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 Post subject: Removing or recovering lost Windows passwords
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5766
Have you ever forgotton your Windows password, or had to work on a system
that was password protected and needed to get in? Fortunately there are
several ways to work around the problem.

The easiest solution is to simply clear or change the password. This will not
tell you what the existing password was, but will effectively remove it or
reset it to whatever you like. The other option is to try and "crack"
(reverse engineer and reveal) the original password. Depending on how strong
the password is, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to near eternity.

Windows password rules:
http://microsoft.com/resources/document ... _tips.mspx

Clearing or Resetting the Password:

There are free tools that can be used to clear or reset the Windows password
on any system to which you have physical access. The tool I recommend is:


This program is also included as a part of the Ultimate Boot CD, which also
includes many other useful utilities: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com

The procedure requires booting from a bootable USB Flash drive, CD, or floppy
containing the program, and then using the program to clear or
set a new password by directly modifying the SAM (Security Account Manager)
database.

One caveat is that clearing or changing the password in any way will cause
any Windows EFS (Encrypted File System) to be unreadable and unrecoverable.

"Cracking" the Password:

In cases where EFS is used you can try to use programs that crack (expose)
the existing password rather than simply clearing it or writing a new one.
This can take a long time (or may be impossible) depending on how good the
original password was. Programs that can crack Windows passwords include:


Bottom line: Unless the system is running EFS, in most cases it is easier and
faster to simply clear the password than to crack it.

If you use any of these programs, I'd be interested in hearing about your
experiences. Scott.


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