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Best password recovery tool

In this guide, we take a close look at six of the leading password recovery tools available today

post-it notes on a laptop with password information

Although the best password managers are widely used, most people don’t know much about the best password recovery tools. Despite this, these tools are extremely useful, and the chances are that you will need to use one at some point in your life. Here’s why. 

Most people have at least a handful of password-protected accounts for everyday life, and many of us have a whole lot of them. These can range from everyday tools like social media and email to extremely sensitive accounts such as online banking and investment portfolios. You might also use passwords to protect important documents, to lock your password manager, and even to log into your computer. 

And sometimes these can be lost.

With a password recovery tool, you will be able to attempt to recover your passwords. This can be difficult, and these tools won’t always work. But when they do, they can be lifesavers, restoring access to important accounts and enabling you to update your details. 

In this guide, we take a closer look at the best password recovery tools on the market today. We’ve listed a variety of free and premium options, with programs for tech-fluent professionals and computer newbies alike. 

It’s important to be aware that many of these programs could be used for illegal purposes, including hacking someone else’s account. Password recovery tools should only be used to recover lost details for accounts you own.

Best password recovery tools compared

Features and prices

 Price rangeFree versionDesktop SupportCustomer Service
Passware Kit£42.15 to £941.84, one-time paymentNoWindows, macOS (with upgrade)Online ticketing
John the RipperFree to £150.78, one-time paymentYesWindows, macOS, Linux, plus othersEmail (with upgrade)
Lazesoft Recover My PasswordFree to £130.15, one-time paymentYesWindowsEmail
OphcrackFreeYesWindowsLimited self-help resources
Trinity Rescue KitFreeYesWindows, LinuxLimited self-help resources
Hash SuiteFree to £717.19, one-time paymentYesWindowsLimited self-help resources

The best password recovery tools available today

Passware Kit

Passware Kit's homepage

Passware Kit

Best overall password recovery tool

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Free version: No
  • Desktop support: Windows, macOS (with upgrade)
  • Customer service: Online ticketing

REASONS TO BUY

  • Very easy to use
  • Provides rapid results 
  • Excellent success rate

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Cheaper versions are quite limited
  • Mac support is expensive

Passware offers some of the world’s best password recovery solutions. Its main product, Passware Kit, is used throughout the world by business and personal customers alike. It’s extremely useful for recovering lost passwords, and it’s an affordable option as well. 

For starters, the Passware Kit user interface is stunningly designed. It’s very easy to navigate, and you can perform virtually any action with just a couple of clicks. The cheapest Basic license (£42.15) supports over 50 encrypted password file types, and this number increases to over 300 with the most expensive Forensic license (£941.84). 

All licenses come with support for Windows computers and can be used to recover Microsoft and OpenOffice document passwords, among other things. The Standard license ($195) and above comes with tools to unlock password managers, and macOS support is available with the Forensic edition. 

On the downside, customer service is quite limited. It will be a little overwhelming for many personal users, but this is largely due to the sheer number of tools on offer. 

Overall, though, Passware Kit performs admirably. It’s one of the best password recovery tools we’ve used, it’s affordable, and it has an excellent success rate. If you’re looking for a great all-around password recovery tool for general use, Passware Kit should be among your top choices.

Read our full Passware Kit review.

John The Ripper

John the Ripper's homepage

John the Ripper

Brilliant cross-platform compatibility

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Free version: Yes
  • Desktop support: Windows, Linux, macOS, plus others
  • Customer service: Email (with the premium package)

REASONS TO BUY

  • Supports loads of password types
  • Compatible with a selection of operating systems
  • Open source and free

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Requires command-line knowledge
  • The setup process can be quite difficult

John the Ripper is an advanced password recovery tool that’s designed for system administrators and other IT professionals. It’s quite complicated to set up, and you will require command-line knowledge to use it, which means that it’s not a viable option for your average user. 

But for the right people, John the Ripper is excellent. The base version of the program is free and open-source, enabling you to download it on Windows, Linux, macOS, and other devices. It can be used to crack more than 400 types of passwords across these operating systems.

Those looking for a slightly less technical solution—albeit one that still needs command-line knowledge—might like to purchase one of the premium versions of John the Ripper. These are available for Linux and macOS, and prices start from £32.56 for a lifetime license. You can add free future upgrades with an £73.31 license and email support with a £150.78 license. 

John the Ripper might not be a great password recovery tool for the average user, but it still has a lot to bring to the party. Its sheer power and the number of files it supports are excellent, and we believe that it’s a tool that every IT professional should be familiar with.

Read our John the Ripper review.

Lazesoft Recover My Password 

Lazesoft Recover My Password's homepage

Lazesoft

Best for Windows password recovery

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Free version: Yes
  • Desktop support: Windows
  • Customer service: Email

REASONS TO BUY

  • Easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly installation process
  • Neat free-forever version

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Security practices are a little suspect
  • Functionality is limited to Windows password recovery

Lazesoft Recover My Password is a program with quite limited functionality, but it’s an excellent option for specific uses. It's designed to help you recover admin passwords so that you can access locked accounts, and it has an excellent success rate. 

