Few things in life are more frustrating than needing to open a file, but not being able to remember the password that will allow it. Thankfully, there are a variety of utilities designed to help crack forgotten passwords.
1. Ultimate ZIP Cracker
As the name implies, Ultimate ZIP Cracker is a utility for retrieving lost passwords for ZIP files. This program is completely utilitarian and there is nothing fancy about it at all, but it works. In preparation for writing this bog post I created a ZIP file and assigned it a password of 1234. Ultimate ZIP Cracker cracked the password in less than a second.
Ultimate ZIP Cracker sells for $59.00, but there is a free trial version available for download.
2. Free Word Excel Password Recovery Wizard
Free Word Excel Password Recovery Wizard is a free utility for retrieving lost passwords to Microsoft Word and Excel documents. This utility can perform either a dictionary lookup or a brute force crack.
In preparation for testing this tool, I assigned a five digit password to a Microsoft Word document. The tool allows you to configure the lengths of the passwords that you want to attempt. I configured the utility to perform a brute force crack using only five digit passwords. The crack completed successfully in less than ten seconds.
3. Word Password Recovery Master
Word Password Recovery Master is a utility designed to remove password protection from Microsoft Word documents. However, the software requires Internet access to do so.
Word Password Recovery Master sells for $14.98, but a free trial download is available. The trial version of this software will confirm that password removal is possible for your document, but you cannot actually remove the password without purchasing the full version.
4. Wondershare PDF Password Remover
Wondershare PDF Password Remover is a utility that is designed to remove passwords and restrictions from PDF files. The utility works by creating a brand new, unlocked version of the PDF document.
Wondershare PDF Password Remover sells for $14.95, but a free trial download is available. The trial version is limited to extracting five pages from a protected document.
5. Windows Password Recovery Bootdisk
Windows Password Recovery Bootdisk This utility works by creating a boot disk that you must boot your computer from in order to recover the password. The reason why a boot disk is used is because it allows the password recovery process to occur outside of the Windows operating system so that the operating system's various protective measures can be avoided.
Windows Password Recovery Bootdisk sells for $19.95, but a free trial version is available for download.
Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.