Microsoft Windows is probably one of the most popular pieces of software on the planet. Most people extensively use Microsoft's computer operating system for a range of personal and professional tasks every day. So it goes without saying, that we all need some level of security as well, which is why we make use of Windows' native security options and usually keep our systems password protected. But what happens when you lose a password to something so vital? You would naturally be very concerned and anxious to get back into your system as soon as possible.
There are a number of Windows password recovery solutions out there. However, you need to bear in mind that you are working with a very important piece of software. Choosing the wrong method or trying to extract the password in an incorrect way can result in system crashes, bugs and even memory loss. However, with proper care and a little bit of research, you can ensure you have a safe recovery experience.
The plethora of Windows password recovery tool can be easily divided into two types. The first type essentially works as a password recovery tool that uses password hashing to try out various combinations. It is a complex and lengthy process with variable results. On the other hand, you have softwares that simply try to reset your password. In other words, they try and get rid of password completely. Both processes can get fairly complex or be fairly simple, depending on the Windows password recovery tool you pick. So here are six of the most popular password recovery options out there.
Windows Password Recovery Software #1: Windows Install DVD
Windows Password Recovery Software #2: PassGeeker for Windows
Windows Password Recovery Software #3: Password Reset Disk
Windows Password Recovery Software #4: Ophcrack
Windows Password Recovery Software #5: Mimikatz
Windows Password Recovery Software #6: LCP
Windows Installation disk can be used for OS install and another useful feature you are not aware of is for system repair, which includes password reset functions. So in our first recomendation, we will help you avoid all third party software and instead tweak around with command prompt itself. It is completely free and the only thing you need is a Windows installation USB or DVD. Here's what you need to do:
Step 1: Boot locked device with the Windows Install Disk. If you don't know how, simply enter your BIOS setup and change the Boot Order to "Boot From USB".
Step 2: Choose the "Repair"option once the install disk boots up. Click on command prompt and type the following:
copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\ (Press Enter)
copy /y c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
Step 3: Remove the installation disk and reboot the computer. Fire up command prompt again and type:
net user username newpassword
If all goes well, your PC should now be accessible without a password. This is a fairly useful little hack if you have your windows installation CD. However, it isn't an entirely stable method and may not always work every time. Added to that, it is complex and requires some knowledge of command prompt.
PassGeeker for Windows is probably the cleanest and fastest way to reset Windows password for local accounts. It is simple and easy to use. You could spend hours on other free software but only a few minutes is needed with PassGeeker for Windows. And currently, PassMoz Windows Password Recovery supports 50+ brands of computer manufacturers with various Windows version, ranging from Windows XP to Windows 10. However, you have to pay for a license for using the premium features. If you dislike premium software, don't mind and skip this part. The following recommendations are based on free solutions.
Step 1: Download PassMoz from this link and complete the registration process. You will need to do this on another computer.
Step 2: You now have an option to either burn a USB or a CD/DVD. The idea is to create a password recovery disc.
Step 3: Insert the disc into your locked computer and power it on. Through BIOS settings, set your computer to boot from your USB or CD/DVD drive.
Step 4: You will now see a list of your user accounts on computer screen. Select the relevant one and click "Reset Password". The password will be removed and after rebooting, you will be taken to desktop as usual. No file damage!
PassMoz is extremely user-friendly and efficient. It provides a hassle-free experience and has been tested on over 1000+ computer models. The best part about this software is that it has undergone vigorous testing to ensure the process is as bug-free as possible.
This one is more of a precaution rather than a solution. It allows you to pre-emptively create a password recovery disk which you can then use to recover your password if and when you get locked out of your system. Here's how it works.
Step 1: Connect a USB drive to your system.
Step 2: At the login scree, select "Reset Password'.
Step 3: Select the USB drive name from the list. You will then be asked to select a new password for the computer.
Step 4: Enter a new password and hit the Finish button.
Step 5: You can now use this to reset your password the next time you get locked out.
This is probably the cleanest way to reset your password without any issues. However, it requires prior action. If you are locked out of your system right now and are looking for a way in, this is not it.
The above suggestion is based on password reset techniques, which simply removes the password from local users. However, if you really needed to find out what the password is, password cracking tool is a must. From this part on, we will introduce a few free password cracking software. Ophcrack is the first example of recommended Windows password recovery tool.
When it comes to recovering passwords, few software are simpler than Ophcrack, which uses traditional rainbow tables to crack Windows password. For short password, it can recover the password in minutes. Here's all you need to do.
Step 1: Download Ophcrack Live CD and create a bootable disk by burning Ophcrack ISO file to USB.
Step 2: Boot the disc on the computer that you forgot the password and you will see the graphics user interface displayed on the screen.
Step 3: The Ophcrack software will automatically locate all windows accounts on that computer and starts cracking passwords fromr it.
When it comes to Windows password recovery tools, Ophcrack is probably the most accessible option. However, recovery is a still a complex process where a lot of things can go wrong. What's more, Ophcrack has been reported to glitch with latest versions of Windows 10. So you can never really feel safe with something like this.
Mimikatz is a great tool similar to Ophcrack when it comes to accessing Windows resources. It is an open source Windows password recovery software which can be very useful in the right hands. Originally, it was an experiment tool developed by Benjamin Delpy. But now it becomes a popular solution for Windows security researching. One of the most notable features of Mikikatz is that it not only breaks Windows text password, but also for PIN, Pattern and hash password. However, you should spend sometime figuring out how it works as it is not straightforward and less tutorial available.
Step 1: Download Mimikatz and run it as an administrator and use the log command. If you were not able to get into the locked computer, boot in safe mode first.
Step 2: You will now have created the Mimikatz.log file. Use privilege::debug to get debug privilege.
Step 3:Now use the command: sekurlsa::logonpasswords
Step 4: The program starts to crack password with built-in hashtable and LM tables. Wait for the result. Once it is completedly successfully, you should now be able to see the password like the screenshot shows.
Mimikatz is a great tool if you know your way around coding. However, it can get extremely overwhelming for a great user and you should think twice before opting for something so complex.
Our final Windows password recovery tool recommendation goes to LCP, an ancient Windows password cracking tool that is best for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. The developer has removed it from website and only achived version is available at software download sites. LCP might be your last hope if all of the above suggestions failed at the same time. We are now getting into the zone of serious password cracking with LCP. Here is how it works.
Step 1: First boot your system from a LCP Live CD or USB.
Step 2: Use LCP to import what is known as password hashes from a SAM file. (you can locate this at - C:/Windows/System32/Config)
Step 3: You will now be able to see the hashes with usernames. Click on the play button to begin the process. When completed, you should be able to see your recovered passwords.
LCP is a popular password recovery method amongst experienced users and software experts. However, it is not ideal. The interface is clunky and there are too many steps where you could potentially make costly mistakes.
So if you are looking for a safe and reliable Windows password recovery or reset solution to unlock a Windows computer, PassMoz would be your best option. It doesn't require you to tinker around with your system's code and neither does it involve complex processes. What's more, its powerful engine ensures it can get rid of your password within seconds.