Recovering a lost or forgotten administrator password can be done by using a password recovery tool such as Ophcrack, Kon-Boot or other well-known tools. These tools exist for Windows operating software. Recovery of a Mac OS X password requires users to use their Apple ID to reset the password.

Password recovery tools are used as a form of password cracking for both legitimate and illegal uses. Hackers use password cracking tools to access computers that are locked off from them, while system administrators use a password recovery tool or password cracker to locate passwords that are easily bypassed in order to tighten security. These tools are readily available on the Internet, and some can be put onto a USB drive or CD to be activated separately.

Accessing a Mac OS X password from the system software Lion or later is a bit different. This operating system allows a user to reset a password using her Apple ID.

If all else fails, a last resort is to use Windows or Mac recovery software installation and completely reset the operating system. This deletes all the user data from the machine and performs a fresh install, allowing a user to set a new administrator password on start-up.