Easy Win 95/98 Breakin
1) Boot up.
2) When you get to the "system configuration" screen,
press the F8 key. This gives you the Microsoft Windows 95/98
3) Choose option 7. This puts you into MS-DOS. At the prompt,
give the command "rename c:\windows\*.pwl c:\windows\*.zzz."
Newbie note: MS-DOS stands for Microsoft
Disk Operating System, an ancient operating system dating from
1981. It is a command-line operating system, meaning that you
get a prompt (probably c:\>) after which you type in a command
and press the enter key. MS-DOS is often abbreviated DOS. It
is a little bit similar to Unix, and in fact old timers claim
its first version incorporated some Unix code.
4) Reboot. You will still get the password dialog screen.
But now it will accept any password. You can fake out your friends
by entering any darn password you want. It will ask you to reenter
it to confirm your new password. However, note that this technique
will still hide passwords such as those for Internet dialups
and web babysitter programs from you.
5) Your friends are smart enough to suspect you just created
a new password, huh? You can put back the old one your friends
picked. Use any tool you like -- File Manager, Windows Explorer
or MS-DOS -- to rename *.zzz back to *.pwl.
6) Reboot and let your friends use their secret password.
It still works! They'll think you actually cracked that password!
Evil genius tip: Keys that can do
something during the bootup process are F4, F5, F6, F8, Shift+F5,
Control+F5 and Shift+F8. Play with them!
How to Actually Crack
OK, OK, this stuff you've just read is kid stuff. Let's say
you want to be a serious hacker and actually break those passwords
so you have total access to things like stored dialup passwords.
Of course the easy thing is to just download those "*.pwl"
files to a floppy and crack them at your leisure. The encryption
is pitifully weak. If you have a cracker program, it just takes
seconds to reveal the goods.
It is also possible to steal and crack these passwords within
seconds -- even if the victim computer has a passworded screen
saver and you don't want to be as obvious as to turn the power
off and reboot the computer. Here's how this works.
First, your victim computer must have a CD-ROM and a floppy
drive. You will need a Win95/98 password cracker, and on your
own computer, a CD-ROM drive that will let you write your own
CDs. Sorry, I'm not going to give you that cracker program for
download because I don't want little kids using it when their
parent take them to visit their place of work. You have to do
that part yourself.
So here's a ridiculously easy way to actually crack any Windows
95 password -- if you have the program (which was written by
Vincent Larsen, a director of our Hacker
1) Put a file on your CD-ROM named "autorun.inf".
It will contain just the simple batch file:
2) Put Larsen's program "autorun.exe" on your floppy
so the CD autorun program will automatically run that batch file
when you insert it into the CD-ROM drive. OK, OK, if you do a
little web search you will find lots of other programs to crack
Win 95/98 passwords. If you are willing to pay money for a password
program, try http://www.webdon.com/vitas.
The most powerful of these programs is PWLview, which instantly
extracts any passwords cached in memory. However, you won't always
find the password you need still cached in emmory. Nevertheless,
you can crack Win 95 passwords from their encrypted files almost
instantly, and Win 98 passwords more sllowly, with PWLtool (at
tha same site).
3) When the owner of the victim program isn't watching, slip
that floppy into the floppy drive and that CD into the CD-ROM
drive. Even with the screen saver running, autorun will secretly
do its thing and deposit the cracked password(s) on your floppy.
(This presumes your password cracker program does the same thing
mine does.) Slip your disks back into your briefcase, and muhahaha!
4) Don't email or phone me begging for this program! It won't
even work to offer me money! I'm trying to make this a web site
for (mostly) harmless hacking, so all I'm trying to do is persuade
you to never turn your back when I'm near your computer, er,
I mean, to teach you about computer security. I am, however,
considering including it on the CD that will accompany my upcoming
You can go to jail warning: only
play this sort of prank on good friends. Do this at work or school,
and you might find out what a police interrogation is like.
Note that this does not work with Windows NT -- yet another
reason to ditch Win95/98 for WinNT!
Also, this doesn't work if you disable autorun on your CD-ROM
drive. Here's how to do this:
1) Right click the "My Computer" icon. This brings
up the Systems Properties box.
2) Click the plus sign next to "CD-ROM." This gives
a list of your CD-ROM drives. Right click the drive you wish
to protect, and from this menu select "properties."
3) Click on the "settings" tab. Look for a box labeled
"autoinsert notification." This sounds screwy, but
when that box is checked, any CD in that drive will start playing
automatically, even when your passworded screen saver has supposedly
locked your system from busy little hands. Uncheck that box!
More how to break into Win95 from
the console --->>