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How to decrypt a file

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How to decrypt a file: Creating protected files and forgetting the password set to open them can happen to everyone. Just as often it happens to receive documents via email or to download archives from the Internet and only find out later that you need a special keyword to open them, a password that obviously you are not aware of. So? How to do in such circumstances? Simple, even more: just use tools specially designed for the purpose and it’s done. If you are interested in it, keep on reading my guide dedicated, in fact, to how to decrypt a file to immediately clear your ideas about it.

As I said, to deal with a situation such as the one above, you can resort to the use of some special programs that allow you to unhinge the protections of various types of files, from Office documents to compressed archives, in a fairly easy and fast. How do you say? Would you really need it? Then take five minutes of free time and let me introduce you to what I think are the best, illustrating, of course, also how it works.

Do you want’? Yes? Great. Ban the talk and we immediately begin to get down to business. Position yourself comfortably in front of your trusted computer and start concentrating on reading everything below. In the end, I am sure, you can say that you are happy and satisfied with what you have learned. Are you ready? Yes? Very well. I wish you, as usual, happy reading and I will give you a big good luck for everything.

Free Word and Excel password recovery Wizard (Windows)

Screenshot of FREE Word and Excel password recovery Wizard

Office documents, and especially those of Word and Excel, are among the protected files with which you may find yourself dealing more often not knowing the passwords necessary to open them. In this case, the suggestion I feel I can give you is to rely on the use of Free Word and Excel password Recovery Wizard , an excellent zero-cost program for Windows that allows you to reveal the passwords of the files in question based on two types of attacks: the brute force, which tries to discover the keywords character by character by trying various combinations, and the dictionary one, which allows to reveal the passwords of meaning made using the terms included in a dictionary file.

To use it, first connect to the program download page and click on the link  Download FREE Word and Excel password recovery Wizard 2.1.15 (1.4 Mb) . When the download is complete, extract the ZIP archive obtained in any position on the computer and then open the .exe file inside it.

Now, click on Run , then on Yes and then on Next . Then select the item I accept the agreement and click again on Next four times in a row then press on Install and to finish presses on Finish .

Once the program window appears on the desktop, press the Next button   located at the bottom right and then press the Browse button   and select the Word or Excel file to unlock. Then press  Next  for four consecutive times and finally start the password search by clicking  Go .

At the end of the procedure, if everything went in the right direction, a window should open with the necessary password inside to be able to decrypt your file.

If then you are sure that the password of the file that you intend to decrypt is made up of words of full meaning (in English), you can also find the access key by going to the Select Approach section   of the software. Then  press the Brute Force Attack button  to select the English dictionary file you want the program to use and start the password recovery procedure by pressing  Next  and  Go .

Advanced Archive Password Recovery (Windows)

How to decrypt a file

How many times have you found yourself in front of protected ZIP and RAR archives from which you were unable to extract the files because you forgot your password? I bet a lot, and that’s why I want to recommend you Advanced Archive Password Recovery . This is a program for OS Windows capable of fulfilling the purpose in question by exploiting the type of attack called brute force. It’s free but in this variant it allows you to find passwords up to four characters, for longer ones you need to switch to the paid version.

To use it, first connect to the program download page on the Softpedia website press the Download button   located at the top, click  External Mirror 1  and wait for the Advanced Archive Password Recovery download to start.

When the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained in order to start the installation procedure. In the window that opens, click on  Next , on Accept , then again on Next twice in a row and to conclude on Install . Then click on Yes and then on the Finish button   to end the setup.

Now that you see the program window on the desktop, click on the Open button  attached to it and select the included archive for which you want to intervene, then press  Start  and wait for the software to finish its work. When the procedure is complete, you will see an additional window appear on the screen with a green tick inside and the password of the archive found, in correspondence with the wording  Password for this file .

If then some detail should come to your mind referring the password to be identified to decrypt the file, you can refine the search so as to reduce the time necessary for identification by using the tabs available in the main program window.

