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

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FAQ / TIPS & TRICKS > PASSWORD REQUEST TO OPEN FILES
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ENTER PASSWORD TO OPEN ENCRYPTED ARCHIVES

UNREADABLE (FORGED OR CORRUPTED) FILES

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PeaZip, like any archive management utility, needs the user to provide the correct password to work on encypted archives, in order to access and extract encrypted files, and in some cases even to list the content of the archive - i.e. if sender used "encrypt filenames" option (7Z archives) making archive table of content unreadable without providing correct password.


Recover lost / forgotten password


The person who created (and encoded) the archive is the only one to know the decryption password, and the only one that should be contacted to obtain the password in case it has been lost or forgotten by the recipient - or to provide a non-encrypted "unlocked" version of the file.
Current revisions of mainstream archive formats like (7Z, ARC, PEA, RAR, and ZIP) uses strong encryption, and it is unlikely to remove password-protection by trial (or with brute force password removal utilities) if the password is not known or it was forgotten.
Dictionary based password remover tools may be more efficient than brute-force routines, but strong passwords usually defeats the purpose of similar programs - randomly generated passwords, or long passphrases using mixed case, numbers and symbols replacements (as in Diceware rules), cannot usually get guessed & removed by such tools.
Unlocking an unreadable archive by attempting password recovery is generally not a recommended solution, to find an unknown password being a time-consuming process and the result not being guaranteed.

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Official PeaZip packages and website NEVER asks users a password to be downloaded / installed: if that happens please don't trust that package and use only official packages published on PeaZip official domain or on reputable software distributors.

An archive can be unreadable for various reasons, but in any case when this occour PeaZip let te user in full control about deciding if trying to decrypt it:
  • The archive header is encrypted and it's not possible to read it before providing the right password; in PeaZip's file/archive browser you can enter the password clicking the proper context menu entry or clicking on the locker icon in the status bar find encryption password or pressing F9
Hint: if you have to work on different archives with the same password you will not need to re-enter it since it will be kept until you change it or close PeaZip. If you open different instances of PeaZip each will start with no password and can keep a different password.
  • The archive may be corrupted (it can happen quite frequently, i.e. when there is an error during a download of a file, or due to a failure on the memory support), or be a fake file (i.e. a non-archive file or random data renamed with archive type extension), or in worst case it may have been purposely altered. In those cases you will need to re-download it from a trusted source or restore it from a reliable backup copy.

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In some cases PeaZip may not be able to browse archive's content because the file is corrupted (either for accidental corruption or malicious manipulation): PeaZip will always let the user in control of chosing if entering a password for trying to decrypt the archive any time an unreadable archive is encountered - even if the file extension is not usually associated with archives supporting encryption, as it can be easily changed to trick unexperienced users.

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If you suspect an archive file is corrupted you can do following things:
  • when downloading a file from the web or while saving a mail attachment, check if the download is reported to have been completed correctly (please note some download managers and some mail client make the file available for users before the actual download is completed!)
  • check if the size of the archive is the one expected
  • check if the checksum/hash of the file is the one expected - some sources reports checksum/hash of files for allowing users to perform this integrity check
  • open the file with an hexadecimal editor to see if its content seems normal or if it is higly uniform filled with zeroes (to reduce fragmentation some downloaders pre-allocates the full size of the downloaded file, then replaces the content with the actual file)
  • try to download it again or try to find another, more reliable source (or mirror) of the same file, see if other online users had encountered problems with the same archive
  • in PeaZip, you can try a decryption password, and you can try listing archive's content in flat mode clicking on the expand browse with password icon (or pressing F6)
  • finally, try to open it with a different extraction utility that may be more error tolerant: please note that this may not be a good solution, as relying on less stringent error checks on the archive may result in unexpected and undetected errors in the extracted files.

Read more about unreadable files and password protection: checksumvalidate data integrity and hashfind hash value functions, encryptionopen encrypted files articles on Wikipedia, Dicewareopen encrypted files password generation tips


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