[Solved] The Referenced Account Is Currently Locked Out

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Coming face to face with “The referenced account is currently locked out” might leave you anxious.  This is a login error that shows up after entering the wrong password repeatedly. This takes place when the account lockout threshold policy is configured to restrict unauthorized access.

But, you can regain access to your account if you enter the right password after waiting for half an hour. Likewise, if you have a password reset disk, that can also help you out. If not, you can fix it by enabling the built-in administrator account and implementing other fixes, all of which are explained in detail within this article.

The Referenced Account Is Currently Locked Out

Some of the causes behind getting the message “The referenced account is currently locked out” are:

  • Entering the wrong password
  • Restrictive account lockout threshold policy
  • Incorrect DNS settings
  • Outdated local group policy editor
  • Expired passwords
  • Corrupt credentials cache
  • How to Fix “The Referenced Account Is Currently Locked Out”?

    Supposing you have all the time to spare, you can wait for half an hour. Or, try restarting the device and login into your account to see if you can regain access.  After thirty minutes, enter the right password to log in to your account. 

    Be extra cautious when typing in the password. We don’t mean to scare you but the wait time may be longer if you don’t get it right again. 

    However, to solve this problem promptly, look at the other fixes in the article. These solutions will also save you from getting locked out of your PC in the future.

    Rearrange BIOS Time and Date Settings

    In case you badly want to unlock the account, you can modify the time and date settings in BIOS. If the time and date are changed, the OS will think that the waiting time is already over. So, you have a chance to unlock it soon. For that, you’ll have to first access the BIOS setup. The steps to enter the BIOS may differ vaguely with the type and model of the computer. 

    1. Turn on your computer.
    2. While it’s still booting, hit the Delete key. The keys could range from F1, F2, F10, or, Esc, depending on the model of PC.
    3. In the system setup menu, select the Main tab.
    4. Select the System Date and Time.
    5. Then, change the date and time, as you see fit.
    6. Lastly, Select Save and Exit.Change date and time in BIOS

    Enable Hidden Administrator Account

    In the case of urgency, you can regain access to your account by enabling the administrator account. Keep in mind that this step is a prerequisite without which you cannot take other measures to get back to your account.

    Once the hidden administrator account is enabled, you can move on to configuring other related settings like adjusting the account lockout threshold policy, setting the password never to expire, etc.

    Here’s how you can enable the hidden administrator account on Windows 10 and 11.

    1. On the login screen, click on the Shutdown button.
    2. Now, press and hold the Shift key and click on Restart.
    3. From the blue screen, select Troubleshoot.
    4. Select Advanced Options.advanced-options
    5. Under Advanced options, select the Command Prompt.
    6. After the prompt terminal opens, type in the command shown below.
      net user administrator /active:yes

    Entering this command will enable the hidden administrator account. Then, you can access your account and proceed to the following fixes.

    Adjust Local Security Policy

    The referenced account locked out can be fixed by adjusting the local security policy. This method works best if you are not connected to a domain network. Here’s how. 

    1. Hit Windows + R keys to open the Run command.
    2. Then, type secpol.msc and press Enter.
    3. Under Security Settings, select Account Policies in the left pane.
    4. Choose Account Lockout Policy.
    5. Double click on the Account lockout threshold.local-security-policy-account-threshold
    6. Set the number of invalid logon attempts to 0 which will keep your account from being locked out ever again.set-invalid-logon-attepmts-to-0
    7. Select Apply and then, click OK.

    Change Local Group Policy

    If the computer you’re locked out of uses Windows Pro or Enterprise version, you can regain access by changing the local group policy. So, those using the Windows home version must look for other ways to work around this problem. 

    Meanwhile, Windows Pro and Enterprise users can change their local group policy in the following manner.

    1. Hit Windows + R keys.
    2. In the Run command window, enter gpedit.msc.
    3. Click Enter.
    4. After the Local Group Policy window opens, go to Computer Configuration.
    5. Select Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies > Account Lockout Policy.
    6. Double Click on Account lockout threshold.local-group-policy-account-threshold
    7. Set the invalid logon attempts to 0.set-invalid-logon-attepmts-to-0
    8. At last, click on Apply and click OK.

