Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Forgot your Windows password? No problems : Password resetting and recovering techniques

Forgot your Windows password? No problems : Password resetting and recovering techniques
A lot of people think that after having lost their Windows admin password, they absolutely have to reinstall their OS. Let me tell you something: They are wrong! There are a couple of free utilities on the internet that let you get back in your system without a sweat (or almost). Some risks are associated with the procedure, but who cares? You do have to get back in right?As a system administrator, I've tried a couple of these utilities through the years, and my personal favorite is the Offline NT password & Registry editor. This utility is used to reset the password of any user that has a valid and local account on any NT based system: NT4, 2000, XP and 2003. If you need to reset a password stored in active directory, stop right here, this editor will not allow you to do it. Follow this marvelous guide instead (Page won't load in IE, the author doesn't seem to like Internet explorer). You could also try to unravel the password using a brute-force hacking technique, but it could take a while.The editor works offline. This means that you will have to shutdown your system and use the utility on a bootable media. A fully functional automatic bootdisk creator can be downloaded via the author's website (on the bottom of the page). The created disk has everything you need to start working on your inaccessible system. The bootdisk supports IDE, most SATA controller and also some SCSI controllers. You can also access the editor via the Ultimate Boot CD. UBCD is a very good product that gives you access to a lot of essential freeware tools to help you diagnostic various computer problems.

How does it work? Just follow the instructions provided by the author. They are pretty straightforward, with minimal interaction required by the user, so most default choices will get you through.WARNING: If you have some encrypted files (EFS) saved on your system and you reset a password, all the files for that user will become unavailable. You could always recover them using an EFS recovery software like the Advanced EFS Data Recovery utility from Elcomsoft. This utility works great, but it is not free. To prevent this from happening, you can also consult this detailed article from Microsoft about Data Protection and EFS Recovery.

If you want to try your luck with something else, you may want to check Austrumi out. Austrumi is a live Linux distribution CD that allows you, amongst other things, to reset your password the same way the Offline NT password & Registry editor does. Just create a bootable CD with the provided ISO, and boot on it. When you get at the prompt, type boot: nt_pass. This will start the utility and display a menu that let you modify any user's password on the current system. NT_pass is only included in version 0.9.2, so be sure to get this distribution if you want to use this feature. Another technique to recover your password would be to use a software that let you do some brute-force hacking on your SAM database

Make an Invisible person in your photo

Make an Invisible person in your photo

Quite a few people have emailed me to ask how I create the Invisibilia pics. At first I didn't want to reveal my mystical secrets, but then I saw the light and decided to share the wisdom. It's actually very easy. I am not a great artist after all.

Step 1: Find a photo that you like, such as this one.

Step 2: Open the photo in Photoshop (or another similar graphics program). You need to have a white base layer, then another layer with the photo in it and then a transparent layer above it. Three layers, ok? You're going to trace the photo in the top, transparent layer. To make things easier to trace, you might like to reduce the opacity of the photo layer (but remember to click back on the top layer or you end up tracing in the photo layer, which is very annoying).

Step 3: Right. Now trace the layer with a small brush. Use whatever style you like, but leave no gaps!

Step 4: Right. You've traced the photo. Well done. If you want to see what the tracing looks like, turn off the visibility of the photo layer.

Step 5: Use the magic wand, and in the top transparent layer, click outside the tracing, so that everything except the tracing is selected. Then, go to Select > Inverse. Now, only the tracing should be selected. See below for exciting results.

Step 6: Now, click back on to the photo layer.

Step 7: Press delete or cut, and hey presto! You've deleted the area in the photo directly below the tracing!

Step 8: Deselect everything, put the photo layer opacity back to 100% and you've done it. Now you too can rip off my style and impress your friends.

Cor! It's so simple.