When trying to change the password in Command Prompt in Windows 10/11, you might encounter a somewhat weird and cryptic error with the following message:
“System Error 8646. The system is not authoritative for the specified account and therefore cannot complete the operation.”
Despite containing hard-to-understand for a regular and less experienced user text, the error is relatively easy to fix. This article will show you how to fix the “System error 8646 the system is not authoritative for the specified account” error.
What Causes the “System is not authoritative for the specified account” error?
System Error 8646 happens mostly in two scenarios. First, when you try to change the password for a local account without administrative privileges. Second, when you try to change the password for a Microsoft Account using Command Prompt. Practice shows that users encounter the “System Error 8646” error in the second case most often.
Fixing System is not authoritative for the specified account error in Windows 10/11
If you encounter the “System is not authoritative for the specified account” error when trying to change the password for a local account, do the following.
Note. Keep in mind that this instruction works only on systems with a local account. You cannot use this method to fix “The system is not authoritative for the specified account” error when using a Microsoft Account to sign in to Windows.
Method 1: Change the Local User Password using NET USER
- Close Command Prompt with error 8646, then launch it again with elevated privileges. Press Win + R, enter the cmd command, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter.
- Click Yes on the User Account Control confirmation dialog. This confirmation prompt is a good indicator that you are indeed launching the command prompt with elevated privileges.
- Suppose you’re resetting the password of the demo_user account to ‘Not!So#Complicated_’, run the command below:
net user demo_user Not!So#Complicated_
See? No more error and you’ve successfully changed the password for this local user:
Method 2: Change the Local User Password using SetLocalUser
Instead of the net user command, you can also use Set-LocalUser cmdlet in PowerShell to change a local user account’s password.
- Open PowerShell as admin. Press Win + X to open the Quick Link Menu, and click Windows PowerShell (Admin)
- Click Yes to confirm running PowerShell as admin.
- Once you’re in PowerShell, run the below command to save the new password to a variable called $password. In this example, the new password is Not!So#Complicated_:
$password = 'Not!So#Complicated_' | ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force
- Now, run the below command to change the password of the local user. This example targets the demo_user user account:
Set-LocalUser -Name demo_user -Password $password
If the password change was successful, you will not see any output.
Method 3: Change the Local User Password in Windows Control Panel
Another way to change another user’s local account password is through the Windows Control Panel. Like the previous methods, note that you need Administrator privileges to complete the process.
- Press Win + R, then enter control. You can also use any other method to launch the Control Panel. For example, you can try to fix The system is not authoritative for the specified account error by launching the classic Control Panel using a shortcut on the Desktop.
- Change the view to Small Icons or Large Icons.
- Go to User Accounts.
- Click the Manage another account link.
- Select Change Password.
- Enter the new password and password hint on the next page and click Change password.
- Try to log in using the modified account.
Method 4: Change Your Own Local User Password in the Windows Settings App
Note. This method applies only to changing your own password. You cannot change other users’ passwords using this method.
- Open Windows Settings. Press Win + I or right-click the Start menu button and select Settings.
- Go to Accounts. Click Sign-in Options → Passwords → Change.
- Enter your current password on the next window and click Next.
- Next, enter your new password and password hint, and click Next.
- Finally, click Finish. You have now changed your password without errors.
Method 4: Changing Your Microsoft Account Password
Finally, you can fix the “System is not authoritative for the specified account” error in Windows 10 and 11 by changing the password for your Microsoft Account. Note that the previous methods, like the net user and Set-LocalUser commands do not work with profiles with Microsoft accounts in Windows 10/11. Therefore, you need to change passwords on the official Microsoft Account website.
You might need another device to perform the following actions. The good thing is that to fix the error, any modern device will suffice. You can use Chrome on your Android smartphone, another computer, or Safari on your iPhone. Just make sure you access the Microsoft Account website using a relatively modern device.
- Launch your preferred browser and open the account.microsoft.com page.
- Click the Sign-in button.
- Enter your email address, then click Next.
- Click the “Forgot Password” link.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to change the password for your Microsoft account.
- After resetting the password for a Microsoft Account, try to log in using the new password.
That is how you can fix The system is not authoritative for the specified account error in Windows 10 and 11. If nothing helped, we recommend you try to create a new account with administrative privileges using Command Prompt and try to reset the password again.