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  1. #1
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    Locked out! Forgotten password or infection?

    When I started the PC this morning my pin number was rejected, and I have no idea of the password.

    Background. Until a couple of months ago I had a 15 character password, the name of a small area in another European town, which I know well, consisting of upper and lower case letters, some of which are substituted with grammatical symbols and some numbers interspersed. This password has been used for several years and is firmly fixed in my memory, and still works on the laptop.

    The PC was named George. Then I made the mistake of deciding to keep another copy of my photos on OneDrive, which entailed creating a MS account. The upshot was I now have two accounts, George containing no docs or photos, and very few progmammes, and the other George Lee, which is the normal working version. Consequently, starting up I select the latter, which has my Hotmail address emblazoned across the screen, and given the choice of entering password or a PIN number, I invariable choose the latter, which is the same as my credit card, to save time. As a result, Iíve no idea of the password, and doubt that it has ever been used.

    It is still possible to use the internet with the George account, although not email, without the hassle of setting it up again. Although emails received but not yet dealt with are inaccessible, I can log in to my ISP and read those not delivered. Hotmail say they usually respond within 24 hours - probably excluding weekends Ė provided I have provided enough verification. This is problematical, as they ask for a lot of info I cannot supply, such as details of recent emails sent by Hotmail (there have been none) and the credit card used to pay for Xbox, which I do not use. Also the email address they have for me is wrong, with no opportunity to correct it, so I gave my wifeís address, which they most probably will not accept Ė this was before the discovery that I can access the internet on the crippled part of my PC.

    If it eventually turns out that I have forgotten my PIN, and they set up a new one, all may be well, although it doesnít explain why the long password is being rejected. It looks to me as though the machine has been infected, despite the fact that yesterday I completed all the patches and weekly security scans.

    The most recent Macrium Pro image was created two weeks ago, but if the machine is infected, is it sufficient to restore it, or is a clean boot required? Itís unfortunate that all the articles on how to deal with such a case that I have kept, are locked away on the PC along with the Hotmail password, if it was ever noted down.

    Suggestions on how to verify my PIN and/or restore the machine gratefully received. At least I possess the Macrium registration number.

  2. #2
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    You should be able to reset the password for your Microsoft account: Forgotten password and other sign-in problems

    Do you use a numeric keypad for the PIN? Enter three digits, then hold down the mouse button on the eye icon to make sure it's entering digits.
    Last edited by BruceR; 2015-06-27 at 15:10.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    I use a normal keyboard, letters, numbers and the other odds and sods. Unable to understand the reference to an eye icon.

    The link just goes over what I wrote in the OP. It offered the following choices for identification;
    1. georgelee@georgelee etc, whereas my email address is g@ georgelee etc,
    2. or phone ……13 which meant nothing to me,
    3. recent emails using Hotmail, when I have never used it except to open a OneDrive account
    4. credit card used to pay MS, which is N/A

    Reading through the item made me realise that my phone number does end in 13, pity they didn’t quote the last four digits, when I would have recognised it immediately.

    Something else strange happened today; the usual shift + @ now produces inverted commas. Eventually I tried shift + inverted commas (over the 2) which gave the desired @.
    However, all this is PROBALLY irrelevant. I have been to an ATM and tried my credit card, after entering my PIN the next screen offered the usual cash withdrawal, change pin – neither of which were required, so I chose check balance. This was rejected by the credit card company as expected, but when I phoned them it was confirmed that reaching that screen proved the PIN was valid.

    As the only reason for needing the password was because my PIN had been rejected, the obvious conclusion is that there is something seriously wrong with the PC, most likely it has been infected. There was an email from LastPass this week saying their site had been hacked, customer names were taken but not passwords. Perhaps they were too optimistic!

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    George,

    The "eye icon" is at the right side of the password box and will reveal the letters/numbers typed so far. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Reading through the item made me realise that my phone number does end in 13, pity they didn’t quote the last four digits, when I would have recognised it immediately.
    The last two digits are just a hint. You have to enter all four digits to confirm it's yours.

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    3 Star Lounger KIWIpeteW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    I use a normal keyboard, letters, numbers and the other odds and sods. Unable to understand the reference to an eye icon.

    The link just goes over what I wrote in the OP. It offered the following choices for identification;
    1. georgelee@georgelee etc, whereas my email address is g@ georgelee etc,
    2. or phone ……13 which meant nothing to me,
    3. recent emails using Hotmail, when I have never used it except to open a OneDrive account
    4. credit card used to pay MS, which is N/A

    Reading through the item made me realise that my phone number does end in 13, pity they didn’t quote the last four digits, when I would have recognised it immediately.

    Something else strange happened today; the usual shift + @ now produces inverted commas. Eventually I tried shift + inverted commas (over the 2) which gave the desired @.
    However, all this is PROBALLY irrelevant. I have been to an ATM and tried my credit card, after entering my PIN the next screen offered the usual cash withdrawal, change pin – neither of which were required, so I chose check balance. This was rejected by the credit card company as expected, but when I phoned them it was confirmed that reaching that screen proved the PIN was valid.

    As the only reason for needing the password was because my PIN had been rejected, the obvious conclusion is that there is something seriously wrong with the PC, most likely it has been infected. There was an email from LastPass this week saying their site had been hacked, customer names were taken but not passwords. Perhaps they were too optimistic!
    If your inverted commas are producing @ maybe your numbers are doing the same thing and that is entering the wrong pin number. Funny enough on my wife's account on my laptop it also has the @ and inverted commas around the wrong way, but on my account they are fine. Also similar is out of the blue I lost permission to do any thing unless I entered a pass word I had never created and had so much trouble getting it right.

