Friday, December 19, 2008

Recover Lost Windows Login Password With Live Cd's

So you have a Windows PC and you forgot the login password.
What do you do? How do you retrieve or reset it?
There are several solutions including making your own bootable Cd's with the needed tools but I'm going to focus on 2 solutions that only require downloading and burning to a Cd.

Those being PCLoginNow and Trinity Rescue Kit.

I find it quite humorous how Microsoft has made claims that their newest OS is so secure. There are no more backdoor Admin logins and the implementation of SYSKEY which is
an optional feature added in Windows NT 4.0 SP3.
It was meant to protect against offline password cracking attacks so that the SAM database would still be secure.

Unfortunately, Microsoft underestimated the power of Linux.
Both of the following software are based on Linux and can achieve the same results. That is getting your password back or reseting it to a new one.

PCLoginNow is a small (55 Meg) ISO file that you download and then burn to a Cd. Based on Linux it is very easy to use and works on 2000, 2003, 2008, XP and Vista. It also has good driver support for most IDE and Sata drivers so you have the best chance of getting access to your hard drive.

And it can access both the Admin and User passwords.
You can also change or lock accounts, change policies or totally remove them.
The best part of all this is that this software is free.
You can read more about it and download it from their website.
PCLoginNow Website

The other software is the Trinity Rescue Kit.
A 130 meg ISO image that you burn to a Cd, this software is more then a password reset software although that is just one of it's many tools.
Again, this is a Linux based Live Cd with a twist.
It uses command line entries similar to the old Dos command days.
This is due in part to a bootable Dos utility disk he had once built.
It also keeps the size of the Cd down to a minimum by not having an integrated desktop manager like Gnome or KDE.

This software reads like a who's who of software and utilities.
It can rescue and repair a crashed PC. Both Windows and Linux.
It can clone a system across a network and more.
Be sure to read the documentation before you use it or even print it out although the newest version of TRK has the documentation built in.

You can read about and get TRK from their website;
Trinity Rescue Kit Website

As I said earlier, there are several other password reset/recovery tools available but the above 2 are easily available and bootable without requiring the user to create their own bootable Cd.




Madness Reigns said...

Great post Tazman!
Another reason not to leave home without linux live cds!
I couldn't count the times i've used linux live cds to fix windows.
I make extra copies to leave with friends and family after repairs in the hopes that they'll start to use linux themselves.saves on repeat visits :-)

TaZMAn said...

Thanks Madness.

LOL @ "in the hopes that they'll start to use linux themselves"

I hope also. Sometimes all it takes is an hour or so of education and demonstration.

You need to ease them from their comfort zone into the seat of full control and show them it really isn't that difficult.

Linux has been a huge helping hand to many users and those who repair PC's.