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Password Recovery
OS passwords
Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7
Windows NTFS (EFS)
Windows 95/98/ME
Microsoft Office
MS Word
Other Microsoft products
Internet Explorer
Outlook Express, Outlook, Internet Mail
SQL Server
Documents, Office Applications
Adobe Acrobat PDF
Corel WordPerfect Office: WordPerfect, QuattroPro, Paradox
Lotus SmartSuite: Organizer, WordPro, 1-2-3, Approach
Intuit Quicken, Quicken Lawyer, QuickBooks
Symantec ACT!
E-mail (POP3, IMAP): Microsoft Outlook Express, Outlook, Internet Mail; Eudora, The Bat!, Netscape Mail, ...
Instant Messengers: ICQ, AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail & MSN, Skype, ...
Passwords hidden behind asterisks ("***")
PGP secret keys, disks, archives

Listed below are Microsoft Excel password recovery products primarily by ElcomSoft and Rixler Software. Rixler's products may be a good choice for nearly-instant recovery of encrypted and/or restricted Excel files (the files are decrypted and any restrictions are removed). However, as it relates to passwords for opening (as opposed to other kinds of passwords and restrictions that a file could have), Rixler's products do not support the currently less common Office 2007 format files (*.xlsx - with the trailing "x"), do not support files encrypted with non-default encryption settings, and do not actually show you the password (instead, they recover the cryptographic key, which enables them to decrypt the file without figuring out the actual password). ElcomSoft's Advanced Office Password Recovery and Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery products do not have these limitations (but their success and time until successful recovery depend on complexity of the password to be recovered).

Excel Password Recovery Master by Rixler Software
Win32, shareware, free trial, $29.95 Personal / $59.85 Business License (download, purchase)

This program will crack password-protected documents created in Excel 97/2000/XP/2003/2007/2010 (*.xls, *.xlt, *.xla, *.xlsx files). The program allows you to crack "open" (except for *.xlsx files), "write", workbook, shared workbook, and worksheet passwords.

According to the vendor, the program sends a tiny "technical" portion of the Excel document file to the vendor's server, whereas "all sensitive data remains on the user's computer". The server typically recovers the encryption key (that Excel "derives" from the password) in seconds, thereby enabling the program to decrypt the document. Thus, no matter how long and strong the password is, the program will crack the encryption and provide you with the decrypted and unprotected Excel document.

Many other programs will instead actually search for the password (so the attack success and duration will depend on password strength) or attempt to crack the encryption key on your own computer (which may take days).

Office Password Recovery Toolbox by Rixler Software
Win32, shareware, free trial, $59.95 Personal / $119.85 Business License (download, purchase)

This is a comprehensive solution for recovering Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, PowerPoint and VBA passwords. It includes the features of Excel Password Recovery Master listed above and a lot more. This package is described in more detail on a separate page of this website.

Office Multi-document Password Cracker by Rixler Software
Win32, shareware, free trial, $59.95 Personal / $119.85 Business License (download, purchase)

This program will search a directory tree (even an entire hard drive) and remove any passwords (except for VBA project passwords) from multiple Word and Excel documents.

Advanced Office Password Recovery by ElcomSoft
Win32, shareware, 30 day free trial, $49 Home / $99 Standard / $199 Professional Edition (purchase)

This all-in-one package is described on a separate page of this website.

One of the many features of this program is recovery of passwords to Microsoft Excel files: password to open, password to modify, workbook protection password, sheet protection passwords. Most passwords are recovered instantly; "password to open" for Excel 97 and above requires time-consuming brute-force or dictionary attack. All versions of MS Excel (from 3.0 through 2007) are supported.

Advanced Office Password Breaker by ElcomSoft
Win32, shareware, 30 day free trial, $99 Standard / $199 Professional / $399 Enterprise Edition (purchase)

A program to decrypt Word and Excel 97/2000 files that have file open protection set, as well as Word and Excel XP files with default (Office 97/2000 compatible) encryption - guaranteed regardless of password length and complexity. This is being done by trying all possible encryption keys (rather than only some possible passwords from which the keys are derived) and takes under a week on a high-end workstation.

Please note that this program does not work with files created in Word/Excel 95 or older, Word/Excel XP with new CSP protection, and for any passwords other than the password for opening. For such files, use the Advanced Office Password Recovery product instead.

Standard Edition uses only one CPU at a time. Professional Edition can also work on dual-CPU (or dual-core) and quad-CPU (or quad-core) systems, using all processors/cores (so recovery speed will be almost twice or four times better).

Enterprise Edition uses as many CPUs as are installed (up to 32). Additionally, it includes a DVD with pre-computed cryptographic tables (ElcomSoft's improvement upon so-called "rainbow tables"), which enables it to unlock 100% of Word documents in less than a minute and 97% of Excel documents in several minutes (typical time).

Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery by ElcomSoft
Win32, shareware, free trial, $599 to $4,999 depending on license type (purchase)

This product is designed for distributed recovery of forgotten or lost passwords of different documents. It allows to:

  • restore passwords of different documents by means of distributed processing
  • work in local and global networks
  • administer the password recovery server remotely
  • install and uninstall agents on remote computers
  • manipulate agents' work time and priority
  • launch the agents and the server as system services
  • account for machine time
  • keep track of one's own actions and look through the log if necessary

All versions of Word and Excel from 97 up to 2007 (*.doc, *.docx, *.xls, *.xlsx), PowerPoint XP/2003/2007 (*.ppt, *.pptx), and OneNote are supported, as well as two types of encryption: 97/2000 compatible and the new one (CSP based). Only the document opening password is found; for Office 97/2000 compatible encryption, this program can also recover the key (guaranteed regardless of password length and complexity) and decrypt the file.

The program is also able to recover passwords to Microsoft Money, Adobe Acrobat PDF files, Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/Windows 7 logon passwords (LM and NTLM hashes), PGP zip archives (*.pgp), PGP secret keys (keyrings, *.skr), PGP disks (*.pgd), PGP self-decrypting archives (*.exe), PGP whole disk encryption, Personal Information Exchange certificates (PKCS #12, *.pfx, *.p12), Intuit Quicken (*.qdf), Lotus Notes ID files, and MD5 hashes. Support of other file formats is planned for future versions of the program.

Guaranteed Excel Decryptor (GuaExcel) by Pavel Semjanov
Win32 / Linux, shareware, $29 to $150
Purchase the full registered version

This is a command-line utility which allows you to decrypt Microsoft Excel 97/2000 (and Excel XP in default, 40-bit mode) files with password for opening. Any file, encrypted with any password (no matter what length of the password is or what language or symbols used, etc) can be decrypted with guarantee. It usually takes several days. This software supports several computers - the more computers you have, the faster is the decryption.

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