Recover forgotten Windows 7 password using Cain and Abel

Edited by Michael J., Anonymous, Lynn, Eulalee and 13 others

Passwords are there for security reasons, but sometimes they can become a real burden when we forget them. If you're dealing with a Windows 7 PC that has a multi-user setup, and one user forgot his or her password, the most logical thing to do is just reset the user's password via an administrator account. Windows 7 does not have a feature for user account password recovery. For most instances, this seems to solve the problem right there and then.

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The catch is, upon resetting or removing the password for that certain user account, Windows 7 warns you (the administrator) that the particular user "will lose all EFS-encrypted files, personal certificates, and stored password for websites or network resources".'' This means that if that user has encrypted files using Windows EFS-encryption, or has digital certificates for secure email, banking or securely identifying websites [e.g. http://its.virginia.edu/identity/certificate/ Personal Digital Certificates], all that information could be lost if the administrator resets the password for that user. If the user of the lost password confirms that he or she has encrypted files or personal certificates associated with that account, then what once was a simple "password-reset solvable" problem becomes a more complicated one. Enter Cain and Abel, a powerful password recovery tool for Microsoft Operating Systems.

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Following the steps below gives you a fighting chance of getting out of this dilemma and recovering a forgotten Windows 7 password without compromising anything or anyone.

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What is Cain and Abel Recovery Tool?

Cain and Abel is a recovery tool for lost passwords on the Windows platform. It additionally allows network administrators to check network security or home users to recover a range of saved network passwords. It is one of the best password recovery tools designed for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista. It enables you to recover passwords in the local cache, wireless network keys, and other passwords on your system. This is one of the best tools in your computer's toolbox.

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Instructions

  1. 1
    Download and install the latest version of Cain and Abel.
    You can download the software for free HERE.
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  2. 2
    Disable any running antivirus software and turn off Windows firewall.
    Because Cain and Abel will try and get into the deep trenches of the Windows operating system and perform tasks that "normal" software wouldn't do, it will get the attention of antivirus software and the Windows firewall, and they prevent it from doing its thing. To turn the Windows firewall off, follow the steps below.
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    1. Go to the Windows Control Panel.
    2. Choose the "System and Security" category.
    3. Click on the "Windows Firewall" option.
    4. Click on the "Turn Windows Firewall On or Off" option located on the left pane of the window.
    5. Select all the radio button that says "Turn off Windows Firewall".
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  3. 3
    Open Cain and Abel.
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  4. 4
    Click on the "Cracker" tab.
    Cracker screenshot.png

    Click on the "LM & NTLM Hashes" from the categories listed in the left panel then click on the "Cross" button in the upper toolbox
    .
    Cracker lm hashes.png
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  5. 5
    Select the "Import Hashes from Local System" radio button in the succeeding window then click "Next".
    The software will now display the list of Windows 7 user accounts.
    User accounts list.png
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  6. 6
    Right-click on the username you wish to recover a password for.
    Look in the "NT Password" column. The cells without an "empty" value have passwords associated with them.
    Brute force attack.png
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  7. 7
    Go to Brute Force Attack > NTLM Hashes.
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  8. 8
    Choose a Charset to extract the password from.
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  9. 9
    Define the password length (if possible).
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  10. 10
    Click the "Start" button.
    This will begin the password recovery process.
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  11. 11
    Wait for the recovery process to complete.
    The password recovery time will depend on the length and the character variations in the password to be recovered. Obviously less complex passwords will be recovered faster.
    When the recovery process has successfully completed, the recovered password will be displayed.
    Pass recovery success.png
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Cain and Abel OXID PDF Manual

The makers of Cain and Abel have provided a comprehensive manual to guide users around the software's wide range of features. However, they did not officially produce a PDF document of the manual but instead made it available through their website. The manual can be viewed through this link: HERE

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Although Cain and Abel is fairly old, it is a well-documented application. Beginners will not have a hard time finding resources online to learn how to use Cain and Abel. There are a lot of online programming forums and YouTube videos that discuss Cain and Abel's virtues, and give instructions for use.

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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • This method of password recovery can only be used if there is still a way to get into the Windows Operating System, that is, if there is at least one administrator that can still log into the system.
  • A brute force technique only works best when the password to be recovered has a maximum length of seven characters, and is composed of alphanumeric characters.
  • If the password is greater than seven characters and is made up of more complicated combinations, then a brute force approach will require a lot more time to recover the password. (The password recovery also depends on the processing power of your PC.)

Questions and Answers

My dad can't recall his login password?

My dad can't recall his login password. What should we do?

If you have guessed long and hard and tried all passwords you can muster, but still was not able to successfully log in then you can try these:

  • If your PC is part of a shared network, you can ask the administrator to reset the password.
  • If you are using a Microsoft account, then you can reset your password HERE from the Microsoft web page.

Can Cain and Abel retrieve a password from an ICP address?

I have the ICP address from a Yahoo email account and need the password.

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Quotation: Shall I be my brother´s watchman?

What is the quotation in the bible: Shall I be my brother´s watchman?

That is not a quote from the bible. Perhaps you are thinking of the line "Am I my brother's keeper?" from the story of Cain and Abel.

How to decode passwords by using Cain and Abel software?

Suppose we will get the password text how to decrypt.

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How can I recover my Windows 8 password with Cain and Abel?

I created only one account, then it locked with admin password and I do not want to reformat it because I don't want to lose my personal files.

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How to recover Windows ProBook password?

PC can't enter the Windows operating system because of a lost password. I have tried: Nothing. I think it was caused by: I have no idea

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Step the program goes through to process the data?

Hi there, I'm a student at WSU and we are researching how ARP Spoofing works. I see that Cain and Able is one of the programs that can be downloaded to provide this service. I need to explain how it maps the IP and MAC addresses. In other words: How it looks for IP and MAC addresses.

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How can I recover or reset my admin password in Win7?

Can you help me to hack into my own laptop? I forgot the admin password.

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How do I run it when windows won't allow to pass user profile?

It just turns on and shows profile.

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Hello sir, my question is about "add to list on the third step?"

After your second step of adding to list (+), on my system, I can't check or click it.

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Recent edits by: Nuance, Haroon.qaisar, tas

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