If you’re planning to use it to recover a personal account, you can download Lazesoft Recover My Password for free. This supports full password and account recovery. However, a premium license is required for business use, and prices vary according to their main features. 

A basic Professional lifetime license costs just £14.63. The Server edition, which enables account recovery on locked servers, comes in at £64.79, while the enterprise-level Unlimited edition costs £130.15.

One thing that stands out about Lazesoft Recover My Password is its claimed 100% success rate. If this is indeed true, it’s excellent. If not, we can be confident that it’s at least close to this, which remains excellent. 

On the downside, only email support is available. There is a decent selection of self-help resources, which are useful. Another thing we noticed is that Lazesoft offers next to no information about its security procedures, which is a slight concern since it’s dealing with your sensitive passwords and other information. 

Overall, though, Lazesoft Recover My Password remains an excellent choice for those who are locked out of their Windows account.

Read our Lazesoft Recover My Password review.

Ophcrack

Ophcrack's homepage

Ophcrack

An advanced free Windows password cracker

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Free version: Yes
  • Desktop support: Windows
  • Customer service: Limited self-help resources

REASONS TO BUY

  • Very beginner-friendly and easy to use
  • Requires no prior knowledge or experience

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Limited usefulness with longer passwords
  • No Mac or mobile versions

Ophcrack is right up there with the best free password recovery tools we’ve used, and for good reason. It’s available across numerous Windows and Linux operating systems, is 100% free to download, and is straightforward and intuitive to use. 

On top of this, you only ever have to download Ophcrack once. Simply download the ISO image, save it to a CD or removable storage device, and then use this to boot the program on any device required. 

At the time of writing, Ophcrack was available across Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10 operating systems. The Linux version is available for all popular distributions, but you will need a little more technical knowledge to use it effectively.

One thing that stands out about Ophcrack’s service is its use of rainbow tables rather than standard brute force attacks to crack passwords. Basically, this method is significantly quicker, more effective, and very straightforward to implement. 

All things considered, Ophcrack is one of the most useful password recovery programs available today, and we’d highly recommend downloading and testing it. 

Read our full Ophcrack review

Trinity Rescue Kit 

Trinity Rescue Kit's homepage

Trinity Rescue Kit

A technical option for more experienced users

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Free version: Yes
  • Desktop support: Windows, Linux
  • Customer service: Limited self-help resources

REASONS TO BUY

  • 100% free forever
  • Designed to help you delete unknown passwords
  • Excellent documentation and help resources

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Hasn't been updated in years 
  • Requires advanced command-line knowledge

Trinity Rescue Kit is an interesting password recovery tool, in that it’s a free Linux distribution that’s designed to help you recover Windows passwords. It requires advanced command-line experience and a decent level of technical experience, which means that it’s not a great option for novice users. 

However, Trinity Rescue Kit is one of the most powerful password recovery tools we’ve used. Virtually any Windows passwords can be reset or recovered using the advanced features, and the recovery rate is excellent. Sadly however, the programme appears to have not been updated in years, and it lacks support for several USB drives and network setups.

Backed by a suite of additional computer repair and maintenance tools, including a range of virus scanning integrations, a file cleaner to remove unnecessary temporary files, and an undeletion tool to recover lost documents, one noteworthy feature is its extensive documentation.

This is among the best we’ve ever seen, and makes it very straightforward to use the program. Although it’s a little technical in places, it contains everything you will need to use Trinity Rescue Kit, even if your command-line experience is fairly limited.

Read our full Trinity Rescue Kit review.

Hash Suite

Hash Suite's homepage

Hash Suite

A great option for Windows users

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Free version: Yes
  • Desktop support: Windows, Linux
  • Customer service: Limited self-help resources

REASONS TO BUY

  • The free version is powerful and effective
  • Supports numerous password types

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Requires advanced technical knowledge
  • Support options are expensive and a little limited

Although it’s primarily designed as a security tool to help IT professionals and security administrators test the strength of their passwords, Hash Suite also has great password recovery potential. It’s a free, open-source program, although there are also pro versions available

Now, one thing worth noting here is that Hash Suite is far from the most straightforward password recovery tool we’ve used. It requires a significant amount of technical knowledge, including familiarity with the Java runtime environment. 

The free version is available for both Windows and Android, and it’s one of the best Android password crackers we’ve used. Customer service isn’t available, though, and you won’t be able to access advanced reports, free upgrades, and various other high-end features. 

The Hash Suite Standard version is designed for more knowledgeable individual users. It supports all LM hash passwords, md5crypt passwords up to 15 characters long, and most other types of passwords up to 27 characters in length. A single Standard license will cost you £32.56 for lifetime access.  

The Pro version is even more advanced, with support for enhanced reports, remote account importation, multiple GPUs, and automated weak password remediation. It is a little pricey, with a single license coming in at £73.31

Premium support options are also available. You can purchase Basic support (£65.16) for up to two hours of support over one year, or go for the Advanced option (£717.19) for up to 10 hours of support over two years.

Further reading on password managers

Take a look at our other guides to the best free password managers and the best password managers for business. It's also worth looking at our top five things to consider before buying a password manager. We also look at whether open-source password managers are safe to use, whether password managers are safe, and how you can test password strength via a series of free tools.

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