Sons decrypt my encrypted files

I encrypted two files, doc and xls with password.
Sent files to two sons in emails. They cannot decrypt the files.
“Wrong password”
They are both computer savvy, so what is happening?
Any ideas? [I tested the files several times]

How did you encrypt them (which program?) There are various encryption schemes. Your program may default to one type and they may be using a different scheme.

I’ve used MS Word and MS Excel. The internal method inside those progs. If I finally manage to find a send or drive method [OneDrive, GoogleDrive, DropBox, Proton Mail] son can sometimes get them to open, BUT HE CANNOT SAVE OR PRINT THE FILES…! My Excel file is 350 lines long, so this my problem.


I am not using MS programs at the moment, but I do know that files that came from ‘elsewhere’ may be READ ONLY so that if they contain a virus or commands, the computer is protected. He may have to say that he agrees the file came from a trusted site/person.

The version of programs may also be an issue. Here is a link to an explanation. Note that it talks about versions of the program.

I will read that link–thanks–but in the meantime, I sent the files to myself with the same result. I could download it, use the p/w to open, all okay so far, but like my son, I could not save it.

So, I sent my file to myselt, and saw the “edit” icon, and I could add to it, but just as my son said, clicking File > Save and it disappeared.

When son described this, I figured he did something, but the exact same thing happens with me. File > Save --wham, gone!


From your link

  1. Go to File > Info.
  2. Click the Protect Workbook box and select Encrypt with Password.
  3. On the pop up window, enter a password in the Password box, and then hit OK.
  4. Reenter password on the box, and confirm it.

That is precisely the way I do it.

BTW: I have encrypted sensitive files like this for ages with no problem. The problem becomes when I send it to anyone else, INCLUDING ME…

To expand on @Lavarocks suggestion…here is what my MS Word looks like when I download a document from email or the web and open it the first time:

So if you don’t enable this then the document is considered “untrusted”. Its possible that this is preventing the proper decryption using the password. I don’t ever use this feature so I am somewhat limited in providing help…

Yes, that’s what I get.

Try enabling Edit. SAVE AS to save it elsewhere.


Decades ago, Microsoft hid some MAC address of the computer in Word and Excel spreadsheets. That MAC (machine) address was unique for each computer. When you opened a document, the embedded value was checked against the machine it was opened on. If the number did not match, it came from elsewhere. A serial number of sorts. Soon after the public heard this, there was a giant push back. People could not create a document and be anonymous.

Also, some printer manufactors print the serial number of the machine in plan view on each page.

This may be why some printers refuse to print or scan to printer if there is no color ink available.

When I click anything on the top menu bar — anything —POOF It closes.

We’re working on the process to highlight all, copy / paste to blank file.

Finally figured it out…!!!
Sent the file to myself, and the inbound msg said,
“OneDrive cannot read this file”

OneDrive? Huh? Then realized MS365 forces everything into OneDrive…!

It must have some additional code, so rebuilt the file and saved it to a folder in C:

That works! So the problem was…ME

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NO, the problem wasn’t you, it was Microoft… but I digress :slight_smile:

Glad you found out what was happening.