Microsoft Word provides users with the option to password protect a Word document, requiring a user to input the password before opening or editing the document. This can be an excellent security feature if you want to ensure that your document is not viewed by an unauthorised user, but it also can be a massive hindrance if you forget the password to your own document. If you need to recover a lost Word password, you have two options. You can either download a program that uses a decryption algorithm to try to identify your document's password or you can use an online service that decrypts your Word document for a fee.
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Download a Microsoft Word password decryption program. There are several programs that can attempt to decrypt your file (see Resources); they all use different decryption algorithms, so if one doesn't work then you may need to try a different program. The Free Word Excel Password Wizard is a free program that can crack simple passwords up to eight characters in length. Other more complex decryption programs may require a fee to crack longer passwords via more complicated methods.
Double-click the downloaded installation file to set up the decryption program.
Run the decryption program.
Specify any parameters of the password that you know. You can specify the length of the password and what characters you may have used in the password.
Indicate the type of "attack" that you would like to use for decryption, if your program supports different attack methods. These methods can include a brute-force attack in which random combinations of characters are tried, an enhanced mask attack in which you specify possible password parameters, and a dictionary-based attack that focuses on words.
Click the start or decrypt button. The decryption program will attempt to identify your Word file's password using its decryption algorithm.
Navigate to the Accessback decryption website (see Resources). Accessback provides decryption services for Word 97-2003 documents on a fee-for-service basis.
Click the "Browse" button and navigate to the Microsoft Word file for which you require password decryption. Click "Open" when you have highlighted the desired file.
Type your e-mail address in the e-mail field.
Click the "Upload" button to upload your document to the Accessback server.
Wait until you receive an e-mail indicating that the decryption has been successful; you will receive this e-mail within 24 to 48 hours. The e-mail will contain a screenshot of the first page of your Word file as proof that decryption was successful. The e-mail will also include instructions for proceeding with payment and retrieval of the decrypted file. The Accessback service costs £16 per document as of October 2010.
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