A pad and pencil...

A long (long) time ago at my second full-time computer job, I took my personal computer to work.

There's a whole other story behind that. Suffice to say my personal computer was much better than the ones supplied to me by my employer to do THEIR work <ahem>.

Even 34 years ago I was security conscious.

The machine could be password protected - a rare thing in those days, and I made sure I had a password on it.

I didn't trust some of the people I worked with, for good reason as it turned out but that's a whole other story.

I had to tell one of the untrustable people my password - my machine was the only one good enough to run a demonstration for a customer (OMG! What kind of Mickey Mouse outfit was I working for?).

None of these people were the ones I didn't trust. These people were all lovely and great :-) Except for me, can you spot me?
This is where I worked at the time. These people were all lovely. Untrustworthy ones aren't pictured.

It was a Friday afternoon so after the demonstration we went to the pub. It was the late 80's. That's how we rolled.

When I returned from the pub I realised that I needed to re-protect my computer. Bad people now knew my password so I had to change it.

I changed my password very logically, very carefully and went home.

When I returned to work on Monday morning I could not get past my password.

What I thought it was, and a hundred variations thereof, it wasn't.

In this machine the password lived on an actual circuit board that hung off the main computer motherboard.

Everything "soft" reset method I tried failed. I could not get past or reset the password in any way.

I got desperate and pulled the machine apart down to its largest logical plug-and-play components. This included removing the daughter-board that had the password system on it.

To my great surprise and immense luck, the password was erased/reset by this process and I could get my computer going again.

If someone knew what to do they could actually get past the password very quickly. But "they" didn't.

So what does a pad and pencil have to do with why am I telling you this cautionary tale?

Well, if I had bothered to write the password down on a piece of paper and take it home with me I would have saved myself a lot of stress, bother and time.

You probably aren't surprised by how often I am required to reset or recover or guess or otherwise magically divine passwords for people.

Passwords are horrible but essential.

I get it. You're not interested.

But you really should pay attention and save your password/s somewhere and somehow.

One of the places I often bump up against passwords being forgotten quickly is on new computers.

Someone has purchased a new machine, set it up in a hurry and not really paid attention along the way.

All new machines force you down some sort of password or security path during their set up.

People rush through this process because they want or need to get to the good stuff - a working useful and fun new machine.

"Writing down a password? Pffft, I'll use the one I always use!"...but have you? Have you really?

Have you been required to add a digit, a special character or an uppercase letter that you don't normally do? Yeah, you probably have....but what?

It's for your own good but if you don't pay attention you'll end up like me on the Monday morning after the boozie Friday - unable to "get in".

Even if you think you'll remember it, it is best to write down exactly what you set the password to until such time as you can login with it and prove to yourself that you do really remember it.

With security being what it is these days, forgetting your new machine's password can quite often mean that it needs to be "factory reset" and set up again from scratch.

Often it is me who will have to tell you this. Happiness doesn't follow this revelation. You're now paying me to do what you just thought you did...but didn't.

A simple pad and pencil could have saved you all of this hassle. Believe me, I know!!!

Don't drink and password!

Cheers...I mean, regards, David

P.S. Obviously passwords require better protection than being written on scraps of paper, certainly in the long term and certainly because we need so many of them.

For more articles and information follow the link to my other posts about passwords:


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