If I have a shadow file I want to crack the hashes of, will john start with the first user and go through all attempts at that, then move on to the next?

If that's the case, if the first user's hash is encrypted with sha512, but the rest are using md5, how can I tell john to not waste time on the sha512 ones and only work on the easier md5 ones? I've been looking up john examples, but can't seem to figure this out. Basically I'm looking for like a "low-hanging fruit" flag to use with john on a shadow file.

1 Answer 1


--format=md5 option I think is what you are looking for, here are some pretty decent guides on options



  • I would run 2 attacks, one for the md5 ones and one for the ones you're not sure about. Done in whatever order you want.
    – clownfish
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 9:04
  • Your second link is broken.
    – MarianD
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 14:08

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