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Password Protection Loophole

Most Word users know that you can password protect a Word document. A good portion of those users know that password protection is not the most secure way to protect your document. One example of this is the following scenario:

  • Make sure you have Word set to create backup copies.
  • Create a normal Word document and save it a few times. (You now have the document and a backup file.)
  • Choose Save As and save the document using the same name, but with a password.

At this point you have a document that is protected, but the backup file is not protected. Note that this sort of makes sense, since the current file you save is your document as it currently exists (protected) and the backup file is the last version of your document (which was unprotected).

The only way around this problem is to either turn the backup files off, delete the unprotected backup file, or save your file twice. (The second save will wipe out the unprotected backup file and save the protected one in its place.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1373) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, and 2002.

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