Where are Microsoft Windows 7 passwords and credentials stored on disk?
I would like to physically verify that the Users group does not have access to files containing system passwords.
Windows account details are stored in the SAM registry hive. It stores passwords using a one-way-hash (either LM Hash, which is old and weak, or NTLM hash which is newer and stronger.)
The SAM hive file is located at
%WinDir%\system32\config\sam. This directory, and it parents, are by default inaccessible to non-administrative users. However it is vulnerable to offline attacks (e.g. booting a LiveCD and manually modifying the binary data. For example with the ONTPRE tool.)
They are stored per user in C:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\credentials and also in C:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Vault . Since this is in a user directory it's safe to say only the user and computer/domain admins have access to it. Not to mention it is also encrypted.
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