Advanced Office Password Recovery - Frequently Asked Questions
What is AOPR for?
AOPR is a program to recover lost or forgotten passwords to files and documents created in Microsoft Office components (such as Word, Excel, Access, Outlook etc) and some other Microsoft software (for example, Project, Visio, Money).
What are system requirements for AOPR?
AOPR has been tested carefully on Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP (it should also work on Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, but only if some updates are installed). You will also need about two megabytes of free space on hard disk.
What are the differences between Home, Standard and Professional editions?
Home edition can recover passwords to Microsoft Word and Excel documents only: password to open, password to save, document protection password, workbook and worksheets passwords, just except VBA Project passwords. Please note that with this edition, you may operate the product as set in the License Agreement for non-commercial purposes in a non-business or non-commercial environment only (personal license).
Standard edition is also able to recover/remove Word and Excel VBA Project passwords, can unlock protected Excel add-ins (XLA), recover "password to open" in Access 97/2000/XP/2003 MDB files, and supports all Outlook passwords (password to open PST files, VBA Project password, and passwords to e-mail accounts). This edition can be also used in a in a corporate, governmental or business environment (business license).
Professional is the most complete solution that recover all passwords for all Microsoft Office components and a few other Microsoft products, including Access user-level passwords and ownership information, Microsoft Project, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Money, Microsoft Backup (Windows 9x), Microsoft Mail and Schedule+. Besides, it can reset or change Internet Explorer Content Advisor password, and includes an unique "VBA backdoor" features that allows to open protected VBA projects in any applications, not only Microsoft ones (such as Corel WordPerfect Office and AutoCAD). This edition is also licensed for use in a corporate, governmental or business environment (business license).
The detailed feature grid for all three editions is available at AOPR web page.
How can I try AOPR?
You can download free trial version of AOPR from its web page. This version has some limitations, though.
How the trial version of AOPR is limited?
Why don't you have full-featured time-limited version?
Because most of our customers don't use AOPR on a regular basis, but have a one-time need for it — e.g. to recover passwords for just a few files. And with time-limited version, they will be able to do that within a trial period, so there will be no reason to buy. Sorry.
How much does it cost?
Latest price may be found at AOPR web page.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards (online, by phone and fax), bank/wire transfer, checks and money orders.
How long does it take to process an order?
For online payments using credit cards, it usually takes just a few minutes.
Can I upgrade from one edition to another?
Yes — simply by paying the difference in price between those editions. Contact us by submitting to our contacts form for more details.
I have lost AOPR registration code, do I need to purchase it again?
Of course, no. We keep all past orders, so just let us know what version you have purchased (standard or professional), when (approximately), and what was the billing name and your email address at the time of purchasing. We will locate your order and resend you the registration code.
If I purchase AOPR now, will I get discounts on new versions?
Yes. All updates available for free during license period. Later you can purchase updates with discount. You can also purchase Upgrade subscription and priority support and get all updates and upgrades free during the specified period.
I don't have enough money to purchase AOPR, can you give it to me free of charge?
Do you have an educational discount?
Yes, we have 25% educational discount. Contact us by submitting to our contacts form for details.
I have paid for the program, but have not received the program — when to expect it?
We don't send the program itself. Simply download the trial version from our web page; after registration, you will receive your personal registration code (along with the instructions how to apply it) that converts the trial version into registered, fully-functional one.
I have received the registration code, what do I do with it?
On payment approval, we send not only the registration code itself, but also the instructions how to apply them. But if you prefer to read this FAQ instead of them... Well, first, download and install the program. Then run it and select Help | Enter registration code menu item. The program will prompt you for code; enter the one you received and press OK. If the code is correct (it should be — if you have not mistyped it; note that the code is case-sensitive, so we'd recommend you to use copy-and-paste), the program will thank you for registering, and become fully-functional.
Do you provide money-back warranty?
Sorry, no — due to the nature of the program. ElcomSoft software purchases are final and non-refundable. Please be sure you have successfully tested the evaluation version for your product before purchasing a license. For further information please refer to the ElcomSoft End-User License Agreement.
How do I use the program?
Well, the good idea is to install and start it first ;) Then, click on Open file button (the most-left one on the tool bar), or select File | Open File... through menu. In most cases, password(s) will be recovered instantly. Or the program may show the message that instant recovery is not possible for that type of protection, and so you have to run brute-force or dictionary attack (see more info on Strong passwords below).
