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Password Recovery Tools for Encrypted WPDOS Files

 Password recovery tools for WPDOS 4.x and 5x | Password recovery tools for WPDOS 6.x and later | Password-protected WPMac files | Home page

Password recovery tools for WPDOS 4.x and 5.x

If you know the password of an encrypted WPDOS file, simply open it in WordPerfect or WordPerfect for Windows. If you do not know the password, then use one or more of the tools described on this page.

Password-protected WPDOS 4.x and 5.x documents can easily be "cracked" by freeware and open-source tools. I have combined some of these in a single WPUnlocker program that will (1) try to find the password in an encrypted WP file (so that you can open the file in any version of WordPerfect) and (2), if you choose, decrypt the file and create an unencrypted WPDOS 5.1 file from the original 4.x or 5.x file. You may open the resulting unencrypted file in WordPerfect or in Microsoft Word for Windows. The program will also offer to create an RTF file from the WordPerfect file, using the old Word for Word converter; the RTF file should open in any modern word processor.

If you already know the password of an encrypted WPDOS 4.x or 5.x file, but you do not have a copy of WordPerfect available, then you can use the WPUnlocker program to decrypt the file and create an RTF file from the contents.

The WPDOS 4.x features in the WPUnlocker program use a decrypting program by John Hernandez, which is based on a 1987 paper by John Bennett. John Hernandez very generously enhanced his program to make it more suitable to the wrapper software that I have used in building the WPUnlocker, and I am deeply grateful to him for his time and trouble. The WPUnlocker also uses a decrypting utility written by Ron Dippold (available separately in the compressed archive described below).

The WPDOS 5.x features in the WPUnlocker program use two utility programs by Ron Dippold, one to find the password, the other to decrypt the password-protected file using the password found by the first program. Both these utility programs are included in the compressed archive described below.

All the freeware WPDOS 5.x password-related programs that I have found may be downloaded in this compressed archive. This includes the programs used in the WPUnlocker program.

A Mac-based version of the WP 4.x (only) unlocker may be downloaded from this link; it displays the password it finds, and offers to create a text-file version of the original file; this text-file version may be littered with control codes, but will let you recover text. If you use this program to find a WP4 4.x password, you should open the file in WordPerfect, possibly using the software I have made available for running WordPerfect for Mac. I am grateful to Tyler Thorsted for building a Mac version of John Hernandez's software and for much advice on the program.

Password recovery tools for WPDOS 6.x and later

No freeware password-recovery tool exists for WPDOS 6.0 and later versions of WordPerfect.

Commercial tools for recovering lost passwords for password-protected files are available from a number of vendors. The only product I know that can recover passwords from WPDOS 6.x and all other versions from 5.0 onward is the made by TheGrideon (this is also the product that was recommended by the WP programming expert Gordon McComb).

Other recovery tools are available from ElcomSoft; and Passware; you may also try a document-recovery service from Password Crackers. Unforunately, these three tools can recover lost passwords from files created by WordPerfect for DOS 5.x or any version of WordPerfect for Windows, but not from WPDOS 6.1 or 6.2. (When I reported this issue to ElcomSoft, they told me that they did not support this old format; they seem to have the idea that no one wants to decrypt old documents.)

Password-protected WPMac Files

As far as I know, no tool exists for recovering lost passwords from password-protected files created in WordPerfect for the Macintosh. A tedious but effective method of finding a password is described in in this (archived) group posting. Also, the encryption method used in WPMac is apparently similar to the weak method used in WordPerfect 4.x and 5.x, and perhaps may be broken by skilled use of the methods described in this article and in similar sources.

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