Archive for the ‘Free Software’ category

How to Boot An Existing VirtualBox VM from USB Drive

January 23rd, 2015 by Admin

How can I get a VirtualBox virtual machine to boot from a physical USB drive? The problem is that the GUI of Oracle VirtualBox does not have an option to set boot from USB. Luckily there is a workaround to boot a VirtualBox virtual machine from USB drive.

Just create a new virtual hard disk (VMDK) file and use it as a raw disk that VirtualBox maps to your USB drive. When you boot your virtual machine from the newly-created virtual hard drive, it will load the operating system on your USB stick. Here’s how.

How to Boot An Existing VirtualBox VM from USB Drive?

  1. Before doing anything, make sure you’ve created a bootable USB drive and plugged it into your computer. Now we need to find the disk number of your physical USB drive.
  2. Press Windows Key + R to bring up the Run box, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter to open the Disk Management window. Locate your USB drive and note its disk number. In my case, the USB drive is listed as “Disk 1“, so the disk number is 1.

    disk-management

  3. Once you have the disk number, open up the Command Prompt as administrator. Use the cd command to navigate to VirtualBox’s installation directory. If you have installed VirtualBox in any other directory or drive, then change the command accordingly.

    cd %programfiles%\Oracle\VirtualBox

  4. Enter the following command while replacing # with the actual disk number you found above.

    VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename C:\exusb.vmdk -rawdisk \\.\PhysicalDrive#

    create-virtual-hard-drive

    You can replace C:\extusb.vmdk with any file path you want. This command creates a virtual machine disk (VMDK) file that points to the physical USB drive.

  5. Now open up the VirtualBox with administrative rights. If not, VirtualBox will fail to boot from the USB drive. In the VirtualBox main window, select your target virtual machine and click Settings.

    virtualbox-manager

  6. Click on the Storage tab. Under the Storage Tree section, highlight Controller:IDE and then click on the “Add Hard Disk” icon to the right.

    virtualbox-settings

  7. In the popup box, click Choose existing disk and then choose the VDMK file (C:\exusb.vdmk in the example) you created in step 4. When this is done, click OK to save your changes.

    add-virtual-hard-drive

  8. Now starts Virtual machine and you’ll see that it starts booting from your physical USB drive. As you can see from the image below, I’ve successfully booted into my PCUnlocker Live USB drive.

    pcunlocker

With this method you can install the operating system from the USB stick, or boot your existing VirtualBox virtual machine from other third-party rescure & recovery USB drives.

Bypass Windows Password with Freeware UBCD4Win

January 20th, 2015 by Admin

Locked out of a computer but need to be able to log in as a local admin? What you need to do is set up a UBCD4Win (also known as Ultimate Boot CD for Windows) live CD, boot up the computer with it and run the NTPWEdit tool to clear forgotten Windows password.

UBCD4Win is based on BartPE, and it requires the Windows XP CD (with SP1 or SP2). This article we’ll walk through the steps required to create a UBCD4Win bootable CD and then use it to bypass Windows administrator password.

Note: UBCD4Win is a freeware so don’t expect it to work with domain controllers. If you want to find a more powerful yet easy-to-use password recovery software, try the PCUnlocker Live CD.

Part 1: Create A UBCD4Win Bootable CD

  1. Download the freeware UBCD4Win from its official website. The download is pretty big (about 269Mb), so expect to wait a while if your network connection is slow.
  2. After installing, start the UBCD4Win (UBCD4WinBuilder.exe) program. Point the “Source” path to your Windows XP setup CD or Windows 2003 installation CD. However, Vista is not yet supported as a source.

    UBCD4Win-PE-Builder

  3. Insert a blank CD, select “Burn to CD/DVD” and click Build. The whole process will take a little while.

Part 2: Bypass Windows Admin Password

  1. Once the CD has been created, go to the BIOS and make sure your CD-ROM is set as the first boot device. Start up the computer with UBCD4Win in the CD-ROM and you will have some boot options. Choose the “Launch The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows” option.

    ubcd4win-boot-menu

  2. It will take a few minutes to load fully, but when it does you should see a Windows XP like interface. Once there, go to Start > Programs > Password Tools > NTPWEdit.

    ubcd4win

  3. Once the utility is open, you need to click the (Re)open button to open up the SAM file which should show you the list of local system accounts for your Windows installation. Select the Administrator account and click on Change Password.

    nwpwedit

  4. Type your new password twice, or leave the password fields blank if you want to clear the password. Click OK.

    change-admin-password

  5. Restart the computer, remove the UBCD4Win Live CD from the drive, and you should be able to log into Windows administrator account with the new password you’ve set.

