How do I crack a Windows password

Forgot Windows Password? No problem

Hermann Apfelböck, Roland Freist

Locked out? If you can no longer access your system, you can still "boot from someone else" and save data, but all investments in the system would be lost and a laborious reinstallation is required. It doesn't have to be.

EnlargeIf you have backed up your Windows with a Microsoft account and forgot the password, you can restore it via the Microsoft website
© Photo: © vladwel - Fotolia.com

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Easy access to your data even without a password

On the first day after your vacation, you go back to your PC, type in the password - and fail: Windows reports: “The password is wrong. Repeat the process. ”And await your“ OK ”. After the click, the operating system shows a "password hint" as a small reminder. But because you have learned from the PC world that passwords cannot be found in the lexicon and should consist of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers, a hint such as “ten characters” doesn't really help you. Clicking on "Reset password" also leads you to a dead end, as you do not have one
Have put on the rescue stick. Perhaps you have even installed a password manager, but of course it can only be reached after a successful login. Don't worry, forgetting your Windows password is not a catastrophe. On the following pages, PC-Welt presents you with various options for unlocking the door to Windows again.

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First of all: Logging on to Windows with your user name and password is less about protecting your data than about managing the various user profiles. The operating system recognizes who is currently sitting at the PC and can thus provide the user with their familiar working environment. In order to protect the data from prying eyes, Windows brings encryption technologies such as EFS (Encrypted File System) and Bitlocker with it.

And another basic tip: In extreme cases, a forgotten password can lead to the loss of all data because you cannot avoid reinstalling Windows 10. You should therefore regularly create a backup of the most important data and also maintain this backup.

See also:Windows 10: Encrypt drives with Bitlocker

But as long as you have not encrypted your files, they are largely freely accessible, even without you or another user logging into Windows. For example, if you have installed Windows 10 in parallel with an older Windows version, simply log in to this older version and access the files on the other system from there using Explorer. You can also install the hard disk with Windows 10 in another computer, boot into Windows there and call up the data on the second hard disk. Or maybe you have created a Windows 10 rescue system on a DVD or a USB stick. Then you can boot your computer with this medium and thus also get access to the hard disk data. Of course, this is not a permanent solution. After a data backup, you can reinstall Windows or you can see that you can get a new password.

Note: Before trying one of the solutions described below, you should make sure that Caps Lock was not activated or Num Lock was deactivated while entering the password.

See also:The best tricks for a strong password

The Windows password and encryption

The methods described in the article for overwriting the Windows password have one major catch: If you have protected files or folders on your hard drive with the built-in Windows encryption, these are then no longer accessible. The Encrypted File System (EFS) responsible for encryption is linked to the user password. If it is changed, regardless of whether by the administrator or by overwriting the old password, you will no longer be able to access your data. Affected are all files and directories that you have encrypted after clicking with the right mouse button using the command "Properties -> Advanced -> Encrypt content to protect data". Windows will only adjust the encryption accordingly if you change your password yourself.

However, there is a way out: you can export the certificate for encryption and save it on another drive such as a USB stick. To do this, you need the Windows Certificate Manager, which you can call up by entering the file name certmgr.msc in the search field on the taskbar. Go to “My Certificates -> Certificates”, right-click your user name in the right half of the window and select “All Tasks -> Export”. Use the following wizard to also secure the private key and define a password. Then select the desired storage location and make sure that the PFX file with the certificate and key does not end up on the local hard drive. If you can no longer access your data after changing the Windows password, copy the PFX file back to the computer and double-click on it. This calls up a wizard that you can use to re-import the certificate.

1. Trick 17 with the purchase program: Skip password entry

EnlargeMost of the tricks described enable access to the Windows desktop so that you can define a new password in the "Settings".

Windows saves all passwords in the "SAM" file (without extension) in the "C: \ Windows \ System32 \ config" folder. This is a database in which the user data is encrypted as hash values. Breaking this encryption is very tedious, depending on the complexity of the password. However, there are various workarounds.

The first option is to use the paid Kon-Boot tool. You burn it on a CD or copy it to a bootable USB stick, start your computer with it and then immediately start a second boot process from the hard drive. Kon-Boot then patches the Windows code in the main memory, which is responsible for the logon process, and lets you boot to the desktop without entering a password after selecting an account with administrator rights. In the next step, the password can be changed in the Windows settings via “Accounts -> Login options”. Now take the CD out of the drive or remove the USB stick and restart Windows from the hard drive. You can log in with the new password.

Kon-Boot was formerly a free open source tool and is now chargeable. In some places on the Internet you can still find the old versions, which are, however, not compatible with Windows 10.

2. Reset Microsoft account password

EnlargeAnyone who logs in to Windows with a Microsoft account can reset the password in a few minutes via a web service.

With Windows 10 (and also Windows 8), the locally stored account information is still possible, but the standard is to log in with a Microsoft account, with the password entered being verified online via the Microsoft server.

The methods for resetting the password explained in the following points do not apply here. They only apply to local account logins. If you can't get your Windows 8 or 10 because you forgot your Microsoft account password, you can repair it online using any other computer.