Ophcrack LiveCD v3.6.0 Review

A complete review of Ophcrack, a free password recovery program

Ophcrack is a password recovery tool for Microsoft Windows. With the LiveCD version, you can use Ophcrack to find your Windows passwords without installing any software on your operating system.

Information in this article applies to Ophcrack LiveCD v3.6.0 for Windows 8, Windows 7Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Ophcrack LiveCD Review

What We Like
  • Free to download.

  • No software installation necessary.

  • No knowledge of any existing passwords is necessary.

What We Don't Like
  • Some antivirus programs mistakenly identify Ophcrack as a Trojan or virus.

  • Passwords greater than 14 characters cannot be cracked.

  • Won't crack even the simplest Windows 10 password.

Ophcrack LiveCD can crack 99.9% of passwords for both local accounts and Microsoft accounts on most versions of Windows, with the notable exception of Windows 10. The program uses dictionary attacks to guess your passwords and then displays them on-screen. Any password that uses a combination of numbers with 14 characters or less should be crackable.

The LiveCD version requires no installation, making it a safe alternative to many other password recovery tools. The biggest advantage Ophcrack LiveCD has over the standard desktop version is that you can run it from a disc or USB drive without first logging into Windows.

Ophcrack LiveCD v3.6.0

Windows 10 users can use the desktop version of Ophcrack, which must be installed before use.

How to Get Ophcrack LiveCD

To get started, visit the Ophcrack download page and select Download Ophcrack LiveCD. Choose either the XP or Vista/7 link to download the correct ISO image file for your operating system. The Vista/7 version will work for Windows 8; don't worry about the third option.

The Ophcrack LiveCD ISO file contains SliTaz (a Linux distribution), the Ophcrack software, and other files needed to recover passwords. Ophcrack LiveCD is fully automatic, so you don't need any Linux experience whatsoever.

How to Set up the Ophcrack ISO

An ISO image contains everything you need to run software directly from a disc or a USB flash drive. If the computer you're using has an optical disc drive, you can burn the ISO file to a CD or DVD. If your PC only has USB ports, then you'll have to burn the ISO image to a USB flash drive before you can use Ophcrack.

You can run Ophcrack by booting from the disc or booting from the USB drive. Linux will load, Ophcrack will start, and password recovery will begin. The process is automatic, so you don't usually need to type or click anything. When the passwords are displayed on the screen, write them down.

Once the process is complete, you can remove the disc or flash drive, restart your computer, and then log in to Windows with your newly recovered password.

Once you're back into Windows, change your password to something you'll remember, then create a password reset disk to avoid ever having to do this again.

Ophcrack and Antivirus Programs

Some antivirus programs unnecessarily identify two files included in Ophcrack (samdump.dll and pwservice.exe) as a Trojan or other type of malware. If your antivirus flags one of these files, you can ignore the warning.

If Ophcrack can't çrack your Windows passwords, there are also commercial Windows password recovery tools you can try.