Sometimes the program says that password cannot be recovered, but can be removed or replaced. Why?
That's because of protection used in some particular cases. Password recovery would take a very long time, but the data itself is not encrypted, and so the program can remove or replace the password — instantly!
For testing purposes, I have protected an Excel sheet with password, but AOPR shows something like "1b1b1b1b1b1b1". Is it a bug?
MS Excel uses a very weak password encryption algorithm, and therefore there are a lot of passwords that are "identical" from Excel's point of view. accepts. So password shown by AOPR is just one of them — just try it.
AOPR has recovered some very strange password for my Outlook (*.pst) file — it does not look like one I set. Why?
Same situation as above. Outlook does not keep the password itself — it calculates (and saves) its hash (CRC32). However, there are many text strings that have the same CRC32 value, and all of them (including the one shown by AOPR) will be accepted by Outlook.
I have opened my Outlook (*.pst) file, but only file password has been recovered. Can I also recover passwords to Outlook e-mail accounts?
Yes. Select the Internet | Outlook Mail Accounts... menu item, or press the 'Recover Passwords for Outlook Mail Accounts' button on AOPR toolbar.
Does AOPR support Outlook Express (passwords to identities, e-mail and news accounts)?
No, we have another product for that: Advanced Outlook Express Password Recovery.
Can I recover passwords to web sites entered in Internet Explorer?
Not with AOPR; use Advanced Internet Explorer Password Recovery instead. It can also recover logins and passwords entered in Internet Explorer, and all auto-complete strings.
I have found the password for VBA macro, but VB Editor still shows "Project is unviewable" message — what can I do?
Most probably, you are using an older version of MS Office than one this file has been created with. For example, macros created in Office 2000 cannot not be viewed in Office 97, even if no password is set.
What is "VBA Backdoor" feature, and how do I use it?
With it, the password is not being recovered at all. However, you are able to open VBA project (to view/edit the code); of course, you should have the application (this document has been created with, or later version) installed. Just press the VBA button on AOPR toolbar (or select VBA Backdoor | Open file through backdoor menu item). The program will prompt you for the document file; select one, and AOPR will run the application (with a special way) this document has been created with, and load your document into it. Now go into VBA properties (typically, it is under Tools | Macro | Visual Basic Editor; Tools | VBAProject Properties; you'll be prompted for the password. Enter ANY one (e.g., xyz), and it will be accepted! If your document has been created in Microsoft Office 97, you can use Office 2000 or Office XP, too. However, the reverse is not true: if you would like to unprotect Office 2000/XP document, but have only Office 97 installed, AOPR will still run it (with a warning message), but backdoor will not work.
Does "VBA Backdoor" works for non-Microsoft files/applications, and if yes, how?
Yes. Press the same VBA button on AOPR toolbar, and select the file you want to open (you may need to change 'Files of type' option in Open dialog to 'All files'). AOPR will run the associated application, and any VBA password will be accepted there. If the extension of that files is not registered in the system (and so AOPR don't know what particular program to run), you can run it yourself using the same technology: select VBA Backdoor | Launch application menu item. Backdoor will be activated, and for all documents you will open in that application, any password will be accepted.
I have a Microsoft Money file that uses authorization through Microsoft Passport. Can I do something with it?
Yes. First, press the Recover MS Passport password... on AOPR toolbar — if you have been working with this Money file on the same computer (you run AOPR on) and the option to save password has been enabled, the password will be extracted and decrypted instantly. Otherwise, you will have to run dictionary or brute-force attack (see below).
What kind of passwords cannot be recovered instantly?
Fortunately, not many: "password to open" in Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP, Microsoft Excel 97/2000/XP, PowerPoint XP, and Microsoft Money 2000-2003 when MS Passport authorization is being used.
What can I do if that's my case?
You can run dictionary and brute-force attacks — see the details below.
What is dictionary attack?
With a dictionary attack, the program tries every word in a dictionary or multiple-dictionaries until your password is found. This method is popular because it is well known that many people use common words as passwords. Dictionaries with hundreds of thousands of words, as well as specialist, technical and foreign language dictionaries are available, as are lists of thousands of words that are often used as passwords such as "qwerty", "abcdef" etc. A few good ones are available from our Password Recovery Software page.
What is brute-force attack?
