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Losing a password is not just a frustrating experience, it can be a very serious one if you can't access valuable personal files or information. Luckily there are a number of excellent password recovery tools to help you out should you find yourself in this situation. We've picked out six of the best.
This free password cracker works across Windows, Linux/Unix, Mac OS X and comes with a handy graphical user interface which can run on multiple platforms. There is the option of downloading it directly, or downloading a LiveCD so this is a flexible choice, especially for personal and occasional use. Find out more about Orphcrack's features and check if it is compatible with your OS.
For people without an available CD drive, UNetbootin 6.08 is on hand for Linux, Mac and Windows users. It will download and open files at an available USB drive of your choosing. It is efficient and runs the whole process for you, but testers have found that some (unknown) hardware issues can prevent the process completing. Worth trying as it is free. It can also be used to load a number of system facilities, including Partition Manager. Find out more about if it is the right programme for your needs.
It might not be your computer passwords that have become inaccessible, if your network router is the cause of the problem this is the programme for you. It works on any version of Windows, starting from Windows 2000 and up to Windows 8. It is also free. It enables you to recover passwords from the configuration file created by a router, including the login user and password of your ISP, the login password of your router, and wireless keys. Find out more about this free software and download it. This utility allows you to recover passwords or other data from the configuration file created by a router, including the login user/password of your ISP, the login password of your router, and wireless keys."
If you've inherited a used laptop or tablet that hasn't yet been cleaned up for you to use, you could use this programme to login via the Windows password. It will also allow you to recover passwords for Microsoft Word, Excel, Windows, Outlook Express and more. And this is another free programme! Find out more.
This tool is slightly different in that it resets passwords rather than recovering them. You install the burned CD then follow the instructions from the Command panel so it is more of an option for people with some advanced technical skills even though you don't have to be a computer programmer to manage this. It is also free and compatible with a range of Windows systems.
This is another resetting programme for Windows computers. It works on CD and USB drives, promising a 100% recovery rate. Windows Key is a great option for IT professionals with lots of computers and passwords to manage. There is a free trial version, as well as Standard ($39.00) and Enterprise ($295.00) which resets domain passwords for an unlimited number of systems. Visit the official website