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A user forgot the password to her protected excel spreadsheet. What do we do? Excel 2013. She cannot even open it.

Posted on 2015-02-04
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Last Modified: 2016-02-11
A user forgot the password to her protected excel spreadsheet. What do we do? Excel 2013. She cannot even open it.
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Question by:HardwareDude
15 Comments
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:TheBDP
ID: 40589586
You'll want to acquire some type of brute force tool to get into the excel file. We cannot recommend any hacking tools on experts exchange.

Do you have a backup from prior to it being password protected that maybe you can restore to?
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Author Comment

by:HardwareDude
ID: 40589594
That is absurd, It is not a "hacking tool" if I am working on our own files. This is really a deal breaker for me. I have been a member for years and legitimately need help my customer. Are you guys in the support business or not?
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:ProfessorJimJam
ID: 40589611
what password. is it password for opening excel file?  or password for worksheet protection? or password for workbbook structure protection?
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Author Comment

by:HardwareDude
ID: 40589623
To answer your question:
This is the response when you try to open the file:
"xyz.xls" is Protected
Password:__________

If you click on Cancel, excel remains open but the worksheet remains closed.
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LVL 17
ID: 40589668
A Google search threw this up along with several others.

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-applications-for-easy-password-recovery/

You may have perfect rights to the file and the password genuinely forgotten, but the same tools may unlock files that you have no rights to and should remain private. Who can tell?
Some would call that hacking.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:ProfessorJimJam
ID: 40589684
Ors
the software referred in the link you shared only works for excel 2003 and older, while the author's excel file protected is version 2013.  so that software does not work.
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LVL 25

Accepted Solution

by:
ProfessorJimJam earned 500 total points
ID: 40589704
based on my experience, you can only recover lost password of your personal workbook by Advanced Office Password Recovery by ELCOMSOFT.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that breaking password protection MAY violate laws or regulations in your jurisdiction.  it is probably OK to break password protection on sheets that you developed by yourself  for your personal use and you own the workbook, or for which you have permission from the author or owner. if in doubt, ask the original author, and if you can't ask - don't use it!
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Author Comment

by:HardwareDude
ID: 40589869
Guys- Stick to technical advice.
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Author Closing Comment

by:HardwareDude
ID: 40589881
Needlessly preachy.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:ProfessorJimJam
ID: 40589910
:-)   take it easy. we are just trying to cover our a**
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Author Comment

by:HardwareDude
ID: 40589922
Professor- It is just so annoying, you have no idea how annoying and condescending you guys sound to someone who is working on his own company stuff. The link you shared is NOT a hacking tool any more than any PC is a hacking tool. Did anyone warn you when you bought your last PC to n"NOT USE IT FOR EVIL"? - IF they did, would you not think the warning paternalistic and condescending? Covering your a$$ from what? - who do you think will punish you for your contribution? Nobody - no one is coming after anyone for anything.
Thanks for your help, though.
One final thing- I take it you have used this tool?
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 40589977
HardwareDude, with Office 2010 and up Microsoft finally got their act together with securing passwords and brute force is really the only way to go, good luck with the ELCOMSOFT tool - would be interesting to hear how you got on. Previously there were all manner of backdoors to reopen .xls files

Too late for this user but M$ have built-in a corporate management tool for Office encryption which uses an escrow key - like PGP which would allow admin access to files (subject to local policies of course) but you could consider implementing it on your network to save yourself from this in the future.

This Technet page will take you through how to implement
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj923033%28v=office.15%29.aspx

There's also some detail there on the encryption used in new Office releases which will show why breaking into protected files is really for people with powerful processors and a lot of time on their hands :(
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:ProfessorJimJam
ID: 40589991
Yes. I have used Elcomsoft long time ago, recovering password of workbook that i owned.

the disclaimer message, comment or statement do not imply that user may be one of transgressors, but it is a standard disclaimer in any software, forum or referrer.

this is gray area, maybe you have not heard of such cases, in some countries there are strict laws that for person who broke the password illegally, may implicate the referrer as accomplice.  illegally obtaining files may constitute theft or another wrongful action and may result in civil and (or) criminal prosecution.

there are lots of culprits out there who try to break passwords. long time ago, i myself had developed an Add-In which stolen online and next day, i found the work which i have done for months, my VBA codes was posted in everywhere on the net.

have a good evening
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:ProfessorJimJam
ID: 40589994
ELCOMSOFT website confirms that it works in 2013 version as well
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:viki2000
ID: 40590594
0

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