Have you ever forgotten your Windows password? Ever had a friend ask you if you know how to retrieve their password? Ever needed a password for other reasons? In this guide you’ll learn how to retrieve your Windows password using a tool named ophcrack.
Tip: Once you’ve got access to your account, set up a password reset disk so you no longer have to crack your password.
Ophcrack is a free Windows password cracker based on rainbow tables, which comes with a Graphical User Interface version that automates the process for you. ophcrack is
To crack your Windows password:
1. Download the ophcrack LiveCD
2. Burn the ISO to a disc (how to burn an ISO to disc)
3. Put the disc in the PC that has the locked account and boot the PC from the disc (how to boot from CD)
4. Press Enter to run ophcrack in Graphic Mode with automatic scan
5. Sit back while ophcrack looks for your password hash in the available tables
I recommend you archive your burned disc for use in the future. Also, consider using a more difficult password to crack and then creating a password reset disk.
I tried and an 8 character password (letters, numbers–mixed case) and ophcrack got it in 15 seconds.
Password Not Found?
If the password is not found, you have a few options:
- Access the files using a Linux distribution without cracking the password
- Reset the Windows account password to gain access to the account (but lose access to any encrypted files)
- If it’s really important that you crack the password, you can purchase larger rainbow tables (link) although there are no guarantees you’ll find a match for your password
Last Updated: June 19th 2012
2012/06/19 — Updated screenshots to match latest version of ophcrack. Listed alternate options if cracking fails.