Appnimi PDF Unlocker (Windows / Mac)

How to decrypt a file

Another situation in which you may find yourself with some frequency is that of having to decrypt a PDF file without knowing its opening password. For such a case, my advice is to use Appnimi PDF Unlocker . This is a commercial program (but usable in a trial version, the one I used to write this post) for Windows and Mac that allows you to “find” the passwords of PDF documents using the brute force and dictionary modes.

To use it, first connect to the program website and click on the Download for Windows  button (if what you are using is a Windows computer) or on Download for Mac  (if you are using a Mac).

When the download is complete, if you are using Windows, extract the compressed archive obtained in any potion on the computer and start the .exe file contained inside it. Then click on Yes , on Next  and on I Agree . Then presses on Install and to conclude prizes on Finish .

If, on the other hand, you are using a Mac, extract the downloaded compressed archive to any location on your computer and drag the icon of the application that was present inside it to the macOS Applications folder . Then right-click on the program icon and choose Open two consecutive times in order to open the program going around the limitations imposed by Apple against unauthorized developers.

Now, regardless of the operating system used, in the Appnimi PDF Unlocker window that is shown to you, type your name in the Full Name field at the bottom and your e-mail address in the Email  field then click on the Get Free License Key button to obtain a special code by email to try the program for free. Then paste the license key obtained in the field under the License Key item  and press  Activate .

Click now on the Select File button   and select the PDF to be decrypted, then use the menus at the top to set the mode of action of the attack to be used ( Brute Force ), to adjust the settings related to the dictionary of keywords ( Dictionary ) and to adjust the settings relating to the length of the presumed password, the type of characters used, etc. ( Options ).

Finally, click on  Start  and wait for the software to identify the correct password, which at the end of the procedure will show you the Recovered Password item in the adjacent field , at the bottom of the program window.

Note:  In order to function, the software requires Java  installed on your computer. If it’s not present on your PC, read my tutorial on how to install Java to find out how to fix it right away.

Hashcat (Windows / Mac / Linux)


If the resources to decrypt a file that I told you about in the previous lines have not satisfied you, you can consider using an alternative solution such as  Hashcat . It is a free and open source program that allows you to find the passwords used to protect various types of files by using dictionary, brute force and other attacks.

It works on Windows, Mac and Linux but unfortunately does not have a graphical interface, therefore it is necessary to act as a command line, which makes it a little more complex to be used by those who do not consider themselves a “geek”. Anyway, nothing impossible with a little sound and thorough study on the subject.

To download it, first connect to the Hashcat website and then if you are using Windows, download the ZIP archive that contains the software by clicking on the Download link relating to the hashcat binaries option and  extract  the contents to any folder.

If you are using a Mac, install the Homebrew package manager  (by issuing the command / usr / bin / ruby ​​-e “$ (curl -fsSL ) “  In the Terminal ) and proceed with the software installation using the brew install hashcat command  .

Then worry about finding the hash , ie the identifier, of the document to be decrypted, then copy it and save it in a text file. Then proceed to download the dictionary file you want to use. Around the Web there are many, personally I recommend that of rockyou (to be extracted from the zip archive at the end of the download).

At this point, you have to worry about finding out the password of the file. In case, for example, the file to be decrypted is a Word document, you can do it by starting the  Windows Command Prompt or the  macOS Terminal  and giving the command  hashcat -m <flag> –status -o output.txt <hash > <diction> , where instead of  <flag> you must enter the identification code of the version of Office with which the document to be unlocked was created, instead of  <hash>  you must enter the full path of the txt file in which you saved the hash of the Word file while in place of  <dictionary>you must enter the full path of the dictionary file you downloaded earlier. After a few seconds of processing, Hashcat will start looking for the right password.

For further information on what to do and to fully understand the functioning of the program, I strongly suggest you rely on the  official forum  of the same as well as perform targeted searches on Google depending on the type of file relating to which you intend to intervene.

Other useful resources

Are you looking for alternative resources to the above software to be able to decrypt a given file? If yes, then I suggest you take a look at my tutorial on how to bypass a password and my post all focused on the  programs to bypass a password  through which I have provided you with additional interesting tools that can be useful in this sense .

Other resources and indications useful for the purpose can then be found in the following articles:  how to find a password and how to decrypt password . Please, take a look at least.