    Check DNS Settings

    DNS settings, if misconfigured, might be a reason behind the “The reference account is currently locked out” issue. This happens when your domain controller has formerly set the account lockout threshold policy. You can sort it out by going through these steps.

    1. Navigate to Network Connections by right-clicking on the Start button.
    2. From Advanced network settings, click on Change adapter options.
    3. Then, right-click on the Ethernet and select Properties.
    4. Locate Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), right-click on it, and select Properties.
    5. Now, check Obtain DNS server addresses automatically. Then, select OK.
    6. If this solves “The referenced account locked out” problem, great! Otherwise, you can change Google’s Public DNS IP Address.
    7. Beneath Obtain DNS server addresses automatically, select Use the following DNS Server addresses.
    8. Then, type the given addresses.
      • Preferred DNS Server: 8. 8. 8. 8
      • Alternative DNS Server: 8. 8. 4. 4dns

    Configure the Password to Never Expire

    The reason you’re seeing this error message might be due to the expired password. You can configure the password to never expire. 

    1. Hit Windows + R keys to open the Run command.
    2. Type in lusrmgr.msc and hit enter.
    3. In the new pop-up window, select Users.
    4. Now, right-click on the account you have been locked out of.
    5. Then, select Properties.
    6. From the General tab, choose the Password never expires.password-never-expires
    7. At last, click Apply and select OK.

    Once you complete setting the password to never expire, you can restart your computer. After that, log in to the account you were locked out of.

    Clear Credential Cache

    If the corrupt credential cache is resulting in the reference account being locked out, you can get rid of them. To clear the credential cache, you can go along these steps.

    1. On the search box, look for Credential Manager.
    2. Open it. Then, under Manage your credentials, choose Windows Credentials.
    3. Under Generic Credentials, remove the cached credentials by selecting the arrow beside each credential.
    4. Then, click Remove.clear-cache-credentials

    Thereafter, restart your device and see whether you can log into the account you were previously locked out of.

    Update Group Policy Settings

    When you encounter this problem, updating the group policy may bring it to a solution. Normally, Windows updates the group policy settings every 90 minutes. Or, it does so while it reboots. 

    But, during situations like when you’re locked out of your account, you can immediately update group policy. To do this, you have to run the following command, then, check new policy settings with the domain controller and implements them on your computer.

    1. Hit Windows + R keys.
    2. Then, type cmd and press Enter to open Command Prompt.
    3. Enter gpupdate /force command and hit Enter.

    Now, reboot your computer to save the new changes. After that, try logging in back to your account to see if the problem persists.

    Reset Windows

    If you have a single admin account on your PC then “The referenced account locked out” issue can raise a concern. In this case, you can deal with the problem by resetting Windows. 

    So, back up your important files and proceed with the steps shown below.

    1. Open Settings.
    2. Select Update & Security.
    3. Click on Recovery.
    4. Under “Reset this PC”, click “Get Started”.reset-this-pc
    5. Choose Keep My Files if you want to save important files. Or, select Remove everything in case you wish to delete it all for a fresh start.reset pc keep my files
    6. After that, select how you want to reinstall Windows (either Cloud download or Local reinstall).
    7. Click on Next.
    8. In the end, select Reset.How to reset your windows device

    Disable the Administrator Account (Optional)

    It’s important that you conclude by disabling the hidden administrator account after applying the fixes mentioned above. Since the admin account is used while setting up or during disaster recovery, you don’t need to access it that much.

    Disabling the admin account is also necessary because it leaves the system vulnerable to security risks.

    1. Press Windows + R keys.
    2. Type cmd in the run command window.
    3. Enter the following command to disable the hidden administrator account.
      net user administrator /active:no

    After you enter the said command, restart your computer. The administrator account will, then, be hidden.

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