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Monday, July 25, 2011

How crack forgotten Windows password - Ophcrack

Ophcrack is a free software program that recovers passwords so the first step you'll need to take is to visit Ophcrack's website.
Click the download button corresponding to the operating system of the computer you'll be recovering the password on. The operating system of the computer you're using right now doesn't matter.

For example, if you've forgotten the password on a Windows 7 or Windows Vista computer, click on ophcrack Vista LiveCD. If you've forgotten the password on a Windows XP computer, click on ophcrack XP LiveCD.

The download is in the form of a single ISO file.
After downloading the Ophcrack LiveCD software, you'll need to burn the ISO file to a CD.

The Ophcrack LiveCD disc you just burned is a "bootable" CD, meaning it contains a small operating system and software and can be ran independent of the operating system on your hard drive. This is exactly what we need in this situation because you can't access the operating system on your hard drive right now (Windows 7, Vista, or XP) due to not knowing the password.

Insert the Ophcrack Live CD disc into your CD/DVD/BD drive and restart your computer.

The initial screen you see after restarting should be the same one you always see immediately after starting your computer. There may be computer information like in this screenshot or there may be a computer manufacturer logo.

Ophcrack LiveCD begins immediately after this point in the boot process,
ou don't need to do anything here. Ophcrack LiveCD will continue automatically after the Automatic boot in x seconds... timer at the bottom of the screen expires. If you'd like to advance the process a little faster, feel free to hit Enter while Ophcrack Graphic mode - automatic is highlighted.

Don't See This Screen? If Windows started, you see an error message, or you see a blank screen, then something went wrong. If you see anything other than the menu screen Ophcrack, Ophcrack LiveCD did not start correctly and will not recover your password.

Are You Booting to the CD Correctly?: The most likely reason that Ophcrack LiveCD might not be working properly is because your computer is not configured to boot from the CD you burned. Don't worry, it's an easy fix.

Check out my How to Boot Your Computer From a Bootable CD guide. You'll probably need to make changes to your boot order - it's all explained in the guide. After that, go back to the previous step and try booting to the Ophcrack LiveCD again. You can continue to follow this guide from there.

Did You Burn the ISO File Correctly?: The second most likely reason that the Ophcrack LiveCD isn't working is because the ISO file was not burned properly. ISO files are special kinds of files and have to burned differently than you may have burned music or other files. try burning the Ophcrack LiveCD ISO file again.

If the OPhcrack live cd working than the next screen is the Ophcrack LiveCD software itself. Ophcrack will attempt to recover the passwords for all of the user accounts that it can find on your computer. This password cracking process is completely automated.

The important things to look for here are the accounts listed in the User column and the passwords listed in the NT Pwd column. If the user account you're looking for isn't listed, Ophcrack didn't find that user on your computer. If the NT Pwd field is blank for a particular user, the password has not been recovered yet.
If you were cracking a password for a user that Ophcrack shows as empty, you now know that you can log on to the account without a password at all, assuming that the user account is enabled.

After Ophcrack recovers your account password, write it down, remove the Ophcrack LiveCD disc from your optical drive and restart your computer. You don't need to exit the Ophcrack software - it won't harm your computer to power it off or restart it while it's running.

In the next step, you'll finally get to log on to Windows with your discovered password!

Note: If you do not remove the Ophcrack LiveCD disc before you restart, your computer will likely boot from the Ophcrack disc again instead of your hard drive. If that happens, just take the disc out and restart again.
Did Ophcrack Not Find Your Password?

Ophcrack won't find every password - some are too long and some are far too complicated. If Ophcrack didn't do the trick just try another free Windows password recovery tool. Each of these tools work a bit differently so another program might have no problem at all recovering or resetting your Windows password.

You might also want to check out my Windows Password Recovery Programs FAQ page if you need some help.

Now that your password has been recovered using Ophcrack LiveCD, simply enter your password when prompted after booting your computer normally.
You're Not Done Yet!
Assuming Ophcrack was successful in cracking your Windows password, I'm sure you're jumping up and down with joy and ready to get back to whatever you were doing but now is the time to be proactive so you never have to use this program again:

1. Create a password reset disk. A password reset disk is special floppy disk or flash drive that you create in Windows that can be used to gain access to your account if you ever forget your password in the future.

As long as you can keep this disk or drive in a safe place, you'll never have to worry about forgetting your password, or using Ophcrack, again.

2. Change your Windows password. I suppose this step is optional but I'm guessing that your password was too difficult to remember and that's why you used Ophcrack in the first place.

Change your password to something that you'll remember this time but keep it hard to guess as well. Of course if you followed Step 1 above and now have a password reset disk, you don't have much to worry about anymore.

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