Corrupt / Encrypted Word Documents

Rob Clerihan
Rob Clerihan used Ask the Experts™
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One of my new clients has a file server with many documents that will not open, many of which are word documents.  When I try to open a word document, a file conversion prompt appears, and then after opening all text is just a bunch of gibberish.  Apparently the old IT support tech attempted to add file encryption to the server and it did not go well (at least that is what the client recalls).  they have no idea what software was used for the attempted encryption and I can not find any evidence that the files are indeed encrypted.  Any way to recover such files?  Thanks a ton in advance for any help provided!
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Senior Engineer
Commented:
Are there good backups of the data?  If so, that is probably your only viable option.

As you have no idea what software was used, there is no way to "reverse engineer" the issue.

Hopefully the inept IT Tech made backups before trying the conversion.
ChrisSr. Systems Engineer
Commented:
Nope, like Scott said, you can only hope there is an backup/archive somewhere prior to encryption.

Encryption is designed to prohibit against exactly what you are trying to do.
Any further tampering with a encrypted file, could completely destroy the files contents.
Scott SilvaNetwork Administrator

Commented:
Are you sure someone didn't get infected with a cryptolocker virus in the network? Although that wouldn't just encrypt word docs..
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Scott CSenior Engineer

Commented:
And if it was a Cryptolocker/Ransomware they would have been notified on where to send money to get the decryption key.

No, I think was just a fool on a network and things went badly.
Scott SilvaNetwork Administrator

Commented:
I had a system get cryptolocker and lock up before getting the ransom note... it still took a complete restore to fix it. Killed several mapped drives of engineering files... Luckily I have good backups...
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
best is to contact the old IT guy for more info

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