasswordExpires=True
    Windows 10 Command Prompt 1
  5. Various lines of information should appear. Now, copy and paste the following and hit enter:
    net accounts /maxpwage:72
    Windows 10 Command Prompt 2
  6. You should see a message saying 'The command completed successfully'
  7. To review the changes you've made, simply type 'net accounts' into the same window and hit enter
    Windows 10 Command Prompt 3

At the end of the 72-day period, you'll get a prompt saying you need to change your password. To set a temporary password for a specific user, enter the following information in Step 4:
'wmic UserAccount where Name='USERNAME' set PasswordExpires=True'
Make sure you replace 'USERNAME' with the account name you'd like to set the password expiry for. 

To select a specific number of days for your temporary password, you'll need to be running Windows 10 Pro, Education or Enterprise. To do so:

  1. Hit Windows Key + R to open the run command, then type 'gpedit.msc' and click OK
  2. Head to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies > Password Policy and double-click 'Maximum password age'
  3. Type a specific number of days in the box under 'Password will expire in:' and click OK

From this menu, you can also prevent older passwords being reused, set certain complexity requirements and specify a minimum length. 

We have various other password-related tutorials for Windows 10. Here's how to access a laptop without it, change another user's password or remove it altogether