Recently, a friend of mine contacted me about a friend of hers, whose sister died tragically and the friend needed to access her sisters computer. Fortunately and Unfortunately, her sister kept her windows password in her head. Now her head is gone and we needed to get the password. (I’m think I’m going to hell for that one) I did some research and here are some ways to help you retrieve the password from your sisters head computer.

These approaches are for Windows XP, 2003, 2000, and NT users

  1. Administrator logon

    1. For Windows XP users, at the welcome screen, press ctrl, alt, delete (at the same time on the keyboard) twice. It should look like this…windows-logon-screen.JPG
    2. When the alternative logon screen appears type Administrator in the user name and leave the password blank. (hopefully when Windows was installed the user left this with no password.)
    3. Click ok or press enter and hopefully you are in. If not, goto Login Recovery.
    4. If successful, you can go into the control panel and change the password for the person’s account you are trying to access.
  2. Login Recovery

    1. Find a computer that has web access and the ability to use a floppy or burn a CD
    2. Goto Login Recovery’s website here and follow their instructions.
    3. downside: if you don’t pay for instant access (10 min), you will have to wait 72 hours to get your password for free.
  3. Ophcrack

    1. Download the Ophcrack CD here
    2. Burn the ISO image (An ISO image is essentially a backup of another CD or a DVD disc.) You will need Nero, Roxio or other CD burning software to do this.
    3. Reboot the PC with your new Ophcrack CD in the CD ROM drive. This should automatically boot from the CD and dump the hashes (windows encryption scheme of your password) from the SAM (which holds the user names and password hashes for all accounts on the local PC)
    4. Your password has to be alphanumeric and 14 characters or fewer for this to crack it and if it isn’t, save the hashes to a text file using the “save as” button.
    5. Now, locate and open the text file you just saved and copy the hash from the user account you want the password from.
    6. Go here and add the lines in the box, select “lm” in the drop down menu for the algorithm, and then type in the security code that is shown (for security purposes) and click submit
    7. This might take some time, so leave the page open and check back later and you should be given the password.

Here are some other sites/downloads you can try

  1. Emergency Boot CD
  2. Offline NT Password and Registry Editor