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Beginners Guides: Forgotten Passwords & Recovery Methods

Beginners Guides: Forgotten Passwords & Recovery Methods - PCSTATS
Abstract: Ever wondered how to recover or reset a forgotten password in WindowsXP? This guide will help you get back into your computer, all without reinstalling the operating system.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Aug 31 2007   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Brute Force Password Cracking

A list of the user accounts found in the SAM file will be displayed. Check the ones you wish to attempt to discover passwords for.

Click the 'brute force attack' tab, then check the 'all digits (0-9)' box unless you are sure the password you need did not contain numbers.

Click the 'start recovery' icon on the toolbar. Please note that cracking the password may take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours, if it works at all. Complex passwords with different cases and numbers will take much, much longer to crack.

On an other note, if you just want to see how good you own password choices are, you can always follow the steps mentioned above and try to crack your operating system's SAM file as means of conducting your own personal security audit. If you have a Windows password like "cat", chances are it will take only a few moments for the software to discover it. There's also a certain amount of satisfaction from stumping the crack utility altogether, or at least keeping it crunching away for a few days. ;-)

A note on security:

We hope this article has been useful to you. As you can see, there are a fair number of ways to get around Windows 2000/XP's password security systems, especially if you have physical access to the computer in question.

To protect yourself from having the techniques contained in this article used against you maliciously, there are a few basic steps you should take.

Firstly, as we have said in several other articles you must set secure passwords for all user accounts. As you have seen, it is quite simple for password cracking programs to decipher normal dictionary words. Use combinations of numbers and letters, including upper-case letters, to make more secure passwords which will take a discouraging amount of time to crack. In Windows XP, all accounts created during the install process have full administrative privileges, and they do not have passwords by default. Fix this.

Secondly, as you have seen in this article, there is no such thing as a secure password if the potential intruder has physical access to your computer. Keep this in mind, especially if your computers are exposed to the public.

Find out about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCstats.com Newsletter today!

- Diagnosing Bad Memory
- 101 Tips and Tweaks for WindowsXP
- Burning CDs and DVDs
- Optical Drives & Recording Formats
- Securing Your Wireless Network
- Little Known Features of WindowsXP
- Ergonomics & Computers
- Annual PC Checkup
- Installing WindowsXP
- Encryption and Online Privacy
- Home Networking and File Sharing
- Forgotten Passwords & Recovery Methods
- Preventing Data Theft from a Stolen Laptop
- Creating a Weblog / Blog
- Installing RAID on Desktop PCs
- RAM, Memory and Upgrading
- Ten Steps to a Secure PC
- Flashing A Motherboard BIOS
- Diagnosing Bad Hard Drives
- Decrypting Document & Zipped File Passwords
- Spyware protection and Removal
- Wireless home networking
- Internet Connection Sharing
- Remote Access to Computers
- Hard Drive Data Recovery
- Firewalls and Internet Security
- Back up and Restore Data in WinXP
- Assembling Your Own PC
- VPNs and Internet Connection Security
- Legally Copying Software and Music
- Setting up a FTP Server in WinXP
- Creating MP3 Music Files
- Stopping Spam
- Cloning WindowsXP
- Browser Hijacking and How to Stop It
- Printer Sharing on a Home Network

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Forgotten Passwords & Recovery Methods
 Pg 2.  Resetting BIOS Passwords
 Pg 3.  Using Asterisk-Password Revealing Programs
 Pg 4.  Windows Login Passwords
 Pg 5.  NT/2000/XP password reset boot utility
 Pg 6.  Retrieving the Windows XP SAM and SYSTEM files
 Pg 7.  Extracting passwords from the SAM file
 Pg 8.  — Brute Force Password Cracking

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