Create a complex password

Updated: March 27, 2009

Applies To: Windows SBS 2008

To create a complex password
  1. Think of a sentence that you can remember. This will be the basis of your strong password or pass phrase. Use a memorable sentence, for example, “My son Aiden is three years old.”

  2. Check if you can use the pass phrase on your computer. If you can, do so.

  3. If you cannot use the pass phrase, convert the phrase to a password. To do this, take the first letter of each word of the phrase and create a new, nonsensical word. Using the example above, you might get: "msaityo."

  4. Add complexity by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. It is valuable to use some letter swapping or misspellings as well. For instance, in the pass phrase above, consider misspelling Aiden's name, or substituting the word "three" for the number 3. There are many possible substitutions, and the longer the pass phrase, the more complex it can be. Your pass phrase might become "My SoN Ayd3N is 3 yeeRs old." If you cannot use a pass phrase, use the same technique on the shorter password. This might yield a password like "MsAy3yo".

  5. Finally, substitute some special characters. You can use symbols that look like letters, combine words (remove spaces), and use other ways to make the password more complex. Using these tricks, you can create a pass phrase of "MySoN 8N i$ 3 yeeR$ old" or a password (using the first letter of each word) "M$8ni3y0". For more information about creating and using complex passwords (which are also called “strong passwords”), see “Strong Passwords: How to create and use them” at the Microsoft Web site (

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