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How to crack, open, or unlock password protected or encrypted ZIP, PDF, RAR, XLS, and XLSX files on Windows for free [Guide]

Ever come across a password protected or encrypted ZIP, PDF, RAR, XLS, or XLSX file that you wanted to extract or open but couldn’t because you didn’t know the password? Yeah, it happens to the best of us. For such situations, you need a way to crack/open/extract/unlock the password protected or encrypted ZIPs, PDFs, RARs, XLSs, or XLSXs. This guide shows you exactly how to do that.

BEFORE WE BEGIN

2013-05-04_225743 [1]For the purposes of cracking, opening, extracting, or unlocking password protected or encrypted ZIP, PDF, RAR, XLS, and XLSX files, we will be using a freeware program called Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker.

Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker is a program that makes use of brute-force and/or dictionary attacks to “guess” the password to password protected or encrypted ZIP, PDF, RAR, XLS, and XLSX files. Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker is portable and officially works on Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Win7 (Win8 isn’t officially supported but it likely works on Win8, too).

Please take note while Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker is portable, it is one of those portable programs that you must “install”. Once installed, you can grab the AppnimiAllInOnePasswordUnlocker.exe file from your installation location (which is C:\Program Files\Appnimi\Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker, unless you change it) and place it on any USB drive, external hard drive, on another computer, etc. — it is portable and will run anywhere without installation.

Also take note, there is no guarantee Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker will be able to crack/open/unlock your ZIP, PDF, RAR, XLS, or XLSX file. As already mentioned, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker uses brute-force and dictionary attacks to try to guess the password to your ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX file. Essentially what Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker does is it continually tries passwords until one password works. If the password protecting the ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX file is complex and long, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker may never guess it — or at least not guess it in a timely fashion. For example, you likely won’t be able to crack/open/unlock a ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX file with Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker that has a randomly generated 32-character password… not within your lifetime anyway. However, between brute-force and dictionary attack, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker should be able to guess passwords used by the average Joe; passwords that aren’t necessarily long or complex.

Now you must be thinking: okay, but how long does it take? Well, that again depends on the complexity and length of the password protecting the ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX file you are trying to crack. If the password is ‘cat123′, then you should be able to crack it within the hour. If the password is twelve characters long, then it will take a lot longer… and I’m not talking hours, I’m talking days and weeks. If the password is longer or more complex, then you may never crack it within a timely fashion. There is no way for me to tell you it will take X minutes to crack a ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX file — it all depends on the password that is used. Cracking ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX files is a game of patience. Extreme patience.

That being said, there are four important things to note about Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker.

Firstly, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker requires Java 6 or higher to run. If you don’t have Java 6 or higher installed, then Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker will not work for you.

Secondly, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker comes packed with bundled crapware. By my count, I found it asking me to install three unrelated programs during installation of Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker. To make matters worse, the crapware are the ones that masquerade as legitimate installations by prompting you with a license agreement asking you to either ‘Decline’ or ‘Agree’. Be sure to click ‘Decline’ for all three:

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Thirdly, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker has one very annoying feature: whenever you run the program, it opens the developer’s homepage in your default internet browser. You can block it from accessing your browser with your firewall but otherwise there is no way to stop this — you just have to deal with it.

Lastly, Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker comes up 1/43 on VirusTotal scan [3]. This means the program is likely safe but proceed at your own risk.

With that being said, let’s begin cracking.

How to crack, open, or unlock password protected or encrypted ZIP, PDF, RAR, XLS, and XLSX on Windows

To crack/open/unlock a password protected or encrypted ZIP/PDF/RAR/XLS/XLSX file, do the following:

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If Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker does not find the password using the dictionary attack, you will be given an error message:

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If this happens to you, you then need to use brute-force. Proceed to the next step in this guide to learn how to use brute -force.

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If Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker is unsuccessful, you will be shown the following on-screen and you must go back and modify the Max Length in Inputs (increase it) and the Characters in Brute Force (add more different characters) and try again if you want to crack the password:

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Do realize that it may be a while before you get the fail message because brute-forcing, especially with a Max Length of 32, can take a really long time. So you kind of need to decide what is a good time to quit (i.e. give up) if Appnimi All-In-One Password Unlocker is unable to find your password within a reasonable amount of time while using brute-force.

Repeat this process for every ZIP, RAR, PDF, XLS, and XLSX file you want to know the password of.

CONCLUSION

Cracking the password of protected ZIPs, RARs, PDFs, XLSs, and XLSXs is not a quick and painless process. It takes a lot of guessing and even more patience. However, if you really need access to the contents of the ZIP/RAR/PDF/XLS/XLSX then it may be time well spent. Enjoy!