Monday, March 26, 2012

Types of Excel Password and Methods to Recover These Passwords

Alternative icon for excel amateur
Alternative icon for excel amateur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
MS Excel is one of the most widely used spreadsheet applications that is typically used for maintaining records. It is well- known for performing fast calculations and for its advanced macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It is a cynosure of both the office and home users. You can also secure your Excel spreadsheet by applying a set of passwords. In this way, you can prevent unauthorized users from accessing or tampering with your work-related data. You can protect a single cell, multiple cells, or the entire Microsoft Excel sheet. Microsoft provides two types of password protection to your excel workbook:

  • Password To Open: The 'Password To Open' prevents your Excel workbook from unauthorized or unwanted user access. You cannot open your Excel workbook without knowing its 'Password To Open'.
  • Password To Modify: After you apply the 'Password To Modify', your workbook (excel sheet) becomes 'read only'. This means that no one can make changes to the Excel workbook without knowing its 'Password To Modify'.

However, a majority of users are inclined to set strong passwords to their Excel files. As a consequence, they end up losing these passwords and making their important records and other data in the spreadsheet inaccessible. To deal with such circumstances, you need to go for excel password recovery through a competent third-party tool.

Let us discuss a practical scenario. Suppose you are an HR of a big multi-national firm. You are responsible for creating a salary description sheet in MS excel 2007 for every employee and also protect this document from authorized user access. To accomplish this, you set a 'password to modify' to your Excel file. You also maintain a Word document, which contains passwords for all the employees. One fine day, you unknowingly delete the Word document by pressing 'shift+delete'. Soon after this, you realize that you have done a blunder. At this stage, the need for an Excel password recovery software ensues.

These third-party software use Brute-Force attack to try out every possible character combination for cracking the lost Excel password. They can accurately recover both 'password to open' and 'password to modify'. They use advanced masking techniques to effectively narrow down the password search and also allow saving the password recovery log in a separate text file. Additionally, they support MS Excel 2007, 2003, 2002, and 2000.
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