How to Unprotect Excel 2010 without Password

/ Posted by Shirley Howard to Excel / Follow @Shirley Howard

Internet has changed world into global village. Nothing is save until its protected by password or key.  Password protection methods are used in workplaces where data storage and analysis are done Microsoft Excel 2016 to protect their substantial records. These protections are used so that no unauthorize person could access or change the record. Only related person with known password are allowed to access and update record. Here comes a situation when you somehow lose password or forget password. Now even you can't unprotect workbook Excel 2010 without password and can't access that file. Excel document password protection is weak. So, if you want to unprotect Excel 2010 workbook without password here are some solutions:

Solution 1: Unprotect Excel 2010 File without Password using VBA Code

Another way to unprotect Excel file is by using VBA code. It is one of the simple method but it has to be done step by step. But first you have keep in mind following points:

  • Run this code for each sheet separately in Excel, if it contains 2 or more protected sheets.
  • If your Excel document version is later than 2010 then first save the document as Excel 97-2003 workbook (*.xls), run the macro, and then save it back to original version.

Now follow the following steps:

Open your Excel file and press Alt + F11 to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.

Now Right click on the workbook name and select Insert > Module.

excel 2010 vba

A dialogue box will appear in the right pane. Copy the following code and paste it.

 Sub PasswordBreaker()
'Breaks worksheet password protection.

Dim i As Integer, j As Integer, k As Integer
Dim l As Integer, m As Integer, n As Integer
Dim i1 As Integer, i2 As Integer, i3 As Integer
Dim i4 As Integer, i5 As Integer, i6 As Integer

On Error Resume Next

For i = 65 To 66: For j = 65 To 66: For k = 65 To 66
For l = 65 To 66: For m = 65 To 66: For i1 = 65 To 66
For i2 = 65 To 66: For i3 = 65 To 66: For i4 = 65 To 66
For i5 = 65 To 66: For i6 = 65 To 66: For n = 32 To 126

ActiveSheet.Unprotect Chr(i) & Chr(j) & Chr(k) & _
Chr(l) & Chr(m) & Chr(i1) & Chr(i2) & Chr(i3) & _
Chr(i4) & Chr(i5) & Chr(i6) & Chr(n)

If ActiveSheet.ProtectContents = False Then
MsgBox "Password is " & Chr(i) & Chr(j) & _
Chr(k) & Chr(l) & Chr(m) & Chr(i1) & Chr(i2) & _
Chr(i3) & Chr(i4) & Chr(i5) & Chr(i6) & Chr(n)

Exit Sub

End If

Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
Next: Next: Next: Next: Next: Next
End Sub

excel 2010 vba module

Now click on Run button to execute code.

excel 2010 run code

You will be notified as password is cracked. The password will not be the same instead it will be combination of A's and B's. Click OK and the Excel document is unprotected.

Solution 2: Unprotect Excel 2010 Password without Password Using 7-Zip

If you have forgotten your Excel file password and there is no way you could get that password back, here are some steps that could get your document back to you. It's tricky but not difficult just go step by step. You will be needing 7-Zip software for getting through these steps.

Navigate to Control Panel > Folder option > View and disable "Hide Extensions for known file types" to enable your file extensions. You will be needing it.

Now go to your protected excel file and rename and change its extension from .xlsx to .zip.

xlsx to zip

Use 7-Zip software to open your file and navigate to xl >workbook.xml and open or extract workbook.XML file.

open zip file

Now open the extracted XML file with notepad or WordPad and find the following tag:

"<workbookProtection …… />". sheet protection

Now select the whole tag and remove it. 

Now save the XML file and put it back in the same zip folder and replace the old one.

Close the zip file and change the extension back to .xlsx from .zip.

This method only applies to password protected workbooks. If the file is secured with the "Encrypt with Password" feature, it will not work.

Bonus Tips: Unprotect Excel Workbook 2010 with password

If your file is protected with password and your work has completed and now you want to deliver it to your boss, this is the time where you don't need the protection. Here is the easiest way to unprotect excel file but you need to know the old password as well. If you know that simply follow the steps below:

Open the document and enter the password to get full access.

Now navigate to File > Info > Protect Document > Encrypt with Password. A new dialogue box will appear before you displaying your old password.

remove old password

Now in-order to remove password you have to leave the space empty then click "OK".

password box

Now your file is decrypted successfully. You can deliver your file password free.

If you lost or forgot your password, you don't have to worry. Use PassFab for Excel, a fast and easy solution to recover lost or forgotten passwords for Microsoft Excel file. It supports for Excel workbook created in MS Excel 97-2016. There are 3 powerful attack types wrapped in Excel password recovery:

  • Brute Force Attack:

    It attempts all possible combinations of passwords until the correct password is found. The password recovery engine is highly optimized, thus short password can be recovered immediately.

  • Brute Force with Mask Attack:

    If you remember the password partially, you can set a mask with the mask symbols for those parts you can't remember, it will help you effectively shorten the recovery time compared with brute-force attack.

  • Dictionary Attack:

    Since many people use regular words or phrases for password, perform a dictionary attack by trying each word from the dictionary will save your precious time.

There are no technical skills required to use it. Here is the guide to use PassFab for Excel:

Step 1. Open PassFab for Excel and prepare to see its function. In the main interface of this software, please click Add option to import your password-protected document.

add excel file

Step 2. When you add your locked file, you'll see the general info of the file: size, last modified date, and password. The next step is to select a password crack type.

dictionary attack

Step 3. After confirming the attack type, select "Start" to crack password. The processing time depends on your password length, complexity and computer configuration. If your computer supports GPU, please select GPU Acceleration option before you click "Start".

recovery

Step 4. You will be notified by the password as it is cracked. Thus, you can use the password to unlock your file.

password found

With the help of above solutions now you can protect you excel file without fear of losing password. If your boss asked you get an old protected excel file fixed, you just need to go through one of the solutions mentioned above. You don't need to be IT expert for that. Or install PassFab for Excel to regain access to any Excel file.

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