|Password Recovery Solutions
This article is addressed to those users who are unfamiliar with Word security model and would like to know more about Word passwords.
Three different types of passwords could be found in Word documents.
Word password types are:
To prevent unauthorized users from opening a document at all, you can assign this type of password.
To assign a password to your document choose Option on the Tools menu and than Save tab (see the following screenshot)
If a user tries to open protected document the following dialog box appears:
Users who don't know the password cannot open your document.
To assign modified password to your document choose Option on the Tools menu and than Save tab (see the following screenshot)
To allow others to open the document but to allow only authorized users to make changes to it, you can assign a password for modifying the document. If you try to open a document protected with such type of password the following dialog box appears:
You have to enter the password and open your document or open your document in read-only mode. By-the-way, you can open the document in read-only mode, remove password to modify it and perform "Save As" menu command. Then delete original Word document and rename saved document: it is now unprotected.
To assign this password choose Protect documents on Tools menu. The following dialog box appears:
Word document can include VBA modules (VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications) with macros in it. VBA modules can be protected by password too. To assign VBA password click right mouse button on the project and choose Protection tab on the Properties menu (see the following screenshots).
Password to open
There are several cases:
1) Word2.0, Word 6.0 and Word 95 have weak and unreliable protection. Password could be recovered immediately. Document must contain enough text inside (at least one page) to allow password recovery (because it is based on statistical methods). If there is not enough text in your document Word Password may fail to recover the password.
2) Word 97 and Word 2000 has improved password protection.
There are two ways to recover Word password in this case.
The first one is to search all of the password variants (brute
force or smart force attack) or dictionary
search. This method has good results in case of short password, but
you can't recover long and complex password using this way.
Note on Office XP, 2003
3) Word 2002 (XP), 2003 has opportunity to choose encryption mode - weak protection as in old versions, standard (used by default) as in Word 97/2000 and several advanced encryption modes. Express recovery doesn't work with advanced encryption modes. File password protected in the advanced mode can not be opened in the previous Word versions.
Special note. French versions of Word (any version) have weak protection (the same as Word 2.0/ 6.0/95). This is because of French law that does not allow encryption.
Attention! If you protect your document with several passwords and one of them is password to open first you have to recover password to open and then recover other passwords.
4) Passwords to open are extremely hard to break in Word 2007/2010. You can find more information about password recovery for Word 2007 and Word 2010 here.
Password to Modify, Document Password Protection
VBA Module Passwords
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