Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hacking/Cracking passwords on Windows XP, 2000, and NT

Have you every been handed a desktop machine or laptop, and been told..."The information you want is on this machine, but the only employee who knew the administrator password left the company and we don't know any way to get into it."

I have on many occasions. That's when this little utility comes in handy: Offline NT Password & Registry Editor

This works so well, it's hard to believe. Originally designed to run from a boot floppy, but also available as a boot CD image (which is good because long ago I gave up my last computer that had a floppy drive), just pop this disk into the machine, make sure in the BIOS you've enabled boot from CD (or floppy if that's what you are using), follow the prompts, most of the time accepting the default answers. And when you get to the end, you have the ability to enter a blank password for the Administrator account. Let it run, eject the disk, reboot the machine, and BAM! Now that machine is owned by you!

Although I haven't tested it on every Windows version, the makers claim support for Windows NT 3.51, 4.0, 2000, XP, and 2003 including Server versions and published service packs.

Very cool, very easy, and very fast. There are other apps out there that claim to do the same thing. Some probably do, others I believe mess up your registry and might even be Trojan horses. It's a little scary to download a disk image from an unknown website and let it boot up your computer and mess with low level registry security entries. So when you are looking for an app that will break that password but nervous about which one to choose, you can safely use this one as I've used it and am very impressed. Now download this app, and go get your hack on! ;-)

Uninstalling Oracle 10g Manually from Windows XP

Oracle's installation utility has a nasty habit of leaving a lot of items behind.  I wrote this up to document what I've found you need to do to uninstall Oracle 10g manually.  This is specific to 10g and Windows XP.  Removing 9i is very similar if I remember right, but who's using 9i anymore? ;-)

The first thing you should do, is go ahead and run the installation tool to do an uninstall.  It probably will leave some things behind, but it's worth running.  Then go through this list and remove anything it missed.  This list is detailed enough though, that I believe even if you did not run the uninstallation tool, this would fully uninstall Oracle.

The most commonly missed item is to make sure you remove everything from the GAC because the uninstaller doesn't appear to.  I get to that later, but if you wanted to know the largest source of uninstallation problems, it's libraries remaining in the GAC.

After running the supplied Oracle uninstallation utility (which may or may not do some or all of the following):

  • Stop any Oracle services that have been left running.
    Start->Settings->Control Panel->Services
    Look for any services with names starting with 'Oracle' and stop them.

  • Run regedit and delete the following keys (some may have slightly different names in your registry):

    Note that the services control panel will still show the old services until you reboot.

  • Delete the Oracle home directory

  • Delete the Oracle Program Files directory:
    C:\Program Files\Oracle

  • Delete the Oracle Start Menu shortcuts directory:
    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Oracle*
    Where * indicates the name of your install.  Look for and remove all Oracle directories from that location.

  • Remove Oracle refereces from the path.  To edit your path go to:
    Start->Settings->Control Panel->System->Advanced->Environment Variables
    Edit both of the environment variables user PATH and system PATH.  Remove any Oracle references in them.

  • Remove Oracle.DataAccess and any Polic.Oracle files from the GAC which is at:

  • There, now your system is Oracle free.  If you are installing a new instance of Oracle (and not just an additional DB) I recommend you do this before any new Oracle installation.
    Note: I used several other websites and searches as references when developing these steps, but I was unable to find any steps that covered all of the items for Oracle 10g so I assembled them here.

    Installing Oracle 10g under Mac OS X

    Ok, so you want to install Oracle 10g for free (under the developer license) to your Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger computer.

    There's a couple things you should know. First, Oracle 10g is only officially supported under Mac OS X Server, but it seems to work fine under plan old Mac OS X (non-server).

    There's a great blog here about how to install it under 10.3:
    Installing Oracle Database 10g on Mac OS X

    and another blog here that covers fixes/changes needed to install it under 10.4 Tiger:
    Set up Oracle 10g on Tiger

    Spaces in hard drive names...unfortunately it turns out Oracle simply doesn't support spaces in its path, which it will tell you about much later in the install. That means you cannot install this on to a hard drive with a space in its name. So while they claim to support Java/Unix/Mac OS X which all support spaces in the names of files and directories, they choose not to allow that. Strange.

    Oracle, if you want I'd be willing to help with your native Mac OS X development of Oracle software and installation tools. Are you listening? ;-)