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Unable To Scan Password Protected Excel 2003 Files


BD AV PRO 2011


Engine: 7.37082

I am ressurecting this topic as BD has closed/deleted my 2 previous threads regarding the following issues. The answers BD have provided via email are unsatisfactory and do not address the issues.

I will try and keep this succinct:

(1) The files I am having problems with are normal EXCEL 2003 files with ordinary Office passwords. They are NOT archive type files.

(2) The problem is that a SCAN (eg a DEEP SYSTEM SCAN) skips all EXCEL 2003 files if they have a password – in other words they are treated as if they are an archive type file. [To illustrate the point if the scan option to “scan inside archives” is set to “NO”, BD still reports all the EXCEL files as not scanned because of password protection]

All other types of Office file with a password (eg WORD, ACCESS etc) are scanned normally.

(3) I can reproduce this problem consistently and today have also reproduced it on another machine. I have tried a clean install of BD 2011 twice and this has failed to fix the problem. I can supply BD logs and test EXCEL files if required.

(4) This issue is identical to the one I reported in November 2010 when using BD 2010. I was advised by BD support at that time to upgrade to 2011. This I did, and it did indeed rectify the problem.

(5) However this problem has now reappeared. The last full scan I did on 28 March worked normally. I suspect the issue may have been caused by recent product updates.

(6) As an associated issue, when using a contextual scan, BD reports inconsistently if an incorrect password is entered. After 3 failed attempts the BD dialogue does not report that the password is incorrect but instead reports “no threats found”. This gives the impression that the file has been scanned. It is only examination of the detailed scan log that reveals that the file has been skipped and not scanned. In my view this could be seriously misleading to the user.


  • AJAY999
    edited April 2011

    Following a lot of testing this morning I can confirm that this behaviour only occurs on EXCEL files in 2003 format.

    If I scan an EXCEL 2003 format file which is password protected (and the scan setting is NOT to prompt for the password) then the file is skipped and reported as not being scanned.

    However if I then open the file and save it in EXCEL 2007 format using the Office Compatability pack (and using the same password) and scan it once more then the file is not skipped and is scanned correctly without the password being prompted.

    If I then open the 2007 file and resave it back in 2003 format (again using the same password) once again BD reverts back to ignoring the file when scanning.

    As I reported previously password protected WORD, ACCESS, POWERPOINT files are not affected by this problem irrespective of whether they are in either 2003 or 2007 format. They are always scanned by BD when password protected ven when the scan setting is for passwords NOT to be prompted.

    I can reproduce this 100% of the time in 2 environments. In my opinion this is definitely a BD bug.

    Can BD please comment.

  • Bump.

    Can BD Support comment?

  • Mihaela M.
    edited April 2011

    Hi AJAYS,

    Sorry for the delay. Can you tell me what version of Microsoft Outlook are you using ? Also, I need to know if your system is 32 or 64 bits.

    Thank you!

  • Hi Mihaela,

    I'm not sure of the relevance of the version of Outlook I'm using, but its Outlook 2003. I'm on WIN XP 32 bit.

    I have today received an email from your Carmen Cernev informing me that, by design, Bit Defender will in future no longer automatically scan password protected Excel 2003 files without BD being supplied with the password. However if I read her email correctly password protected Excel 2007 files will continue to be scanned automatically without the password being supplied. This change by BD only relates to Excel files.

    I find this unilateral and sudden change of BD 2011 behaviour (made since 29 March 2011?) disqueiting to say the least. As far as I am aware it has not been announced to the user community which in my opinion is not acceptable. How many other users maybe are unaware that these type of files files are not being scanned unless they review their detailed scan logs? As others have noted its about time BD published a regular change log all users can view so that they can see whats new (or removed!).

    Furthermore I'm informed that if I do supply the password to the file then BD will remember it for future scans. Limited tests I have done so far suggest that sometimes BD may remember the password, other times it does not. I will do some further tests tomorrow when I have time to see if I can identify a pattern to this.

    At the moment BD is now virtually useless on my system. I have very very many 2003 password protected files beacuse of client confidentiality (they are seperate files holding my individual clients financial details).

  • Dear Mihaela

    Following on from the above post, I found some time tonight to test the password handling system for Excel 2003 files and can confirm that it does not appear to function properly.

    I have emailed the BD support engineer who replied to my fault ticket (Carmen) with the details.

    I would be grateful if BD would sort this out asap as at the moment I cannot use BD to scan my system unattended.

  • set-password-for-word-excel-documents-1.jpg

    Open Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel and the document you wish to password protect.

    Click File

    Click Save As

    In the Save As window, click the Tools option in the upper right-hand side of the window.

    From the Tools drop-down menu, select General Options

    This will open a Save window that will allow you to specify a password used to open the file or modify the file.

    Password to open - Entering a password for this option will make the file only readable to the users who know the password.

    Password to modify - Entering a password for this option will allow users to view the file but only edit and save the file if they know the password. Keep in mind, however, that a user could open the file, copy the contents of the file to another file, and modify and create their own document.


This discussion has been closed.