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The referenced account is currently locked out: Quick Fix

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  • 5 min read

Windows is a rather secure and stable OS but isn’t immune to random bugs and glitches. Much like smartphones, Windows can also lock itself if you entered your password incorrectly too many times. 

In this article, we’re taking a look at the ‘referenced account is currently locked out’ error on Windows.

Also read: What is $ Can you delete the folder?

Wait for a little while

Sitting back and waiting for about 30 minutes for Windows to unlock your account automatically is the easiest and most convenient way to get rid of the error. While the wait time starts at 30 minutes, it can go as high as 24 hours if you enter the password incorrectly far too many times. 

Change the date and time from the BIOS

Another quick way of resolving this error is to change your computer’s date and time from the BIOS. This tricks the system into believing that the incorrect password was entered at the wrong time and hence lets you try entering the correct password again. 

Clear cached credentials

Clearing cached credentials from your PC will remove any corrupt credentials and let you log in again. 

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Credentials Manager. Click the corresponding search result. 

Step 2: Select Windows Credentials. 

Step 3: Click the arrow next to the credential you want to delete and click Remove. 

Once you’ve removed all related Windows credentials, restart your PC and try again. 

Change your DNS settings

Users have reported that incorrect DNS settings can also cause this problem. Try resetting them back to the defaults to see if that solves the problem. 

Step 1: Press Windows key + I to open the Windows settings.

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Step 2: Click on Network & Internet.

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Step 3: Click on Change adaptor options.

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Step 4: Right-click on your Wi-Fi network and click Properties.

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Step 5: Find Internet Protocol Version 4 in the list, click on it and then click Properties. 

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Step 6: Make sure that all settings are set to automatic. 

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Now restart your PC and try again. 

Set the account password to not expire

You can also set your passwords to never expire so that this issue doesn’t resurface again. Note that this method may not work on Windows 11. 

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open the Run prompt. Type lusrmgr.msc and hit enter. 

Step 2: Head over to the Users pane and right-click the user you want to edit. Select Properties. 

Step 3: In the General tab, check the Password never expires checkbox. Click OK to save your changes. 

Use the Local Security Policy Editor

You can change the wait time to zero so that you don’t run into this error again. Do keep in mind that this fix only applies to Windows Pro and Enterprise editions.

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to open the Run prompt. Type secpol.msc and hit enter.

Step 2: Click Security Settings followed by Account Policies and select Account Lockout Policy.

Step 3: Double-click the Account lockout threshold policy and replace the existing value with zero. Click Apply to save your changes.

Now restart your PC and the error should’ve been gone.

Repair your system

If nothing else works, the best way to get rid of the error is by simply reinstalling or repairing your OS. 

The Windows Media Creation tool is a great way to install Windows and repair the OS. Using this, you can perform a clean installation or repair your OS without affecting your data.

You can download the Media Creation Tool here

Also read: USB power management in Windows 11 explained

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: