A lot of Windows users are still unaware of the many password recovery utilities available that make it so easy to tackle a lost or forgotten password. Even though these software applications typically have a user base in the millions, there are hundreds of millions more who wrongly assume that re-installing Windows or doing a factory reset are the only ways to deal with a missing password. We’ll show you three very powerful utilities that can be used to reset or recover a Windows password, and we’ll describe the steps in detail so you can replicate the process at home when you need to.
Ophcrack is a widely used technique to recover Windows passwords. Although the software has some limitations with newer versions of Windows like Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, it works very well with XP, Vista and Windows 7. The biggest advantage is that the Live CD method does not require any installation; it can run off the disk or USB drive that it is saved on.
The method involves creating an Ophcrack boot disk or Live CD, which can then be used on any locked Windows computer to retrieve the user’s password. It looks a little complicated to use, but in reality, it’s quite a simple process if you follow the steps. However, you do need to have some amount of technical knowledge about how passwords are stored.
Below, we’ve shown you exactly what to do from start to finish.
Note: You will need to do the first two steps on another Windows computer in case yours is locked because of a password issue.
Step 1: Download the appropriate version of Ophcrack Live CD for your Windows operating system. You can get it here. Be sure to download the right version based on your OS.
Step 2: Once it’s downloaded, burn it to a DVD, CD or USB flash drive. For this, you can use any native ISO burning software that you’ve already installed on that computer, but if you don’t then you can use something like ImgBurn or Free ISO Burner. This is an important part of the process so please ensure that the bootable media has been burned properly to the disk or drive.
Step 3: You will now need to insert the Live CD into your locked computer and boot from the disk. Wait for a few minutes, after which you will see the Ophcrack menu. You needn’t do anything. Just allow countdown to the automatic boot to run down.
Step 4: You should be able to see Ophcrack loading in the form of several lines of text running down your screen. At this point Ophcrack is identifying the partition that contains the encrypted passwords. The rest of the process is automated.
Step 5: After it loads you’ll see the Ophcrack software interface. Look at the entries under ‘NT Password’. If there is no password set for a particular account, it will say ‘empty’; otherwise, it will be blank until the password has been recovered.
Step 6: When you see the password against the right user account, note it down because that’s what you need to login.
Step 7: Once the process is complete, you can remove the Ophcrack Live CD and restart your PC. You should now be able to access the previously locked user account with the password that you noted down from Ophcrack.
In certain situations, Ophcrack will be unable to find a user account or recover the password. The latter is especially true if the password is too long or too complex. If you’re in that situation, then consider using the next software application.
PassMoz LabWin has gone through gruelling and extensive tests on Windows version ranging from XP to Windows 10. So far it has a 100% recovery rate for 5 different types of Windows passwords on more than 50 of the world’s top PC brands. It can reset the password for any admin, user, guest, Server or Microsoft account, and all it takes is a few minutes of your time.
The best part about this software is its ease-of-use. It requires no additional software, and there’s no command line work to be done, which is not the case with most of the Windows password recovery applications out there. PassMoz LabWin has been carefully developed to enhance user experience and reduce user input to a bare minimum.
The software uses a simple three-step method to reset any password no matter how long or how complex. None of that matters. That’s one of the reasons it is used by millions of Windows PC users around the world.
Let’s see how you can use PassMoz LabWin to reset your locked password in just a few minutes:
Step 1: Download the official version of the software from this website. You may need to do this on another PC (with admin rights) since yours is currently locked. Once installed, you can use the built-in ISO burning feature to create a bootable disk for your locked PC. Just insert the storage medium, launch the program and click on the ‘Burn’ button that you see next to the option that corresponds to the type of storage medium you’re using. In a few seconds, your password reset disk will be ready.
Step 2: Now insert the disk or USB flash drive into the locked computer. Restart the computer, then during the boot process, enter the boot menu using the F2 or other special key and change the boot order. This is done to make sure that the computer boots from the disk or drive you just put in.
Step 3: You will now see the PassMoz LabWin interface on your PC, where you can select the appropriate version of Windows and the correct user account to be reset. You can now click on ‘Reset Password’, wait for a few seconds, and then ‘Reboot’.
Once your computer restarts (without the disk this time), you will be able to login without using a password because it’s just been reset. In other words, your password has been blanked by PassMoz LabWin.
This is another popular tool for Windows password recovery that uses a very similar approach to the previous one. The password reset disk is created on an accessible computer with admin privileges, and then used to unlock a user or admin account. You can burn the bootable media either to a USB flash drive or a writable DVD/CD.
The ISO burning function is already built into the software so you won’t need another utility for that. All you need is another PC to create the password reset disk and you’ll be on your way to resetting your password in no time. One of the strongest selling points about this software is that it has been extensively validated on more than 300 different models of computers, including desktops and laptops.
Here’s how to use PassFolk SaverWin to unlock any Windows account:
Step 1: On a second computer, download and install SaverWin. You can now create the boot disk right from the interface. Just insert a drive or disk and use the software option ‘Burn’ seen against the appropriate storage medium type. When you see the success message pop up, your disk is ready to use.
Step 2: Once you insert the disk or drive into the locked computer, you must boot from the media, not the Windows OS that’s already installed on the PC. During the boot process, press the hotkey (usually F1, F2, Del or Esc) and enter the boot menu to change the boot priority. You will soon be able to see the SaverWin interface on your screen.
Step 3: On the screen, select the correct Windows OS version, then the user account that’s been locked. Now, one after the other, press the ‘Reset Password’ and the ‘Reboot’ buttons at the bottom, allowing each process a few seconds to be completed.
Restart your computer, and you should be able to get into your account without a problem.
All these three methods work with most versions of Windows, but Ophcrack is more suited to pre-Windows-8 computers. Also, the password can’t be too complex or too long, or Ophcrack won’t work. The other two methods are both highly effective and support all the latest Windows operating systems from the last ten years. You can’t go wrong with either of them, and they both boast very high success rates.