Bootable Windows Password Recovery

If you're anything like me, you create virtual machines, or even build physical machines all the time. It's not uncommon for me to setup a mame machine, phone PBX, webserver, or some other box, throw it in the closet, and not look at it again for a year. There's normally no problem with this, except for what happened to me this morning. About 6 months ago, I had spent several days perfecting a Virtual Machine version of a Call Manager server (a computer based phone system), and during that install, I was forced to pick a good password for my VM. As you could guess, I forgot the password. So, I realized that I'd have to crack the original password, so I went off in search of a password cracker.

Well, it turns out there is a sea of junk "password recovery tools" and an equally large number of commercial scripts - but I wasn't after that. About an hour of searching lead me to Ophcrack.

Ophcrack is the best freeware password recovery out there. Just go to their homepage and download their live CD (a live CD is a bootable image that will allow you to run off the CD if you are unable to get into windows. If you are trying to crack a PC then you'll need to burn the image, but in my case, I just needed to mount the image in my VMware tools, then edit my bios to boot from the CD (vmware defaults to booting from the hard disk image). After that, Ophcrack made short work of my password - resetting it to a blank pass.

Filed under: PC Hardware Troubleshooting

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