Software

Five applications for easy password recovery

Sometimes we forget passwords and need a little help with the recovery process.

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.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Five Apps

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.

Also read:

Get password reset info for users with Windows PowerShell script

About

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.

12 comments
ddctech
ddctech

There are online password recovery services cheaper then this program. And there is no risk involved, you pay only if they recover your password. eg. password-online.com or remove-password.com

denglad
denglad

It is recommended to apply video cards for searching for passwords set for more or less up-to-date formats (for example, Zip, Excel-PowerPoint-Word 2007-2013, RAR, TrueCrypt). The searching speed increases tens of times. It is a trend of last years in the area of password recovery. Google "GPU password recovery" if it is really interesting to you.

DSchr
DSchr

Testing a 5-digit password or the password '1234' tells me nothing. I have an ancient zip file with a password I've forgotten, and I want to know whether anything can help me recover it. It certainly is longer than 5 characters, and I'd never be so silly as to give it something obvious like 1234 or qwerty. I tried one program which chugged for hours, getting nowhere, with days or years ahead on its schedule. I really would like to know how good the programs you're reviewing are.

buzz
buzz

We have lots of users who use our software, e.g., http://www.activewords.com/ to name passwords. Hence you can type say "Amazonpw" and it will expand into 6000 characters if that's an issue. Our latest review is here: http://zd.net/VOAVVD and we have IT pros who use Windows using ActiveWords all over the globe. Ping me with questions, buzz at activewords dot com Buzz

cheeryking
cheeryking

A few days ago, I had met the headache things that I had forgotten Windows 7 login password. The login screen rejected my password. I was frustrated because there was very important data on my disk and I couldn’t reinstall the OS. ????????????. However, I fortunately got "windows Password Key " to reset forgotten windows 7 password instantly yet no data loss.

longhornak
longhornak

No offense intended, but 1234 is one of the most basic passwords out there. Why not try it with something simple, like cr@ckthi$ or something similar? What would be the timeframe for cracking that password?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I forget passwords all the time, how about you? Do you need a password recovery tool from time to time?

Editor's Picks