My mind, my thoughts, my words

How to recover your PC password for “dummies”

Before I left on a two-year trip, I changed my laptop password. I must have thought that, if something happened, I wouldn’t want anyone to be able to crack it easily (using my more common passwords).

Two years later, reunited with my laptop, I try everything. But I just can’t figure it out. (I actually knew the word, just the number at the end was wrong)

I spend a whole day trying to find a way to recover my password – I succeed.

I am not a computer expert, so I want to write down how to do it in “normal-people-language”, as some of the online stuff wasn’t very detailed or used terms I didn’t understand. I hope this will help you!

What you need: Acces to another laptop/PC, an empty CD, and a USB stick

  • on another laptop/PC:
    1. go to ophcrack. Download ophcrack live cd.
    2. burn the file onto an empty CD (apparently, doing it with a USB stick is possible too but it sounded more complicated to me!) using an image writer (free iso burner – this program is great as you just have to download a file that does the job, you don’t have to actually install a program) – this is important as it will make the CD bootable
    3. on ophcrack, download “tables” (for example “vista free”)
    4. extract it and copy the folder in a new folder called “tables” onto a usb stick.
  • on your laptop/PC for which you need to recover the password
    1. turn on your laptop/PC, and keep pressing esc. Go to F10 BIOS Setup>System Configuration>Boot Options>Legacy Boot Order. Change the order so that USB CD-ROM comes first. (You should probably change the order back to normal once you have recovered your password, so make sure to remember the usual order)
    2. insert the ophcrack CD and restart the computer
    3. the CD will automatically boot ophcrack, just let it do its thing
    4. plug in the USB stick
    5. ophcrack has its own little computer surface. If you click the bottom at the bottom right corner you will have just the desktop. Go to my documents. On the left, your USB stick should appear. Copy the folder “tables” into tux> documents.
    6. Swtich the screen again and select “tables” at the top of the window. Now select the table you downloaded, choose install, and specify the folder (tux>documents>tables). Press ok, it should then give you a green light for that table, press ok again.DSC03979
    7. In the progress bar you will see your user account, and if you’re lucky it will crack your password within seconds (it will appear in the right column “pwd”)

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