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Change password of encrypted 7Z ARC RAR ZIP archives

PeaZip is a free cross-platform file encryption and archiver utility that provides an unified portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX... free alternative to WinRar, WinZip and similar proprietary software.
- Create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP files
- Open and extract ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF, ZIPX files and more,
over 180 archive types supported
Features of PeaZip includes:
archives opener and extractor, batch creation and extraction of multiple archives at once, convert files, create self-extracting archives, split and join files, strong encryption with two factor authentication, encrypted password manager, secure deletion, find duplicate files, calculate hash and checksum, export job definition as script.

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Change password of existing archives

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Mainstream archive formats (including 7Z, RAR, and ZIP/ZIPX) supports file level encryption, which means a single archive can (potentially) contain files encrypted with different passwords, and even mix encrypted and non encrypted files - updating existing archives let user provide an arbitrary password at each instance.

Extraction of data from encrypted archives requires the appropriate password being provided to the decryption procedure, consequently working with an archive protected by different passwords for different group of files it needs to separately, selectively, extract each group of file with the right password.
To set encryption / decryption password in PeaZip, click on the padalock icon.
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This also means it is not possible, by design, to implement a fast password-changing mechanism in archive formats supporting this feature.

Fast password modification mechanisms usually rely on encrypting data with a random system-generated password, which is then encrypted with actual user-provided password, and finally added to the header of the file. Changing the user-provided password would then be possible simply decrypting and re-encrypting the header area containing the random system-generated password (used to encrypt the actual data).

A similar mechanism to replace password in header would not support encrypting single files with different passwords (or let them unencrypted) as required by 7z, rar, and zip standards, which results in fast password modification mechanisms being ruled out by design.
Consequently, the standard way to change password to existing archive, or to remove password(s) is to:

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extract the old archive, providing the needed current (old) password(s) - the password that will be replaced

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re-create the new archive, providing the new password - if you want to remove / reset password simply omit it

Both steps can be time-consuming if large archives are involved - as, basically, to modify password the existing archive needs to be extracted with the old password and re-created with the new password.

PeaZip can help in each step of password change process, allowing to extract multiple files at once (even mixed types), and to create multiple separated archives at once, flagging "Add each object to a separate archive" option. This allows to work on batches of files at once.
Convert archives feature can help automating this procedure: flagging "Change password" switch the user will be asked to provide a new password to be applied to archive(s) being converted.

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Adding a password to unencrypted archive(s) is inherently simpler - as the program does need to know old password(s) - and can be automated using archive conversion procedure. In this case it is sufficient to add archives(s) to conversion procedure, and set a password, to have archive(s) extracted and the re-created with encryption.

PeaZip can save current task as batch script, in order to help automating recurring works, please note passwords will be saved - in order to have batch password-change process run unattended, without asking for user interaction, namely typing the password - so batch scripts containing saved passwords must be securely managed.

PeaZip supports creating encrypted files under following standards - which can be set as destination formats when changing archive password:
  • 7Z with 7-Zip / p7zip AES256-based encryption

  • ZIP with WinZip AE (Advanced Encryption), AES256-based, or ZipCrypto (for legacy support only)

  • ARC with FreeArc AES256, Twofish256, Serpent256, and Blowfish algorithm
  • PEA with PeaZip AES, Serpent and Twofish (128/256 bit) EAX-mode authenticated encryption
This utility also supports, only for extraction, decrypting password-protected ACE, RAR, and ZIPX archives.
Those formats can only be used as sources, not destinations, when replacing password - as the destination of password change needs to be a format supported for writing - so in this case archive type conversion to a fully supported format is required to modify the password protecting the data.






FAQ > Security > Chage / remove password of existing encrypted archives

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