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Windows Password Hacking

The Bottom Line

The Ophcrack Windows password cracker is the best free Windows password recovery tool available. Ophcrack is fast and easy enough for a first time password cracker with basic Windows skills.
In a Hurry?: Skip my review below and head right to the complete step-by-step guide to Ophcrack LiveCD.
Save time and energy by skipping the other tools (even the expensive premium Windows password recovery programs) and download, burn and use the LiveCD version of Ophcrack.
After just a few minutes of running the software, Ophcrack will find all of your passwords and display them on screen! Yes, it’s that easy!

Pros

  • Software is freely available for download online
  • Passwords are recovered automatically using the LiveCD method
  • No software installation is necessary to recover passwords
  • No knowledge of any existing passwords is necessary
  • Ophcrack works with Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

Cons

  • Some antivirus programs mistakenly identify Ophcrack as a Trojan or virus (see Guide Review below)
  • 496MB (7/Vista) / 415MB (XP) LiveCD ISO image must be downloaded
  • LiveCD ISO image must be burned to a CD before being used
  • Passwords greater than 14 characters can not be cracked

Description

  • Opchrack can crack passwords for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
  • Ophcrack can recover 99.9% of passwords from Windows XP, usually in a matter of seconds. Any 14-character or smaller password that uses any combination of numbers, small letters, and capital letters should be crackable.
  • Ophcrack can recover 99% of passwords from Windows 7 or Windows Vista. A dictionary attack is used in Windows 7 and Vista.
  • The Ophcrack LiveCD option allows for completely automatic password recovery.
  • LiveCD method requires no installation in Windows, making it a safe alternative to many other password recovery tools.
  • No Windows passwords need to be known to use the Ophcrack LiveCD to crack your Windows passwords.

Guide Review – Ophcrack v3.3.1 (LiveCD v2.3.1)

Ophcrack v3.3.1, in its LiveCD form (currently at v2.3.1), is the best Windows password recovery tool available. Its nearly fool-proof operation, automatic password recovery, and overall speed puts Ophcrack in a league of its own.
The Ophcrack LiveCD requires some preparation but this password recovery tool is by far the best!

How To Use Ophcrack LiveCD

Below is a summarized how-to for Ophcrack. However, I highly recommend my step by step guide with screenshots if you’re not familiar with Windows password recovery software and need a more detailed walkthrough.
To get started, visit the Ophcrack site by clicking the Visit Their Web Site link above the User Reviews at the bottom of this page.
Once you’re there, click on the Download ophcrack LiveCD button. On the next page, click on either the XP or Vista link to download the correct ISO image file for your operating system. Choose the Vista version for Windows 7 as well. This file may take some time to download.
An ISO file contains everything that should go on a CD or DVD in a single file. The Ophcrack LiveCD ISO file contains SliTaz (a Linux distribution), the Ophcrack software, and other files needed to recover passwords. Don’t worry about the details – the Ophcrack LiveCD is fully automatic – no Linux experience required.
Important: Some antivirus programs unnecessarily identify one or both of two files included in Ophcrack as a Trojan or other kind of malware – samdump.dll and pwservice.exe. Both of these files are part of an open source program called pwdump which is included with Ophcrack and is necessary for it to work. The pwdump program is classified more or less as “evil” since it can be used to extract passwords… which of course is exactly what you’re trying to do.
So don’t worry about your antivirus program’s flagging of these files (as long as it’s just these files). Ignore it and continue on with the process:
After downloading, burn the Ophcrack ISO image to a CD. Burning an ISO file is a different than burning a normal file. Check out How to Burn an ISO Image File to a CD or DVD for more on that topic.
After burning, boot to the CD by rebooting your PC with the disc in the drive. Linux will load, Ophcrack will start, and the password recovery will begin.
Ophcrack will locate the users on your Windows system and begin cracking their passwords. The process is automatic – you don’t usually need to type or click anything. When the passwords are displayed on screen, write them down.
Remove the CD, reset your computer and then log on to Windows with your newly recovered password!
Once you’re back in to Windows, change your password to something you’ll remember this time and then create a password reset disk to avoid ever having to do this again.