Question

Password Assistance (Hear me out)

Allow me to preface this by admitting fault in not properly organizing my data, nor providing full-coverage backup with multiple physical and cloud options.

After a few weeks of my laptop running slow with no detected viruses, I decided it best to reformat my drive and start fresh. This required backup, and opted to spend the cash on another external hard drive than to scour 200gb of data to remove duplicates and make space on drives already on hand. The following took place slowly afterward..

-Transferred data while I kept busy around the house
-Reinstalled Windows
-Download WD software suite
-Began process of drive encryption
-Set Password
-Tried to renter (there was a reason I cannot remember, possibly over the natural process of WD's software config) and it tells me the password I just set moments beforehand is invalid.
-Whew, the drive is still unlocked so I begin transferring the data back to the computer to reformat drive and correct the mistake.
-Throw in a load of dishes, come check on progress.. and find Windows in the middle of forced updates. Oh. My. God.

91% made it over before the transfer was abruptly stopped, unless that 9% is allocated for encryption and whatever else WD software had parceled. That seems far too much space to hold true. What sucks is, without being able to know what didn't make it, I cannot check if I have it backed up elsewhere.

-I have the receipt. It shows a credit card (in my name) was used to purchase it. The drive was registered under me.

-I am aware that none of that matters.

-The password I (thought I) used 17 characters long, words are found in a dictionary, plus a character and number.

-Since I was obviously not paying attention, I may have substituted one of the words for another that would not be found in a dictionary.


TLDR

What would be the most efficient tool to plug in both passwords to generate variations, and ideally attempt them for me? I have never needed to bypass a password before, so this is new territory. Downloading cracking tools from unrecognized sources also sounds like a great way to lose everything.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but wanted to provide context as this predicament is rather suspect.

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Answer
Re: encrypted

Sorry for not being able to help.

Just suggesting to not use encrypting software on an backup disk if you're not planning to take it with you, but keep it safe in the house. That external disk is perfectly usable without it, as you saw when you wrote to it.
And, of course, it's not very smart to start encrypting a drive if it contains the only copy you know of of your data. But you knew that already.

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Re: Re: encrypted

I did know that, yet still chose to do so. The computer accompanies me out, and had intended on doing the same with the drive, which neither explains nor excuses hastily encrypting the drive without first copying. I cannot believe the turn of events that unfolded, but it was still a stupid move on my part.

There is still a very good chance I have not lost anything, what I lack in organization (and obviously common sense) is compensated for with redundancy. I have excessive backup routines, to the point of finding 3+ copies of files on the same drive(s) and cloud storage. With Murphys Law in mind I tossed the drive into a drawer and figured I'd bother with it if I came across a needed file I could not source elsewhere. The drive has mocked me every time I've opened the drawer, it's now been a couple months, and the thought of losing/erasing something has gotten to me. I'm sure I'll discover something lost the moment I wipe the drive.

No need to be sorry, ultimately this falls back on me in every way. I've found a few password variators, but I'm struggling with blindly trusting a company that supplies cracking tools. I know the intended password (with the hint I created supporting that posit) but I somehow reentered it incorrectly when confirming my selection. One of the words is interchangeable with the "non-dictionary" one, so all I can guess is I mindlessly punched a hybrid of the two..

TLDR (again.. sorry)

Do you by chance know if Windows would even begin an update while it is actively transferring files? I cannot seem to find a definitive answer, but if it wouldn't I would feel comfortable just wiping it and accepting my lapse in judgement.

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Yes. Windows could indeed start an update or reboot

In the middle of such. While you may think this a bug, in Microsoft's view, probably not as they think we all learned about backup copies. We only lose what we don't backup.

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Re: Yes. Windows could indeed start an update or reboot

The inability to verify everything was backed up is what's driving me nuts. The unstoppable updates that plagued me (and Win10) for so long are a nuisance and always seemed to begin at the most inconvenient times. I'd consider windows choosing to stop a process (such as writing data from an external source) in the middle of execution to abruptly restart/update more than a nuisance.

Still, my fault.

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I haven't found it to update, restart as often.

And it usually notifies me so I can postpone. But if you walk away it may notify and countdown.

That aside there are better sync apps that can verify. One I used again last week was
Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier.

I like it since it can be set to do so many things. Verify, only copy newer, changed, etc.

All this aside I don't know of any OS today that would avoid issues when folk don't have backups.

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Re: I haven't found it to update, restart as often.

They were reportedly going to cease unstoppable updates due to huge backlash from users (i.e. https://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-windows-10-forced-updates-auto-restarts-are-the-worst/). I assume they either did or have not released one for a while since I haven't recently seen any notifications. I'll definitely be looking into that app after this post.

I'd argue that updates can vary widely in severity of whatever they are patching. My gripe is less it not detecting how current backups are, that would be unrealistic imo. What gives me a headache is the thought that the OS would abruptly stop a commanded process it was in the middle of, without completion, to update. Not completing the copy of a file may usually be a problem easily remedied, but if it would stop one action being executed by itself, there could potentially be other OS-commanded processes that would cause much larger issues by leaving unfinished.

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When it gets in the news, Microsoft and other companies

Change. There is another thing I want to get on the table before we go somewhere else.

Last week I ran into an unstable Windows machine. This is not just a W10 issue so what was it? CHKDSK. Turns out the owner had been ignoring a sign something was amiss on boot.

The machine would boot but show Press a key to skip disk checking. The check failed and it would boot but every boot this was showing.

After all was on backups I opened an Admin elevated command prompt and typed in
CHKDSK C: /F /R /X

On the next reboot the checking completed and the machine finished a pending install and the video mode went back to normal.

Yes, we wish for a better perfect OS but here we are decades down the road and it's only better, not perfect.

Post was last edited on January 1, 2018 11:22 AM PST

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I read this twice and still confused

Which drive was encrypted? The internal or external?
which drive was being updated by windows?
With no virus, why were you reinstalling windows?

As for stopping windows updates during such activities, it's easy. Unplug the LAN cord from router, or disable the wifi.

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Re: I read this twice and still confused

I had just finished encryption on the external drive. Attempted to plug in the password immediately after its creation, to be informed it was incorrect. Since I had just set the password, I still had access to the drive and began pulling everything off of it.

While Windows was copying the data back onto the laptop (from the now-encrypted external hd), I threw in a load of dishes. I returned to find it (the laptop) updating. Once it finished and rebooted, I was left with (what I believe to be) an impartial transfer and now inaccessible external drive.


I dislike the practice, but can understand how Windows may not postpone updating while using browser-based material or third party software, but to think Windows would interrupt an action it is directly executing for arbitrary updates is insane imho.


In terms of a virus (or lack thereof), all I knew was something was bogging down the computer. If there was a virus, it was not being detected. Rather than search for the cause, I felt a refresh would be a simpler approach.

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encryption password

Hopefully it had you enter the password twice? Sometimes people have cap lock on when doing it, or use a cap letter, often at urging of program, and then forget to use caps on that letter when trying to access the encrypted volume. I don't think the update would have interfered with the encrypted drive, other than cutting it off on a reboot,since windows always reboots on their updates. Have you unplugged the external drive from computer and powered it down, then powered up and replugged? That should do a complete reset on the password prompt, maybe it will work then. Is the external a WD Passport or similar drive with the VCD program on it? Or is it using SmartWare?

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