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Cracking Windows Vista Beta 2 Local Passwords

December 27th, 2006

While I was playing around with Windows Vista Beta 2 I decided to see if some of the old tools for cracking local account password still worked. It would seem that Microsoft has changed how the SAM file and SYSKEY work in Vista so none of my old tricks that use to work with NT 4/2000/XP functioned anymore.

I quickly found that most of the current tools as of this writing(Ophcrack 2.3, Cain 2.9, SAMInside 2.5.7.0, Pwdump3) no longer work, which I have mixed feelings about. It´s nice to see the extra level of security, but cracking local passwords was always sort of fun as well as useful from time to time. When I tried to crack local passwords extracted from copied SAM and SYSTEM hive files I would get the following errors: Ophcrack: “Error: no valid hash was found in this file”, Cain: “Couldn´t find lsa subkey in the hive file.”

While tools like Sala’s Password Renew could still be use from a Bart’s PE boot CD to change any Vista password you wanted, or to create new admin accounts entirely, sometime you need to know the current administrator password.Read Full Story

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