Cain and Abel v4.9.56

A complete review of Cain and Abel, a free windows password recovery tool

Cain & Abel, as a free Windows password recovery tool, isn't our top choice. It works similarly to other password recovery tools but the cons simply outweigh the pros.

Yes, it's free (and fast) but considering that you have to install it on the computer from a working user account, we can't recommend this program over better tools like Ophcrack and Offline NT Password & Registry Editor.

Cain & Abel Password Cracker
Cain & Abel.

You might also want to take a look at our list of premium Windows password recovery programs.

However, if you do have access to an account on the PC, by all means, download Cain & Abel and give it a try. It might be just what you're looking for.

Cain & Abel: Pros & Cons

This isn't our first choice for a password reset tool, as you can see.


  • Password recovery tool is completely free
  • Several methods can be employed to crack passwords
  • Recovery of passwords is very fast, at least with our several tests


  • Separate "Rainbow Tables" must be downloaded from other sources online
  • Program must be installed on the hard drive, unlike many other password recovery tools
  • Must have access to another administrator account on the computer
  • Variety of other built-in hacking tools might intimidate novice users
  • Doesn't seem to work in Windows 10, 8, 7, or Vista

More About Cain & Abel

  • Depending on the rainbow table used, Cain & Abel can recover up to 99.9% of passwords from any Windows account.
  • Cain & Abel can hack many types of passwords in addition to Windows passwords (though outside the scope of this review).
  • Several different methods for recovering passwords is available making this a very versatile password cracking tool.
  • Works with Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT.

Thoughts on Cain & Abel v4.9.56

Cain & Abel v4.9.56 does a great job recovering passwords—other people's passwords. If you have no way of getting into your Windows PC, you will not be able to use Cain & Abel to recover your password.

It finds passwords for other accounts on your computer. It can't find the password to a single-account Windows PC since you'll need to access Windows to install it. Try Ophcrack or Offline NT Password & Registry Editor (both linked above) if you're in this situation.

To get started with Cain & Abel, visit their site and download the Windows NT/2000/XP version of the program. Install the program on your computer. During installation, you'll also be prompted to install WinPcap, which is fine.

Before you can use Cain & Abel, you'll need to download a rainbow table. These large databases of passwords are required so Cain & Abel can hack the password. Download one of these free XP rainbow tables then extract the files to a folder on your desktop.

Start by opening the "Cain" program and then select the Cracker tab. On the left, choose LM & LTLM Hashes and then select the big blue plus sign on the Cain toolbar. Make sure Import Hashes from local system is checked and choose Next. All the user accounts will be loaded to the right.

Right-click the username you need the password for, choose Cryptanalysis Attack > LM Hashes > via RainbowTables (OphCrack). In the LM Hashes cryptanalysis window, select the ... button and choose the folder you extracted the free rainbow tables to. Choose OK and then Start.

That's it! Just wait for Cain & Abel to recover the password!

Having Problems Using Cain & Abel?

Did you have problems running Cain & Abel or did Cain & Abel not find your Windows password? Try another free Windows password recovery tool or maybe even a premium Windows password recovery tool.

Also, be sure to check out our Windows Password Recovery Programs FAQ for answers to the most common questions we get about these tools.