How to Fix “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” Error on Windows 10?

by Ugnius Kiguolis - -
12

Question

Issue: How to Fix “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” Error on Windows 10?

As I understand now, I have been entering a wrong password into the login screen for more than five times, which is why I’m currently locked out of my account and desperately need to log in. That’s my work PC, so I’m really frustrated. Could you please help?

Solved Answer

“The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” is an official notification generated by Microsoft.[1] This message indicates the fact that a PC user has been typing a wrong password[2] for a particular number of times, which is why Windows locked the account and prevented the user from signing in for a particular period of time, which is not specified.

According to experts, “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error typically emerges on Windows 10 systems, which belong to the domain with the configured Account lockout threshold policy.

Also,  “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error might also occur due to the account being temporarily locked out after typing the wrong password for several times in the log-in screen when a computer has multiple accounts with the Account lockout threshold policy configured.

“The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error fix

Nevertheless, the emergence of “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” is not an inextricable issue. The only problem (if it might be called a problem) is that the error fix requires the intervention of the domain controller.[3]  

Before you start to troubleshooting of a relatively complicated problem, make sure you perform the basics first:

  • Remove your network cable and restart your PC;
  • Disconnect the mapped drives, reset the password and try again;
  • Check your time and date settings.

This video will help you:

Solution 1. Fixing “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error by editing Local Security Policy

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Once you encounter “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error, we would strongly recommend you to leave the PC for 30 minutes. That's a waiting time that is often set by the system administrator if the user enters the wrong password. After 30 minutes of waiting, the log-in screen may be unlocked, and you may get a second chance of accessing the desktop. 

If you have managed to access your desktop successfully, you should disable the Account lockout threshold policy to prevent “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error from showing up:

NOTE: these steps apply for Windows Pro and Enterprise editions only.

Change Account Lockout Threshold Policy

  • Click Windowa key + R, type secpol.msc, and hit Enter.
  • When the Local Security Policy window opens, select Security Settings.
  • Open Account Policy and select Account Lockout Policy.
  • Double-click on the Account lockout threshold policy (on the right) to open Settings configuration window.
  • To disable account lockout, replace the existing value with 0 and click Apply to save the changes.
  • Then press OK and close the Local Security Policy window.
  • After that, you will be able to log on to your account without seeing “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error.

Set out lockout to 0

Solution 2. Check your DNS settings

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In some cases, users reported that wrong DNS[4] settings made them encounter “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” error. There are plenty of potentially unwanted applications[5] (such as Utopia.net) that can act as DNS hijackers. In such a case, the DNS settings are altered without the permission. To restore the parameters, please follow these steps (note: eliminate all suspicious applications from the Control Panel first):

  • Right-click on Start button and pick Network Connections
  • On the right pane, select Ethernet
  • Click on Change adapter options on the right
  • Right-click on Ethernet and select Properties
  • From the list, find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties
  • In the Properties window, tick Obtain DNS server addresses automatically and click OK

Check DNS Settings

If that brings no results, you can try swapping to Google's DNS by ticking Use the following DNS server addresses and entering the following:

Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
Alternative DNS server: 8.8.4.4

Solution 3. Set the account password to never expire

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You need to make sure the password is set to never expire in Local Users and Groups menu:

  • Press Windows key + R, enter lusrmgr.msc and hit Enter
  • Select Users in the right pane
  • Right click on the user and pick Properties
  • In the General tab, tick the Password never expires box and click OK

Set password to never expire

Solution 4. Clear cached credentials from your computer

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  • Click on Start button and type Credential Manager into the search box
  • Select Windows Credentials
  • Click and arrow next to credentials you want to remove and select Remove

Clear cached credentials

Solution 5. Use Password reset disk or format Windows

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What if your computer does not belong to the domain? In other words, if you are using a home computer with a single admin account, which has no Account lockout threshold policies' settings configured, but the “The referenced account is currently locked out and may not be logged on to” emerged?

Then the only solution would be to reset your password using a Password reset disk, but for this purpose, you have to have such a disk created some time ago.

In case you do not have a password reset disk, then we have sad news for you because the only way to unlock your PC is to format Windows.

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About the author

Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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