Windows Vista Password Woes
Posted on: October 3rd, 2008
Microsoft has tightened the security measures in Vista as compared to XP. Unfortunately these do not really give more security but more like more headaches. One of these headaches is the user account passwords.
For Windows XP there are at least two excellent tools exist to handle the situation when someone forgets his password and thus can’t use the computer anymore. None of these work for Vista. Our search for comparable tools has not yielded results. Only thing we found is a brute force password guesser.
So if you forgot your password to log in to your Vista account then you are up the creek without a paddle. Vista has a password reset feature but you can only use it if you previously made a password recovery disk. 99.9% of the people will not think about it until they are locked out of their computers. I’ve set up numerous Vista machines it never ever prompted me to create a password recovery disk. Kind of useless.
Knowing well the inside workings of a Windows machine I can tell you that having a password will not guarantee any safety for your data. It maybe stop your 12 year old from accessing your files but anybody with a little bit higher computer knowledge will find no obstables accessing your information regardless of your password. Vista is no different in this respect than XP. Unless you use drive encryption then your data is basically open to anyone who has physical access to your computer.
My recommendation is this:
If you have private, confidential information on your computer it’s much better to use software solutions like TrueCrypt (http://filehippo.com/download_truecrypt/) which will ensure that your data is not accessible unless one knows the password to it. However do not forget the password to that either. I recently got a call from a small business which used TrueCrypt to store their sensitive data but somehow the password was forgotten. I had to tell them there’s no way to crack that without supercomputers.
Just don’t rely on the false security of user passwords.
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