Nov 27, 2011
During the early days of my IT career as a technical support guy in a gov’t office, one of the hardest task that I encounter was to recover someone else’s password. At that time, I do not know what their real motives are and the implications that it might bring to my career as a good public servant. And being an idealistic, I always tell them that I do not know how to recover a Windows password. I just tell them that I can only reset the password and nothing more. To reset the password I used the Locksmith password utility that comes with Winternals bootable CD. Just boot your computer using the bootable CD and use the Locksmith app to browse your target Windows account and reset the password. Though Locksmith tool can solve your Windows password recovery problem it tends to be slower compared to Ophcrack.
Locksmith solves most of my password ‘recovery’ woes, but it’s very slow and it frequently freezes your computer. So in terms of speed and reliability, the best Windows password recovery app that belongs to my ‘hidden’ arsenal of tools is the Ophcrack LiveCD. Back then I’m really afraid to bring this out of my ‘toolbox’ because it’s a double edged sword that you can used and be used against you. But now since I’m out with that kind of work, I can now share this to everyone out there looking for the real solution to password recovery problems. Before I continue with the pros and cons of this tool, I’m warning you to use this tool only with the consent from the owner of the Windows machine.
Ophcrack is free unlike Winternal’s Locksmith that requires you to buy a license that will expire after a few years. Password recovery using Ophcrack happens automatically after booting your computer with the LiveCD. You do not need to click this and click that to launch the tool and recover your password. Also it works with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. The problem with this tool is that it is flagged as ‘malware’ by most anti-virus solutions. But don’t worry; it cannot hurt your bootable CD. Another one is that if your password is more than 14 characters long, it cannot be recover using this tool. So if you knew someone in your office that is using this tool you already know what to do.
To help you in creating hard-to-guess password that is easy to remember, you can read my post here. To know how to recover password using the Ophcrack LiveCD, read the step-by-step guide here. However, if you want to look for other solutions or ideas on how you can recover passwords you can try reading The Ultimate Guide To Lost Password Recovery book. Have a nice day!
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