The Ophcrack Windows password cracker is the best free Windows password recovery tool available. Ophcrack is fast and easy enough for a first time password cracker with basic Windows skills.
In a Hurry?: Skip my review below and head right to the complete step-by-step guide to Ophcrack LiveCD.
Save time and energy by skipping the other tools (even the expensive commercial Windows password recovery programs) and download, burn, and use the LiveCD version of Ophcrack.
My Thoughts on Ophcrack
Ophcrack v3.6.0, in its LiveCD form (currently at v3.6.0), is simply the best way to recover a Windows password. Its nearly fool-proof operation, automatic password recovery, and overall speed puts Ophcrack in a league of its own.
The Ophcrack LiveCD requires some preparation but this password recovery tool is by far the best.
After just a few minutes of running the software, Ophcrack will find all of your Windows passwords and display them on screen! Yes, it's that easy!
What I Like:
- Software is freely available for download online
- Passwords are recovered automatically using the LiveCD method
- No software installation is necessary to recover passwords
- No knowledge of any existing passwords is necessary
- Ophcrack works with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
What I Don't Like:
- Some antivirus programs mistakenly identify Ophcrack as a Trojan or virus (see Guide Review below)
- 649 MB (8/7/Vista) / 425 MB (XP) LiveCD ISO image must be downloaded
- LiveCD ISO image must be burned to a disc before being used
- Passwords greater than 14 characters can not be cracked
Major Ophcrack Features:
- Opchrack will crack passwords for Windows 8 (both local and Microsoft accounts), Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
- Ophcrack can recover 99.9% of passwords from Windows XP, usually in a matter of seconds. Any 14-character or smaller password that uses any combination of numbers, small letters, and capital letters should be crackable.
- Ophcrack can recover 99% of passwords from Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista. A slower "dictionary attack" is used in these versions of Windows.
- The Ophcrack LiveCD option allows for completely automatic password recovery.
- LiveCD method requires no installation in Windows, making it a safe alternative to many other password recovery tools.
- No Windows passwords need to be known to use the Ophcrack LiveCD to crack your Windows passwords.
How To Use Ophcrack LiveCD
Below is a summarized how-to for Ophcrack. However, I highly recommend my step by step guide with screenshots if you're not familiar with Windows password recovery software and need a more detailed walkthrough.
To get started, visit the Ophcrack site by clicking the Visit Their Web Site link above the User Reviews at the bottom of this page.
Once you're there, click on the Download ophcrack LiveCD button. On the next page, click on either the XP or Vista/7 link (use the Vista/7 one for Windows 8 and don't worry about the third "without tables" option) to download the correct ISO image file for your operating system. This file may take some time to download.
An ISO file contains everything that should go on a disc in a single file. The Ophcrack LiveCD ISO file contains SliTaz (a Linux distribution), the Ophcrack software, and other files needed to recover passwords. Don't worry about the details: the Ophcrack LiveCD is fully automatic so you need no Linux experience whatsoever.
Important: Some antivirus programs unnecessarily identify one or both of two files included in Ophcrack as a Trojan or other kind of malware - samdump.dll and pwservice.exe. Both of these files are part of an open source program called pwdump which is included with Ophcrack and is necessary for it to work. The pwdump program is classified more or less as "evil" since it can be used to extract passwords... which of course is exactly what you're trying to do.
So don't worry about your antivirus program's flagging of these files (as long as it's just these files). Ignore it and continue on with the process:
After downloading, burn the Ophcrack ISO image to a blank disc - a CD, DVD, or BD will work. Burning an ISO file is a different than burning a normal file. Check out How To Burn an ISO Image File to a CD, DVD, or BD for more on that topic.
After burning, boot from the disc by rebooting your PC with your newly created CD, DVD, or BD in the drive. Linux will load, Ophcrack will start, and the password recovery will begin.
Ophcrack will locate the users on your Windows system and begin cracking their passwords. The process is automatic - you don't usually need to type or click anything. When the passwords are displayed on screen, write them down.
Remove the disc, reset your computer, and then log on to Windows with your newly recovered password!
Response To Some Negative Ophcrack User Reviews
"Thanks for the comments about Ophcrack being infected with a Trojan, virus, or spyware. Fortunately, this is not actually the case. Some antivirus programs identify software included with Ophcrack as malware, which it is not. See the Important call-out in my review above for more information." - Tim Fisher
Having Problems Using Ophcrack?
Also, be sure to check out my Windows Password Recovery Programs FAQ for answers to the most common questions I get about these tools.