How to Reset Forgotten Windows Password with Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD)

January 15th, 2015 by Admin

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to crack and reset Windows password when you forget it or want to unlock a computer with an unknown password. There are tons of recovery tools available to bypass password, but here I’ll use the freeware Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD).

Ultimate Boot CD is a Linux-based bootable disc with loads of useful software for repairing or fixing almost any Windows problem. The built-in chntpw utility could be used to wipe windows passwords and view/edit the registry. Here’s how.

Note: Ultimate Boot CD is a freeware so don’t expect it to work with domain controllers. If you want to find a more powerful yet easy-to-use password recovery software, try the PCUnlocker Live CD.

How to Reset Forgotten Windows Password with Ultimate Boot CD?

Before getting started, you need to download the Ultimate Boot CD (about 588Mb) from its official website, and then burn it to a CD. With the CD you can follow the steps below to reset forgotten Windows 8/7/Vista/XP password:

  1. Boot your locked computer from Ultimate Boot CD. On the boot menu of Ultimate Boot CD, choose Parted Magic and press Enter.

    ultimate-boot-cd

  2. The next screen you have to select your graphic settings. Just select option 1 and press Enter to use the default settings.

    parted-magic

  3. Once you are presented with the Parted Magic desktop, go to the left bottom corner of the screen and choose System Tools -> Change Windows Password.

    change-windows-password

  4. A new small window will open. It lists all Windows partitions detected on your local hard drive. Click on the correct drive and it will start the chntpw utility in the console.

    select-windows-installation

  5. You will now be presented with the chntpw Main Interactive Menu. Type 1 and press Enter.

    chntpw

  6. This will list out all of the Windows users on the system. Type the name of your desired user and press Enter.

    enter-username

  7. You will now be given the option to blank out the password, as well as several other ways to promote or unlock the user account. Type 1 and press Enter, it will remove the existing password.

    user-edit-menu

  8. If you don’t want to reset other user password, type ! and press Enter.

    quit-edit-menu

  9. Type q and hit Enter at this point to quit the User Edit Menu.

    quit-chntpw

  10. You will then be asked to write the registry hive to disk. Type y to confirm and save your changes.

    write-hive-files

  11. Now you can reboot, and you can log into your Windows account with a blank password. Once you’re logged in, you can go to the Control Panel to change your password to something else — something you can remember.

Download PVSCSI Driver for VMware Paravirtual SCSI

November 25th, 2014 by Admin

When VMware released ESXi 4.0, they officially supported booting your OS drive from a paravirtual SCSI controller. Comparing to BusLogic and LSI Logic, Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI) controllers are high-performance storage controllers that can result in greater throughput and lower CPU utilization. However, since Windows doesn’t have native driver for the VMware PVSCSI adapter, you will find that a paravirtualized hard disk can’t be recognized during Windows installation or booting from WinPE.

To fix this problem you need to grab the pvscsi driver and add it to your WinPE bootdisk, or load the driver on the fly. But it’s not easy to extract pvscsi boot floppy images from VMware ESXi. Lucikly I came across a floppy disk image called pvscsi_windows2008.flp under my VMware Workstation installation directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\Resources.

For your convenience, we load the pvscsi-Windows2008.flp image in our virtual floppy drive and then archive the setup files in both .iso and .zip formats. Below you can download pvscsi driver for VMware Paravirtual SCSI in different formats:

Microsoft Tool to Download Windows 8.1 ISO and Create Installation Media

November 12th, 2014 by Admin

Ready to install or reinstall Windows 8.1 but you don’t have a installation disc? In the past, it’s quite difficult to grab a copy of Windows setup ISO image, even if you have a genuine product key at hand. And now, thanks to a new online tool from Microsoft – Windows Installation Media Creating Tool, which lets you to download Windows 8.1 ISO image and create a installation media right away.

To download and create a bootable CD or USB flash drive with the Windows 8.1 installation files, please follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to Microsoft’s installation tool webpage, and then click the Create media button to download Windows Installation Media Creation Tool (about 1.26 Mb).
  2. Once the file finishes downloading, double-click it to launch the Windows Installation Media Creation Tool. Connect your USB flash drive (at least 4 GB of space should be available) or insert a blank DVD.
  3. This program allows you to select your desired language, Windows 8.1 edition and system architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). As far as editions are concerned, you can get Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, the N versions of both operating systems, or a single language Windows 8.1 version.

    media-creation-tool

  4. After clicking the Next button, you’ll be presented with two options to save the installation file: create a Windows 8.1 installation USB drive or save the setup ISO image for later user. If you don’t have a USB drive at hand, you should select the 2nd option to save the installation ISO image on your PC which can then be burned to a DVD.

    save-windows-installation

  5. Click Next to download or create the install media. This will take a while depending on the speed of your Internet connection and Windows 8.1 edition that you’re downloading.

    download-installation-file

    Once this is done, you can use the USB flash drive to perform a clean install of Windows 8.1 right away, or burn the ISO image to CD/USB with the freeware ISO2Disc.

