5 Free PDF Password Remover Tools

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Free PDF password remover, cracker, reset, and recovery tools for Windows

PDF password remover (also called a PDF password cracker, password reset, or password recovery tool, depending on its ability) is a program that can be used to either find, remove, or bypass the security on a PDF file that prevents you from opening, printing, or changing the PDF file.

Most PDF password cracker tools fall into one or more of three major categories: tools that recover the PDF user password, tools that recover the PDF owner password, and tools that remove the PDF owner password allowing full access to the PDF file.

The majority of PDF password remover tools cost money but there are also plenty of free ones, the best of which we’ve found and reviewed below.

An individual PDF password removal tool might only support the cracking or removing of a password if it’s of a certain kind, for a certain security level, encrypting a certain version of PDF, or may even have other restrictions. I’ll call out any of those known limits below.

In most countries, the only legal use of PDF password crackers is to break the security on a PDF file that you have the permission to do so on, like a PDF you encrypted but forgot the password to.

Need to Crack a Different Kind of Password? See our list of free password crackers for free programs to crack Windows passwords, RAR and ZIP archives, Word and Excel files, and more.

01
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PDFCrack

Screenshot of PDFCrack
 PDFCrack.

What We Like

  • Locates the PDF password
  • Downloads quickly
  • It’s completely portable

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t support 256-bit AES encryption
  • It’s a command line tool (no graphical user interface)
  • Hasn’t been updated since 2008

PDFCrack is the best free PDF password recovery tool available, assuming that’s what you’re after — an actual password “recovery” and not a simple PDF password removal or reset.

Method: PDFCrack would be considered a true PDF password recovery program since it recovers both the user password and owner password from encrypted PDFs. PDFCrack uses a brute-force password recovery method.

Limits: PDFCrack works with PDF files up to version 1.6 with 128-bit RC4 encryption.

My Test: PDFCrack recovered the 4-digit owner password on a version 1.6 PDF file with 128-bit RC4 encryption in two minutes. A longer and/or more complicated PDF password could take days, weeks, or even longer to recover.

If all you need is a way to bypass the permissions security in a PDF then PDFCrack is probably more than you need in a PDF password cracker. However, if you need to know the actual owner or user password, PDFCrack is your best bet.

PDFCrack is a command-line tool and should work on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, including both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

GuaPDF Demo

Screenshot of GuaPDF
 GuaPDF.

What We Like

  • Works as a password remover and a password recovery tool
  • No installation required
  • Works with some PDFs protected with 256-bit AES encryption

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t work for large PDFs

GuaPDF, sometimes referred to as Guaranteed PDF Decrypter, is a combination PDF password remover/recovery tool. GuaPDF is easy to use and doesn’t even require installation.

Method: GuaPDF is primarily a PDF password remover tool for the owner password but can also be used as a PDF password recovery tool for 40-bit encrypted user passwords.

Limits: GuaPDF works with PDF files up to version 1.7 level 3 even with 256-bit AES encryption. However, GuaPDF will only decrypt PDF files at higher levels of version 1.7 if the encryption is at 128-bit AES.

My Test: GuaPDF removed the security on a version 1.7 level 8 PDF file with 128-bit AES encryption instantly.

Including “demo” software in a list of freeware programs might seem wrong but the GuaPDF demo is fully functional for small files — it doesn’t watermark or pretend to remove the password. Considering that it works across almost all PDF versions and encryption levels, something not found in most other true freeware PDF password removers, I couldn’t skip on including GuaPDF here.

I recommend that you pick GuaPDF as your PDF password cracker if you have a small PDF with only owner restrictions, which is probably the most common situation. If you need to recover the owner password, try PDFCrack instead.

GuaPDF works on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and most Windows server operating systems as well.

03
of 05

PDF Password Remover

Screenshot of PDF Technologies PDF Password Remover
 PDF Password Remover.

What We Like

  • Really easy to use
  • Removes the PDF password
  • Small download file
  • Can auto-open the PDF after deleting the password

What We Don’t Like

  • Isn’t portable (you have to install it)
  • Can’t remove the password on 256-bit encrypted PDFs

PDF Password Remover is another installable PDF password remover. It has a very simple PDF-in / PDF-out interface.

Method: PDF Password Remover’s name says it all — it’s a PDF password remover tool for the PDF owner password, and that’s all it does.

Limits: PDF Password Remover works with PDF files up to version 1.7 level 8 with 128-bit RC4 encryption.

My Test: PDF Password Remover instantly cracked a version 1.7 level 8 PDF encrypted at 128-bit RC4.

PDF Password Remover is really easy to use but doesn’t support some of the higher encryption levels. This might be the perfect PDF password cracker/remover tool for some PDF files but you’ll want to make another choice if the encryption level demands it.

I tried PDF Password Remover on both a 64-bit Windows 10 and Windows 7 PC but it should work equally well in Windows 8, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

04
of 05

PdfCrypt

Screenshot of PdfCrypt
 PdfCrypt v1.0.

What We Like

  • Works as a PDF password remover
  • Very portable
  • Quick download
  • Includes detailed instructions

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited to 128-bit encryption
  • Runs via Command Prompt instead of with a graphical interface

PdfCrypt is another command-line PDF password remover. Just specify the input and output PDF and a decrypted PDF file is instantly generated.

Method: PdfCrypt is a password remover tool. PdfCrypt will not find an owner or user password.

Limits: PdfCrypt works with PDF files up to version 1.7 level 8 with 128-bit AES encryption.

My Test: PdfCrypt decrypted a small version 1.7 level 8 PDF file with 128-bit AES encryption in less than a second.

PdfCrypt is easy to use but not as easy as the programs in this list that have a user interface. Be sure to look at the included “readme” text file for instructions on how to use PdfCrypt.

PdfCrypt should work equally well in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

05
of 05

PDF Unlocker

Screenshot of Appnimi PDF Unlocker 2.5 in Windows 10
 Appnimi PDF Unlocker 2.5.

What We Like

  • Locates the PDF password
  • Installs like a regular program with a graphical UI
  • Lets you pick from two recovery methods

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t find the password for PDFs protected with 256-bit encryption
  • Setup tries to install other programs

PDF Unlocker is a Windows installable program that will find the owner password of a PDF file. PDF Unlocker works much like PDFCrack but is instead a native Windows application, making it a bit easier to use, though noticeably slower.

Method: PDF Unlocker sounds like it might be a PDF password remover tool but in reality it’s a PDF password recovery program since it discovers the actual owner password from an encrypted PDF. PDF Unlocker can use either a brute-force or a dictionary password recovery method.

Limits: PDF Unlocker works with PDF files up to version 1.7 level 8 with 128-bit AES encryption.

My Test: PDF Unlocker recovered the 5-digit owner password on a version 1.7 level 8 PDF with 128-bit AES encryption in about an hour and that’s with me specifying the minimum and maximum password length, something you might not know. A longer password or a password where you don’t know the length beforehand could take PDF Unlocker several days, weeks, or longer to crack.

PDF Unlocker requires that Java is installed before you can use the program. The program also tries to get you to install several other programs during installation but you can cancel them and PDF Unlocker’s install will continue fine.

If you need to know the actual owner password of an encrypted PDF file then PDF Unlocker is a good bet, especially if the PDF is encrypted at a level that the much faster PDFCrack can’t handle. If you don’t need to know the PDF owner password, but instead just want it removed, try one of the PDF password remover programs.

PDF Unlocker should work in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, including both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Continue at:  https://www.lifewire.com/free-pdf-password-remover-tools-2626181

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