Forgot your computer password after getting back from vacation? What can you do if you found yourself locked out of admin account? Forgetting the password to sign into your Windows account is not a fun situation, and it can happen to anyone, even when you don’t need to log in to your computer for a while. In case you lost admin rights or can’t even log in to the only account on your PC, you can recover or bypass Windows 10 / 8 / 7 password using the fastest and reliable password cracking utilities – Ophcrack and PCUnlocker.
Method 1: Recover Windows Password with Ophcrack
It’s well known that Windows stores all the user passwords in a SAM (Security Account Manager) database file. For security reasons, the SAM file is locked down and we’re unable to access it while Windows is running. In order to crack the encrypted passwords in the SAM, we have to find a bootable password recovery tool – Ophcrack Live CD.
Ophcrack is one of the more effective password hack tools that can recover Windows passwords that you might have forgotten. It utilizes rainbow tables to run brute force attacks against the password hashes stored in the SAM hive. Let’s see how to get it to work!
Step 1: Use your friend’s computer to download the Ophcrack ISO image. It is about 649Mb in size. After you’ve downloaded it, write it to a blank CD.
Step 2: Boot your own computer from Ophcrack LiveCD. Make sure you change the boot sequence in the BIOS, so it will boot from CD prior to the hard drive.
Step 3: When the LiveCD is loading, you’ll get to the screen to choose the graphics mode. Just select the default option “Graphics mode – automatic” and hit Enter.
Step 4: Wait for the Ophcrack utility to start. It will extract the LM/NT hashes from the SAM file and use rainbow tables to guess your password. Depending on the length and complexity of your Windows password, Ophcrack may take up to 2 minutes before displaying the passwords.
One drawback to Ophcrack is that it comes with a basic and smallest rainbow table, and it might just discover the most simple alphanumeric passwords. For complex password, you might have to purchase additional rainbow tables. All in all is a great tool!
Method 2: Bypass Windows Password with PCUnlocker
Rather than recovering the password, you can also bypass Windows login password and quickly restore access to your computer files. PCUnlocker is a bootable utility that allows you to bypass Windows login screen without resetting or changing the old password.
If you ever forget your Windows password, you can use PCUnlocker to bypass the password login screen while keeping all your data intact. Let’s have a look:
Step 1. First off, you need to use another computer to make a bootable PCUnlocker USB. Download the ISO image of PCUnlocker and save it to your desktop, then use the freeware Rufus to create a bootable PCUnlocker USB drive.
Step 2. Insert the bootable PCUnlocker USB into the computer you need to bypass login password on. While starting the machine, press the BIOS key (F2, F12, DEL, ESC, F8, etc.) to access the one-time Boot Devices Menu. Choose your USB drive from the list and let your PC boot into PCUnlocker.
Step 3. When the PCUnlocker utility loads, you can see a list of Windows accounts available on your computer. Click the Options button at the bottom left corner, and then select Bypass Windows Password from the pop menu appeared.
Step 4. Click OK to confirm. It will change the virtual memory of Windows kernel during the next booting.
Step 5. The last thing left to do is to reboot your computer by clicking the Restart button. When you get to the login screen, you can access any password-protected account without any knowledge of the password.
Lost or forgot your Windows admin password? If this happens, not everything is lost just yet, as you can recover or bypass the password using Ophcrack and PCUnlocker. However, when your user account profile gets corrupted for one reason or another, then you may have to reinstall Windows.