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.
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.
Download Ophcrack LiveCD v3.6.0 [SourceForge]
See my Step-by-Step Guide to Ophcrack LiveCD tutorial or skip down to How To Use Ophcrack LiveCD for a quick version.
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 Important Information About Ophcrack & Antivirus Programs below)
- 649 MB (8/7/Vista) / 425 MB (XP) LiveCD ISO image must be downloaded
- LiveCD ISO image must be burned to a disc or USB device 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 download 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 or flash drive, all 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.
After downloading the Ophcrack ISO, you do have one decision to make - whether to burn Ophcrack to a disc (like a CD, DVD, or BD), or to put Ophcrack on a USB drive, like a flash drive:
Ophcrack on a Disc
If the computer you're on, and the computer you forgot the password to, both have an optical drive, burning Ophcrack to a disc is probably the easiest way to go.
If you've burned ISO images before, go for it. If not, please know that burning an ISO file is very different than burning normal files. Check out How To Burn an ISO Image File to a CD, DVD, or BD for a complete tutorial.
After creating the Ophcrack disc, boot from the disc by restarting your computer with your newly created CD, DVD, or BD in the drive. Linux will load, Ophcrack will start, and the password recovery will begin.
If you have trouble getting your computer to boot from the Ophcrack disc, see my How To Boot From a CD, DVD, or BD Disc tutorial for help.
Ophcrack on a USB Drive
If one or both the computers you're working with don't have a CD/DVD drive, then getting Ophcrack working from a USB drive, like a flash drive, is your only option.
Unfortunately, you can't just copy or expand the Ophcrack ISO to the USB drive and expect it to be bootable and work properly. See How To Burn an ISO File to a USB Drive for a complete tutorial on making this work.
Once the Ophcrack USB drive is created, boot from the drive to get the Ophcrack process started. See How To Boot From a USB Device if you've never done that or run in to trouble.
Once you have Ophcrack going, either via the disc you burned or the flash drive you created, it 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 or flash drive, reset your computer, and then log on to Windows with your newly recovered password!
Important Information About Ophcrack & Antivirus Programs
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.
Having Problems Using Ophcrack?
You can find a full list of your options on my Ways to Find Lost Windows Passwords piece.
Also, be sure to check out my Windows Password Recovery Programs FAQ for answers to the most common questions I get about these tools and methods.
Finally, you're welcome to contact me for if you're stuck and have already gone through all of the options I've linked to above. See my Get More Help page for information about how to best ask for help with one of my tutorials.
Download Ophcrack LiveCD v3.6.0 [SourceForge]