Scan a Computer for password protected files

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 13, 2008
Updated • Dec 8, 2014
Encryption, Software

Did you ever lose track of a password protected file on your system? This happened to me just a few days ago when I was looking for a zip file that a friend sent me which was password protected.

I could not remember the name and location where I saved it to and since I tend to clear the history at each reboot I was not able to take a look at the software protocol of the transfer anymore.

I could ask my friend and admit that I did not look into it yet and make myself look a little bit lost or try to find the file by myself. I naturally decided to try to find it on my own first and use my friend as a last resort.

The application that helped me find it was called Passware Encryption Analyzer, the free version of it to be precise.

This tool scans the computer or selected folders / drives for encrypted or password protected files. It lists every file that it finds during the scan in a table with information that include its name, location, file type and date modified.

The software detects lots of different file types including archives, Microsoft Office documents that have been password protected but also other file types like pdf documents or Bestcrypt files.

The application presents several option to you on start. You can select to scan the whole computer, a single drive, the My Documents folder, or selected drives and folders (custom).

The program won't scan the system folder by default which you can change under scan options. There you can disable the scanning of slow file types and enable the calculation of md5 hashes.

Once you have made the selection and clicked on the scan option you are taken to a new page that shows the scan progress. It may take a while depending on your selection during the configuration phase.

All matching files are displayed afterwards and if you right-click on any you can select options such as opening the file or the folder it contains from the context menu.

The free version has the limitation that it is not able to recover the passwords but that should not be necessary most of the time.

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Passware Encryption Analyzer
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