How to Take Screenshots with Freeware Greenshot

October 22nd, 2014 by Admin

There are many programs available for taking screenshots. If you’re looking for a free option, Greenshot is is an excellent and open source screenshot tool for Microsoft Windows. It is free for both personal and commercial use. It’s much easier for a beginner to use than some paid screenshot tools. Here’s how to install Greenshot and use it to take screenshots in Windows 7.

How to Take Screenshots with Freeware Greenshot?

You can grab a free copy of Greenshot from its official website. Compatible with all Windows versions, the downloaded file is sized at nearly 1.3Mb. Double-click the setup file you have downloaded to install it on your computer.

After installation, right-click on the Greenshot icon in the system tray to access the Greenshot menu. Using this menu, you can take different types of screenshots, open an image in the Greenshot editor, set Preferences, and perform several other useful tasks.

capture-window

As an example, we’re going to take a screenshot of the Skype application. Simple select the Capture window from the Greenshot menu, and you can then pick the Skype window to capture with a single click.

skype

Thankfully, Greenshot also provides a list of keyboard shortcuts that making the jobs easier. If you need to take a screenshot for an active window, simply press the Alt + PrntScr hotkey. While pressing Ctrl + PrntScr you can capture the full screen.

greenshot

Once a screenshot has been captured, a popup menu will display asking what you want to do with the screenshot. We can choose to save it to a folder, or open it in Greenshot’s image editor to add some enhancements to it.

Conclusion

Greenshot may not be the best screenshot-taking program. But it handles most basic screen capture needs easily. If you don’t need to capture video and don’t mind editing captures in another program, it does everything you are likely to need. In fact, Greenshot has become my screen capture program of choice.

How to Disable Malware Protection in Firefox

September 29th, 2014 by Admin

Firefox 32 integrates Google’s Safe Browsing API with a safe browsing blocklist that identifies potentially malicious executables downloaded by the user. However, the browser is never capable of detecting malicious files successfully. Today when I try to download the freeware fgdump, Firefox keeps blocking it from being downloaded and says “Blocked: May contain a virus or spyware“.

firfox-block-download

Eventually I find a way to disable the malware protection in Firefox, and I can then download fgdump without any issue.

How to Disable Malware Protection in Firefox?

  1. In Firefox, open a new tab, then type about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click the button promising to be careful.
  2. In the search box above the list, type or paste browser.safebrowsing.malware.enabled and press Enter.
  3. Double-click the browser.safebrowsing.malware.enabled preference. It should switch from true to false and regular type to bold.disable-safebrowsing

Basically, what I would like to do is turn off just the malware protection feature, but leave the other safe-browsing features enabled. If you want to disable all safe-browsing features completely, use the same method above the set browser.safebrowsing.enabled to false.

How to Reset Forgotten Syskey / Startup Password with Freeware

July 31st, 2014 by Admin

Forgot the syskey startup password and can’t boot up your system? In my previous post, I outlined how to lock your computer with syskey. SysKey is a little-known feature of Windows that allows users to lock out access to the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) registry hive so that login credentials cannot be cracked. The problem is, unlike BIOS password or Windows account password, there is no reliable way to get around the syskey startup password.

syskey

In the event of losing a syskey password, you can restore your computer back to an earlier point without syskey enabled. If there is no any restore point on the machine, the last resort is to try this freeware – Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, which can help you reset lost syskey startup password on Windows XP.

Note: This software is without any warranty. Please take at your own risk. It will not work on Windows 8, 7, Vista, or any higher version than Window XP. (Using it on Vista or windows 7 will cause a continuous reboot loop.)

How to Reset Forgotten Syskey / Startup Password?

