The "Sign-in option is disabled" error in Windows can be frustrating, as it prevents you from accessing your account. This error typically arises when a particular sign-in method, such as a password, PIN, or biometric authentication – becomes unavailable, or your Windows restarts multiple times automatically. Below, we explore the different troubleshooting methods that can help you resolve this error for good.
Good to know: getting the error "This app has been blocked by your system administrator" on your Windows PC? We offer a list of solutions.
1. Wait It Out
Sometimes waiting a bit can actually resolve the "Sign-in option disabled" error. This is particularly true if the problem stems from a temporary glitch in the system, or if you've entered an incorrect PIN multiple times, resulting in a brief lock on the login process.
If you are facing this situation, it's worth waiting for a couple of hours before attempting to log in again. Alternatively, restart your computer, and allow a few minutes to pass before making another login attempt.
However, if the problem persists over an extended period or occurs repeatedly, it's important to proceed with the specific troubleshooting methods outlined below. Keep in mind that relying solely on waiting may not resolve the underlying problem if it's caused by policy restrictions or configuration changes.
2. Use the Forgot Password Option
If you've set a login password on your computer, use the “Forgot password” option to reset your password and regain access to your account.
- On the Windows sign-in screen, click on the "I forgot my password" option, usually located below the password field.
- Windows will guide you through the password recovery process. You will be asked to verify your identity by signing in to your Microsoft account. If your Microsoft account was not linked to your user account, you may need to answer some security questions to proceed.
- Confirm that you want to reset the password.
- Enter the new password, and confirm it.
- Click "OK" to save the changes, and check whether the issue has been resolved.
Tip: want to know how much time you've spent on your computer on a daily basis? Learn how to check screen time on Windows.
3. Troubleshoot in Safe Mode
If you are unable to reset your password, you can boot into Safe Mode to access the system, then troubleshoot.
This mode is a diagnostic state that boots Windows with minimal drivers and applications, making it easier to isolate the cause of the problem and resolve the issue. In the case of this specific error, we are creating a new user account using Safe Mode, then troubleshooting the issue using the new account.
- Locate the Power icon on the sign-in screen, and choose "Restart" while holding the Shift key to launch the Windows Recovery Environment.
- Navigate to "Troubleshoot -> Advanced options."
- Choose "Startup Repair."
- Click on the "Restart" button, then press the F5 key to launch Windows in Safe Mode.
- Once you are inside Safe Mode, it’s time to create a new user account. Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
- Choose "Accounts" from the left pane, and click on "Family & other users."
- Click on the "Add account" button under the "Other users" section.
- Click on "I don’t have this person’s sign-in information."
- Proceed with the on-screen instructions to add a new user.
- Once the new user account has been added, click on the down arrow icon to bring up a list of options, then click on the "Change account type" button.
- Expand the drop-down for "Account type," and choose "Administrator."
- If you have trouble adding an account this way, try using Command Prompt instead.
- Inside Command Prompt, execute the command below, but replace [username] with the name you want to set up for your account.
net user /add [username]
- Execute this command, and replace [username] with the name you want to set for your targeted account.
net localgroup administrators [username] /add
- Reboot your computer, and when you reach the sign-in screen, log in to the account you just created.
Tip: did you know that you can use Command Prompt to find and open files? We show you how.
4. Unlock Account
Now that you have created a new user account, you can access the Local User and Groups tool, and unlock the targeted account in case it was accidentally locked.
- Open Run by pressing Win + R.
lusrmgr.mscin Run, and click Enter.
- In the following window, double-click on "Users" under "Local Users and Groups."
- Find and right-click on the problematic account, and choose "Properties" from the context menu.
- Uncheck the "Account is locked out" option, and click "OK."
- Restart your computer, and check whether you can log in to the targeted account.
5. Tweak the Account Lock Policy
Alternatively, you can also change the account lock threshold in the Group Policy Editor in an attempt to resolve your sign-in issue.
Tip: you may need to enable Group Policy first, if you're a Windows Home user.
- Open a Run dialog by pressing Win + R.
gpedit.mscin Run, and click Enter.
- Click "Yes" in the User Account Control prompt.
- Once you are inside the Group Policy Editor, navigate to this location: "Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Account Policies -> Account Lockout Policy."
- Double-click on "Account lockout threshold."
- Set its value to "0" to ensure that you are never locked out of your computer again.
- Click "Apply -> OK" to save the changes.
6. Tweak the Registry
Another solution is to change the AccountLockout value in the Registry Editor to prevent being locked out of your account.
- Open Run and type
regeditin the text field.
- Click Enter and choose "Yes" in the User Account Control prompt to proceed.
- Navigate to the following location:
- Double-click on "MaxDenials," and set its Value data to "0."
- Click "OK" to save the changes, then restart your computer.
- Hopefully, upon reboot, you will be able to bypass the error and access your account successfully.
FYI: is it a good idea to defrag your registry? Read on to find out.
7. Run a System Scan
You may also encounter this issue due to potential malware or system corruption. To ensure this isn't the case, we recommend running the SFC and DISM tools to scan and repair any underlying problems.
The System File Checker (SFC) scans protected system files for issues. If it finds any corrupt or missing files, it will automatically replace them with healthy cached versions.
The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool repairs corrupt system images. It is more powerful than SFC and can fix issues that SFC might not be able to handle.
8. Contact Support
If you have exhausted all solutions, and none of them have worked for you, we suggest that you contact Microsoft support, and report the issue. Hopefully, they will be able to identify the exact cause of the error and suggest a fix accordingly.
Alternatively, if you don't want to wait for a response from the support team, consider resetting your PC. Do note that doing this can cause you to lose some of your important data, so make sure to back up first.
Tip: learn how to use Windows 11 even without a Microsoft account.
Regain Access to Your Account
The "Sign-in option disabled" error can be a temporary roadblock to accessing your account. However, whether you are facing the problem with a local account or a Microsoft account, the methods described above should help you fix it once and for all. But if your entire login screen is missing, check out our dedicated post that walks you through how to resolve this problem.
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Zainab Falak.
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