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To maintain your cybersecurity, it’s a good idea to change your computer’s password every once in a while. Windows 10 makes this easier because you can set a password expiration date.

The steps to do this vary, depending on whether you use a local or Microsoft account to log in to your Windows PC, so we’ll look at the process for both.

Set a Password Expiration Date for Your Microsoft Account

On Windows 10, you might have noticed that Microsoft wants you to use a linked Microsoft account to sign in instead of a local account.

You can set a password expiration date for your Microsoft account online. You will then be prompted to reset your password every 72 days. You have to set a new password before you can enable (or disable) this setting.

To do that, head to the Microsoft account security area and sign in. In the “Change Password” section at the top, click “Change.”

Click "Change" in the "Change Password" section.

You’re prompted to provide your existing password, as well as a new one (you can’t reuse your existing one, so type a new, secure password instead).

RELATED: How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It)

Because you want to set a password expiration date, click the box next to “Make Me Change My Password Every 72 Days” to enable this feature.

Click “Save” to apply your new password and expiration date.

Type your current password, type a new password, click the checkbox next to "Make Me Change My Password Every 72 Days," and then click "Save."

If the change was successful, you’re redirected back to the Microsoft account security page. Sign in and out of Windows to use your new password.

The password for your Microsoft account will expire after 72 days, and you’ll be prompted to change it after your next sign in.

Set a Password Expiration Date for Your Local Account

If you use a local account on your PC rather than a Microsoft one, you can still set an expiration date for your password.

Enable Password Expiration

First, you have to disable a setting that prevents your password from ever expiring.

To do this, press Windows+R keys to open the “Run” launch box. Type netplwiz , and then click “OK” to open your user account settings.

Type "netplwiz," and then click "OK."

In the “Advanced” tab, click “Advanced” to open the “Advanced User Management” tool.

Click "Advanced," and then click "Advanced."

Here, click “Users” in the menu on the left, and then right-click your user account. Click “Properties” to enter the advanced user settings for your local user account.

Click "Users, and then click "Properties."

In the “Properties” menu, uncheck the “Password Never Expires” option, and then click “OK.”

Uncheck the "Password Never Expires" option, and then click "OK."

Set the Maximum Password Age via Local Group Policy Editor

You now need to set the maximum password age for your password. Unlike a Microsoft account, you can set the password for your local account to expire at any time you want.

The default on Windows 10 is 42 days. If you want to leave it this length, you can continue using your PC as normal. When it’s time to reset your password, you’ll be prompted to change it.

If your machine runs Windows 10 Pro, Education, or Enterprise, press Windows+R to open the “Run” launch box. Here, type gpedit.msc, and then click “OK” to open the Local Group Policy Editor.

(If your computer runs Windows 10 Home, follow the instructions in the next section instead.)

Type "gpedit.msc," and then click "OK."

In the menu on the left, navigate to Computer Configuration>Windows Settings>Security Settings>Account Policies>Password Policy, and double-click “Maximum Password Age.”

Double-click "Maximum Password Age."

Change the value from “42” to your preferred length of days, and then click “OK” to save the setting.

Set the maximum password age, and then click "OK."

The expiration date for local accounts on your PC is now set to your preferred length. After this period has elapsed, Windows will prompt you to reset your password.

Set the Maximum Password Age via Windows PowerShell

If your computer runs Windows 10 Home, you have to use the PowerShell or command prompt to set the maximum password age. You can also use this as an alternative to the Local Group Policy Editor process on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education.

To get started, right-click the Start menu, and then click “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” or “Command Prompt (Admin),” depending on your version of Windows.

Click "Windows PowerShell (Admin)."

In the PowerShell window, type net accounts to find the existing maximum password age for your accounts.

If you want to change the figure from the default 42 days, type net accounts /maxpwage:00 and replace “00” with the length of time (in days) you want to use.

A password expiration age changed in Windows PowerShell.

The maximum password age you chose is applied to all local accounts on your PC.

Ben Stockton Ben Stockton
Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Cloudwards.net. He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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