Ophcrack v3.6.0 (LiveCD v3.6.0)

A complete review of Ophcrack, a free password recovery program

What We Like
  • Software is freely available for download online.

  • Passwords are recovered automatically using the LiveCD method.

  • No software installation is necessary to recover passwords.

  • No knowledge of any existing passwords is necessary.

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

  • Several hundred megabyte download.

  • LiveCD ISO image must be burned to a disc or USB device before being used.

  • Passwords greater than 14 characters cannot be cracked.

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

Ophcrack v3.6.0, in its LiveCD form (currently at v3.6.0), is simply the best way to recover a Windows password. It's a nearly foolproof operation, automatic password recovery, and overall speed puts Ophcrack in a league of its own.

The Ophcrack LiveCD requires some preparation but this password recovery tool is by far the best.

After just a few minutes of running the software, Ophcrack will find all of your Windows passwords and display them on screen! Yes, it's that easy!

Ophcrack LiveCD v3.6.0

Major Ophcrack Features

  • Ophcrack will crack passwords for Windows 8 (both local and Microsoft accounts), Windows 7Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
  • Ophcrack can recover 99.9% of passwords from Windows XP, usually in a matter of seconds. Any 14-character or smaller password that uses any combination of numbers, small letters, and capital letters should be crackable.
  • Ophcrack can recover 99% of passwords from Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista. A slower "dictionary attack" is used in these versions of Windows.
  • The Ophcrack LiveCD option allows for completely automatic password recovery.
  • LiveCD method requires no installation in Windows, making it a safe alternative to many other password recovery tools.
  • No Windows passwords need to be known to use the Ophcrack LiveCD to crack your Windows passwords.

How to Use Ophcrack LiveCD

To get started, visit the Ophcrack download page. Once you're there, choose Download ophcrack LiveCD and select either the XP or Vista/7 link (use the Vista/7 one for Windows 8 and don't worry about the third "without tables" option) to download the correct ISO image file for your operating system. This file may take some time to download.

An ISO file contains everything that should go on a disc or flash drive, all in a single file. The Ophcrack LiveCD ISO file contains SliTaz (a Linux distribution), the Ophcrack software, and other files needed to recover passwords. Don't worry about the details: the Ophcrack LiveCD is fully automatic so you need no Linux experience whatsoever.

After downloading the Ophcrack ISO, you do have one decision to make—whether to burn Ophcrack to a disc (like a CD, DVD, or BD) or to put Ophcrack on a USB drive, like a flash drive:

Ophcrack on a Disc

If the computer you're on, and the computer you forgot the password to, both have an optical drive, burning Ophcrack to a disc is probably the easiest way to go.

If you've burned ISO images before, go for it. If not, please know that burning an ISO file is very different than burning normal files. Check out How to Burn an ISO Image File to a CD, DVD, or BD for a complete tutorial.

After creating the Ophcrack disc, boot from the disc by restarting your computer with your newly created CD, DVD, or BD in the drive. Linux will load, Ophcrack will start, and the password recovery will begin.

If you have trouble getting your computer to boot from the Ophcrack disc, see our How to Boot From a CD, DVD, or BD Disc tutorial for help.

Ophcrack on a USB Drive

If one or both the computers you're working with don't have a CD/DVD drive, then getting Ophcrack working from a USB drive, like a flash drive, is your only option.

Unfortunately, you can't just copy or expand the Ophcrack ISO to the USB drive and expect it to be bootable and work properly.

Once the Ophcrack USB drive is created, boot from the drive to get the Ophcrack process started.

Once you have Ophcrack going, either via the disc you burned or the flash drive you created, it will locate the users on your Windows system and begin cracking their passwords. The process is automatic—you don't usually need to type or click anything. When the passwords are displayed on the screen, write them down.

Remove the disc or flash drive, reset your computer, and then log on to Windows with your newly recovered password!

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

Important Information About Ophcrack and Antivirus Programs

Some antivirus programs unnecessarily identify one or both of two files included in Ophcrack as a Trojan or other kind of malware—samdump.dll and pwservice.exe. Both of these files are part of an open-source program called pwdump which is included with Ophcrack and is necessary for it to work.

The pwdump program is classified more or less as "evil" since it can be used to extract passwords...which of course is exactly what you're trying to do.

So, don't worry if your antivirus program flags one of these files (as long as it's just these files). Ignore it and continue on with the process.

Having Problems Using Ophcrack?

Did you have problems running Ophcrack or did Ophcrack not find your Windows password? Try another free Windows password recovery tool or maybe even a commercial Windows password recovery tool.