  1. Download the CD image of Offline NT Password & Registry Editor from its official website and burn it to a blank CD.
  2. Boot your affected computer from the CD that you created. You may have to go into the BIOS settings to change the boot order to set CD/DVD as the first boot device.
  3. The boot CD will take you to the command prompt. The first thing you need to do is select your system partition:

    select-partition

  4. With the system partition selected, the utility then prompts you to specify the registry directory to edit. The default is fine, so hit Enter.

    registry-path

  5. Next you can choose whether to use password reset or some other thing, so just hit Enter for password reset.

    load-sam

  6. Next you’ll be prompted whether you want to edit user passwords or change syskey. You want to reset syskey startup password, so type 2 and hit Enter.

    reset-syskey

  7. Type y and press Enter to confirm the syskey disable.

    disable-syskey

  8. Once it’s done, type q to quit and hit Enter again.

    exit-chtnpw

  9. Type y to save your changes to disk. At this point you can reboot your computer.

    write-changes

As you can see, with Offline NT Password & Registry Editor you’re able to reset forgotten syskey startup password in minutes. However, the utility can just as easily destroy a Windows system’s data. For that reason, the tool should only be used as a last resort.

Offline Change Windows Password with Trinity Rescue Kit

April 10th, 2014 by Admin

How to change Windows password after you’ve forgotten your password? You can easily change the password of any user account from the Control Panel with admin privileges. However, if you’re locked out of your computer, you need to use a boot CD to change the account password offline.

Trinity Rescue Kit (TRK) is a free live Linux CD that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines. It has integrated the chntpw tool which allows you to edit / change a Windows user password offline. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to change Windows password offline with Trinity Rescue Kit.

Note: TRK is a command-line utility which doesn’t come with a GUI interface. If you’re not a Linux geek, I would recommend you to use the PCUnlocker Live CD which is a Windows PE bootdisk with graphical interface.

Offline Change Windows Password with Trinity Rescue Kit

  1. Download the ISO image of Trinity Rescue Kit and burn it to your CD. After you have burned a disc, place it in the CD/DVD drive of your locked computer and get the machine to boot from Trinity Rescue CD.
  2. When TRK loads you get a list of tasks TRK can perform. Navigate down to the 4th option (Windows Password Resetting) using the arrow keys and press Enter once it is highlighted.

    Windows-Password-Resetting

  3. Once you select that option, you get a list of ways you can select to reset your lost password. Here we select the Winpass prompts for username first option (Winpass is actually just an automated script for the chntpw tool). TRK will ask you the username whose password you want to reset.

    Winpass-prompts-for-username

  4. At this point, TRK will search your hard drive for all currently Windows installations and list them. You’ll need to select the relevant installation here. If you have only one OS installed, then merely press 1 and hit Enter.
  5. Now, at the final stage, you will get yet another list of options. Here, choose the “Edit (set new) user password” option. Press 2 to change your Windows password offline.

    chntpw-change-windows-password

  6. Now reject the TRK CD and restart the computer. You can log on to Windows with your new password!

How to Recover Windows Password with Cain & Abel

February 13th, 2014 by Admin

There are chances that you might get locked out of your computer because of forgotten the administrator password. So you then need to find some programs to crack / recover your password. As far as password recovery utilities go, Cain & Abel is by far one of the best freeware out there. This tutorial will walk through recovering Windows 7/Vista/XP password with Cain & Abel.

How to Recover Windows Password with Cain & Abel?

Forgot your administrator password and can’t log in? Cain & Abel needs to be installed, so you must have another working computer to recover your password. First of all, remove the hard drive from your locked machine and then attach it to a working computer as a secondary drive. Then follow these steps to recover Windows password:

  1. Visit the Cain & Abel website and download the Windows NT/2000/XP version of the program. Install the program on your computer. During installation, you’ll also be prompted to install WinPcap, which is fine.
  2. Click on the “Tools” menu and select “Syskey Decoder”. On the Syskey Decoder dialog, click on the “…” button to locate the SYSTEM file of your locked Windows installation. By default, the SYSTEM file is located in C:\Windows\System32\Config. The program will immediately display the decoded boot key which is required for cracking your Windows password.

    decode-syskey

  3. Click on the “Cracker” tab. On the left, click on the “LM & NTLM Hashes” and then click the big blue plus sign on the Cain toolbar. Make sure the “Import Hashes from a SAM database” button is checked. Choose the SAM file of your locked Windows installation and enter the boot key that you’ve got in the step above.

    import-hashes-from-sam

  4. Click Next. All the user accounts will be loaded to the right. Right-click on the user account you need the password for, choose Brute-Force Attack -> NTLM Hashes.
    Cain-Abel-NTLM

  5. Now check predefined under charset and select the suitable dictionary to use and click start.

    brute-force-attack

    That’s it! Just wait for Cain & Abel to recover the password!

If you have no way of getting the SAM and SYSTEM files from your Windows PC, you will not be able to use Cain & Abel to recover your password. If you have no luck with Cain & Abel, I recommend you to use PCUnlocker Live CD which can remove your forgotten Windows password instantly.