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Windows 7: Where does Windows keeps passwords?

19 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 Enterprise 32bit
Where does Windows keeps passwords?

I wonder where does Windows (namely Windows 7) keeps a user password? The password that we enter when Windows starts. And how does it keep them? Are they encrypted? What is encryption algorithm?

Please share links to articles, videos where these questions are explained. Thank you in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Hello Ayubjon and welcome to the forums

Where do I begin!

Windows passwords aren't encrypted, but they are hashed. The hashing algorithm is LM and NTLM. The passwords are stored in the SAM file:


This is actually a registry hive and can only be accessed by NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.

As an administrator, you can change the permissions of this registry hive and load it under HKLM, but I wouldn't recommend it. If you want to see your SAM file, there are much easier methods to do this.

Security Accounts Manager - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Where does Windows keeps passwords?

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