In a brute force attack, the program tries to guess your password by trying every single combination of characters until your password is found. For example, the program might follow a sequence like this: "aaaaaaaa", "aaaaaaab", "aaaaaaac" etc until the password is found. Obviously, this method will take time, for an eight character lowercase alpha password there are 200 Billion combinations to be checked. But with modern computers this sort of attack doesn't take as long as you might think. The brute force attack is the slowest method of password attack, but can often be successful on short and simple passwords.
So what to start from?
Always start with a dictionary attack with Smart mutations option enabled — even for large dictionaries, it takes just a few minutes. If password will not be recovered, repeat the attack with Try all possible uppercase/lowercase combinations option. If you still out of luck, run brute-force attack.
I remember that my password is 12 characters long and contains special chars, is it possible to recover it?
Not in this life. You can calculate the total number of passwords (AOPR should try) using the simple formula: it is just the total number of characters in the character set (26 for small letters, 26 for capital letters, 10 for digits, and 33 for special chars) in a power of password length. So, even if the password contains just small and capital letters, and the length is 12, the total is 52^12 = 390,877,006,486,250,192,896. Even if AOPR will be able to test a million passwords per second (actual speed is lower), it would take more than twelve million years to find the correct one. Well, if you're lucky enough — just six million years ;) Fortunately, another solution exists.
My password uses some German (French, Japanese etc) characters, can I recover it?
Yes. First, we have a few non-English dictionaries at Password Recovery Software page. And with a brute-force attack, use the "Custom charset" option — just add all non-latin characters your password may contain.
What if both dictionary and brute-force attacks failed?
Have a look at other product we have: Advanced Office Password Breaker (AOPB). Because of U.S. crypto export regulations, the key length in RC4 algorithm used for encrypting the document is only 40 bits, and that means that the total number of possible encryption keys is 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776. So instead of testing all possible passwords, AOPB test all possible encryption keys. And once the key is found, it decrypts the document, so the password is no longer required to open it. Decryption is still not instant, but recovery time is very reasonable (usually, a few days). Moreover, this method provides 100% success rate regardless the password length. For example, if the speed is one million passwords per second (as for Athlon XP 1800+), the program will work about 305 hours or about 13 days - and this is maximum.
What about CSP encryption available in Office XP — is it stronger than Office 97/2000 one?
The main difference is: it is not possible to recover encryption key with Advanced Office Password Breaker (AOPB), as described above — because it is longer than 40 bits. But brute-force and dictionary attacks still work, and they're even faster than for old (Office 97/2000) encryption!
Do you have pre-sales support?
Yes, you can contact us by submitting to our contacts form.
What kind of support do you provide to customers?
We provide technical support only by email (at the addresses listed above). If you're a registered user (i.e. you already purchased the software), please include a note about that, so we'll process your request faster.
I have found a bug, how to report it?
Please contact us by submitting to our support form, providing as much details as possible: version number and build of your operating system, version of AOPR, and what steps are needed to reproduce the problem. Please don't send us any files (such as Word documents) in attachments, until requested.
Can I suggest a feature?
Of course. Simply contact us by submitting to our support form and let us know what you would like to see in the future versions.
Is AOPR legal?
To the best of our knowledge, yes. You can use it provided that you are the legal owner of all files or data you are going to recover through the use of our software or have permission from the legitimate owner to perform these acts. Any illegal use of our software will be solely your responsibility. Accordingly, you affirm that you have the legal right to access all data, information and files that have been hidden. You further attest that the recovered data, passwords and/or files will not be used for any illegal purpose. Be aware password recovery and the subsequencial data decryption of unauthorized or otherwise illegally obtained files may constitute theft or another wrongful action and may result in your civil and (or) criminal prosecution.
What programming language AOPR is written with?
Most time-critical parts are written in assembler (optimized for speed), and the rest is written on C and C++.
Can you send me the source code of AOPR, or explain how it works?
Sorry, no — source code is an intellectual property of our company.
What are the customers of AOPR?
Mostly, they are just individuals who forget or loose their passwords. We also sell our software to law-enforcement and forensics companies, police departments, criminal investigation teams all over the world, as well as state and local government. Our customers also include all Big5 accounting companies and most Fortune 500 companies (btw, including Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit, Symantec etc).
Where your company is located?
Our head office is in Moscow, Russia.