The internet warriors of today have learned a few important lessons the hard way. Having a strong password is one of them.
Online security requires complicated, hard to remember passwords. Perhaps this is why most of us, having multiple accounts, often forget them.
For those of us who don’t have password managers or have too much on their minds, we have pieced together a simple guide to recover your lost or forgotten Microsoft Outlook password.
Recovering or Resetting?
These days in order to set a strong password, it needs to be alphanumeric, contain at least one special character, ideally include different cases and be hard to guess. We don’t blame you for not remembering it!
Recovering a password in modern times is also more complicated than it used to be.
There are now two main options to choose between:
- The new password reset method.
- Third party tools for recovery or reset.
Password Reset Method
The password retrieval, or the reset option, became the standard modus operandi when online portals become commonplace.
This method still works, albeit a bit differently with a few new twists.
Here is how you do it:
- Open the password reset/recover on your account page.
2. Here you will be presented with an option to choose your reason for resetting your password.
Choose one that suits your situation best and click to go to the next page.
3. You will be asked about your recovery email address or phone number (this is the email/phone you have already given while registering for the account to use for recovery if required). Type it in then click next.
4. Your identity will be verified through a character or image verification test. Click next to go on to the verification code page.
5. Once you are done with the test and have successfully entered the right information, you will receive a verification code on your recovery email/phone.
6. Enter this code on the verification code page. You will be asked to enter a new password for your account.
7. Confirm the new password.
This method is also called the manual method and is the option most commonly used. That is unless you don’t have, or have forgotten your recovery email and/or phone number.
If this is the case, there is no need to worry. You can also use third-party software to recover the password for your outlook login.
Third-party software provides a quick and easy alternative to recovering or resetting your password without having to go the manual route.
We will discuss two popular options to help sort out the mess you may find yourself in if you’ve forgotten your password and have no recovery email/phone.
First, the easy one:
- SmartKey – The guessing game
SmartKey is easy to use. It is designed to work with Microsoft Office products as old as Office 97. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows from Windows 2000 onwards and the Server editions as well.
You can use it to recover passwords for Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, Outlook and Project products.
There are three ways this is done:
- The dictionary attack method.
- The brute force with mask attack method.
- The brute force attack method.
Dictionary Method: For the dictionary method you need to have the password dictionary preinstalled. If you have this then the recovery is a piece of cake as this is the fastest of the three options.
Simply run the program and select the Dictionary attack option for recovery and you are done.
If you don’t have the password dictionary preinstalled, you’ll have to try the next method.
Brute Force with Mask: The brute force with mask allows you to select a mask of numbers, letters and symbols in a specific order that corresponds with the format you might have used in your forgotten password.
This helps the software to guess your password. It still uses all the combinations it can find, however it now knows the likely positioning and type of digits used so the job becomes easier.
Brute Force Attack: A brute force attack is, as the name suggests, a simple brute force attempt at guessing the password.
The software is not free but does offer a trial version.
- Passware – Read it like the back of your palm
Passware Windows Key is a Microsoft Windows-specific tool designed specifically to reset passwords for Microsoft Windows users or products, including Outlook.
It supports the older Windows versions from XP to Windows 10 and Windows Server editions from 2003 to 2013. It can also reset all kinds of Windows-based passwords. You can use it to change program specific passwords, user passwords, secure boot, local policy settings and more.
The process is a bit lengthy and requires you to have a boot CD or Flash, but it has a 100% success rate.
Here is how you do it:
- First things first, purchase the program and install it.
- Have the Setup CD for Windows or an ISO file ready, or if you don’t have one, you can always send a request to the Passware guys for one.
- Prepare a boot flash drive by copying the ISO image on an empty flash drive or by writing it on a DVD/CD.
- Plug in your boot drive and restart the system. Let the system boot from the bootable drive, i.e. the flash drive or DVD/CD you prepared earlier.
- The Passware program will take over control and give you the option to reset the password for its supported options.
- Select Security settings and reset your Outlook password.
You are now free to set a new password that is hard to forget, and may forget it again anytime you want without being worried, because now, you have the tools to get it back without a hassle.