Luckily, now there are programs designed to decode all those indecipherable asterisks. The personal finance Web site Sound Money Tips suggests three programs for under $20 that help PC users retrieve forgotten passwords:
A downloadable application for Windows machines that allows users to convert asterisks back into real text. Get it at: http://www.snadboy.com. Cost: The program is free, but donations are appreciated.
Aqua Deskexperience 1.3.
Like Revelation 2.0, this application is designed to help retrieve forgotten passwords. However it also has several others features, including password protection and advanced screen capture and text extraction capabilities. Unfortunately, Aqua Deskexperience 1.3 only works on computers with Windows 2000, XP and 2003. Get it at: http://www.deskperience.com/aqua/password-revealer.html. Cost: Under $15.
Created by Paqtool, this password retriever is free to try, but you'll have to cough up some cash to keep using it after the trial period ends. Password Revealer works on machines with Windows 95, 98, ME, NY and XP. Get it at: http://www.newfreedownloads.com/Windows-Utilities/System-Utilities/Password-Revealer.html Cost: Under $20.
By Marshall Loeb