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Best password recovery solutions

Best password recovery solutions
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Ai825)

Losing your password is sometimes nothing more than a minor inconvenience, but it can also lead to serious problems in certain situations. Online service providers are more concerned than ever about customer privacy, so they often make the password recovery process difficult in order to deter potential attackers.

With that in mind, password recovery applications are an affordable way to mitigate the risk of losing one or multiple passwords. While these programs largely target professionals, they can also be extremely helpful for students and home users. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of the best password recovery solutions on the market. Keep in mind that these programs are explicitly designed to help users retrieve their own lost passwords—they should never be used to compromise another person’s account or information.

Best password recovery solutions — at a glance

  • Passware Kit
  • Ophcrack
  • Lazesoft Recover My Password Home
  • John the Ripper
  • Trinity Rescue Kit

Best password recovery solutions

Passware Kit Basic costs $49 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee (Image credit: Password Kit)

Passware Kit

Accessible password recovery for all users

Excellent ease of use
Recovers roughly 70% of all passwords
Provides immediate results for some passwords
Take advantage of AMD and NVIDIA GPU acceleration
Pricey compared to some alternatives
Mac version specifically costs more than $1,000

Passware is currently among the most popular password recovery solutions. It can recover around 70% of user passwords, so it has a decent chance of retrieving your information.

The provider has a variety of recovery kits for both home and business users, and pricing varies widely depending on your needs. Basic, for example, costs $49 and works on Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10, along with Server 2003, 2008, 2012, and 2016. It comes with a short response time for many file types through its “Instant Recovery” system, as well as brute force strategies.

Upgrading to Kit Standard Plus for $195 adds support for password managers, as well as recent server accounts, local Windows accounts, and Microsoft Live ID accounts. Like any other password recovery solution, Passware Kit can’t guarantee a successful recovery. That said, it’s still one of the top platforms to consider if you need to retrieve a lost password.

Best password recovery solutions

Ophcrack is a free and open-source Windows password recovery solution (Image credit: Ophcrack)

Ophcrack

Free password recovery on a CD or flash drive

Extremely easy to use
Install directly to a CD or flash drive
Doesn’t require any knowledge of the password
Doesn’t support Windows 10 passwords
Doesn’t support passwords with 15 or more characters
Takes more storage space than similar programs

Like Passware Kit, Ophcrack is intended for all users, regardless of their previous experience. You should be able to learn the program quickly even if you’ve never cracked a password.

In contrast to many other platforms, Ophcrack offers direct installation to a flash drive or CD. You can then boot from the Ophcrack ISO file to use its password recovery tools. The process involves very little work—Ophcrack will find accounts automatically and attempt recovery on its own.

Unfortunately, while Ophcrack is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 8, it doesn’t currently support Windows 10 passwords. 

Along with its efficient “rainbow tables” method, Ophcrack utilizes conventional brute force tactics for simple passwords. As a free open-source solution, it’s a great value and an excellent option for password recovery in 2020.

Best password recovery solutions

Lazesoft Recover My Password supports all major Windows releases since XP and 2000 SP4 (Image credit: Lazesoft Recover My Password)

Lazesoft Recover My Password Home

A strong success rate with free recovery for individual users

Simple to install and get started
Compatible with flash drives and CDs
Completely free for personal use
Informative knowledge base
Each operating system requires a separate boot media

Lazesoft is a Windows password recovery tool that’s entirely free for individual users. With Lazesoft, you’ll have the option to remove your admin password and manually unlock, disable, or enable individual user accounts.

Considering it’s available as a free download, it’s highly impressive that Lazesoft has a 100% success rate for admin password recoveries on Windows releases, including 2000, XP, Vista, 8, 8.1, and 10. It also provides the option to recover product keys from your Windows installation.

Furthermore, there’s a thorough knowledge base and FAQ with answers to common questions and technical concerns. Users can contact Lazesoft directly through email if they run into any issues, another unusual feature for a free service.

Best password recovery solutions

While John the Ripper is free and open source, the Pro version provides easier installation and starts at $39.95 (Image credit: Openwall.com)

John the Ripper

Unix, Windows, and macOS password recovery

Free and open source
Supports macOS, Linux, Windows, Unix, and other operating systems
Small download
Limited to command line
Wordlists and native applications are paid

John the Ripper is a powerful and flexible password recovery solution for Windows, macOS, Linux, Unix, and other operating systems. Although it’s technically open source, the free version is distributed exclusively as source code and is therefore intended for experienced users. The Pro version provides a native application for macOS and Linux users and starts at $39.95.

Regardless of the option you select, John the Ripper doesn’t have a graphical user interface. With that in mind, novice users should consider one of the more accessible applications on this list. Unfortunately, even the “free” version requires paid wordlists, so there isn’t an easy way to use the service without paying.

Best password recovery solutions

Trinity Rescue Kit offers free recovery and repair for both Linux and Windows passwords (Image credit: Trinity Rescue Kit)

Trinity Rescue Kit

Free command-line password recovery with flexible functionality

Free to use
Quickly delete Windows passwords
Comes with a variety of additional features
No GUI
May be too complex for novice users

Trinity Rescue Kit is a Linux distribution designed to recover Windows passwords, although it can also be used for Linux recovery. Trinity makes it easy to reset your passwords, and it also comes with extra tools, including disk cleanup and virus scanning.

While TRK supports recovery for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10, it’s only designed to run on Linux. This makes it a less practical option if you don’t have experience with Linux distributions. On the other hand, given its flexibility and positive reputation, it’s worth considering for more experienced users.