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    Thanks to Bruce, my PC is almost back to normal, even though it may well be infected. I admit to being somewhat irritated that he only went over the options already listed with numbered bullet points in #1, but reading the MS article, I suddenly realised that 13 are the last two digits of my phone number.

    Yes, it was stupid of me, but I think of my number in groups of 3,4 and 4, and was no doubt still confused by the first option giving my email as g********@ georgelee etc. Not knowing this was just for identification purposes rather than the mailing address they would use, I had to find another option. Looking back now, in a calmer frame of mind, I seem to recall that MS are one of those old-fashioned companies that refuse to believe g@etc could be a valid address, so I may have used george@ to register, in the belief that they would never need to contact me. There is one company that sends regular emails, but if I have to contact them, asks me to use a valid email. Unbelievable, but true.

    It was not all plain sailing. The first password chosen would not work, but repeating the process the second one was successful, but in the additional verification section they sent another code. Seeing no point in changing it again, I closed the browser.

    Later, after regaining access to my email, there were four messages from MS. Three were identical, stating that a code had been sent – corresponding to the three mentioned above, but the fourth contained another code. This has been retained in the in-box, for the possibility it might be needed.

    Logging in as George Lee, everything is back to normal. Even inverted commas and @ function as normal, but if signing in as George they are still the wrong way round.

    So everything is resolved, EXCEPT for the fact that something changed or cancelled my PIN. It seems most likely that the machine has been infected. I ran Superantispyware, Malwarebytes and Emsisoft again yesterday – MBAM found one item of malware, described as ‘stolen data’, it was something in appdta, roaming, which sounds fairly innocuous. Its removal made no difference. I must now try some online scanners, to see if they find anything.

    It’s tempting to make another image now, but what’s the point if the PC is infected?

    Again my thanks to Bruce, without his link I would probably still be waiting for a reply from MS.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-06-28 at 11:53. Reason: Spacing

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    Quote Originally Posted by KIWIpeteW View Post
    If your inverted commas are producing @ maybe your numbers are doing the same thing and that is entering the wrong pin number. Funny enough on my wife's account on my laptop it also has the @ and inverted commas around the wrong way, but on my account they are fine. Also similar is out of the blue I lost permission to do any thing unless I entered a pass word I had never created and had so much trouble getting it right.
    Intriguing. This raises the possibility that my PC is not infected.

    If the number keys were entering something else, it would explain why my PIN was rejected, but not the password, although, as already stated, it is not certain that the password was ever used in preference to the PIN. It may be that the password used for so long to sign in to this PC when there was only the one user, and still used to sign in as George here, and on the laptop, is the only one I can remember.

    However, what could have happened Friday night to change the operation of the number keys?

    It seems you are both using the same laptop, is everything working normally except for this malfunction of at least some numbers when your wife logs on? If so, it would appear to have no harmful effects.

    As you use a laptop, you probably only have the number keys along the top of the keyboard. I never use them, as it is so much slower moving backwards and forwards along the keyboard.

    Tomorrow I’ll log on initially as George, where this malfunction still occurs, and see whether shift + 2 from the left hand number pad results in @. If not, this was not the reason for yesterday’s problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Logging in as George Lee, everything is back to normal. Even inverted commas and @ function as normal, but if signing in as George they are still the wrong way round.
    If you switch from UK to US keyboard layout, then " and @ do get swapped. Try using the Windows key with the Space bar to switch back from US to UK keyboard layout.


    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    As you use a laptop, you probably only have the number keys along the top of the keyboard. I never use them, as it is so much slower moving backwards and forwards along the keyboard.
    I asked earlier if you used the numeric keypad for the PIN, and it now appears that you do. You need to make sure that NumLk is on for that.

    If you still can't use a PIN, try using the eye icon to check that the numbers you type are being correctly entered:

    Where you enter the PIN on Windows 8, digits appear as blobs; but if you hold the mouse button down on the eye icon at the right end of that space you can view what you typed. (You can only do it for the first three digits of a PIN, as the fourth digit completes the entry.)
    Last edited by BruceR; 2015-06-28 at 15:00.

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    3 Star Lounger KIWIpeteW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Intriguing. This raises the possibility that my PC is not infected.

    If the number keys were entering something else, it would explain why my PIN was rejected, but not the password, although, as already stated, it is not certain that the password was ever used in preference to the PIN. It may be that the password used for so long to sign in to this PC when there was only the one user, and still used to sign in as George here, and on the laptop, is the only one I can remember.

    However, what could have happened Friday night to change the operation of the number keys?

    It seems you are both using the same laptop, is everything working normally except for this malfunction of at least some numbers when your wife logs on? If so, it would appear to have no harmful effects.

    As you use a laptop, you probably only have the number keys along the top of the keyboard. I never use them, as it is so much slower moving backwards and forwards along the keyboard.

    Tomorrow I’ll log on initially as George, where this malfunction still occurs, and see whether shift + 2 from the left hand number pad results in @. If not, this was not the reason for yesterday’s problems.
    That's right the @ and commas thing caused no harm but at the same time as this started I lost administration rights on my account and the only password I had put in would not work any more and I was blocked from doing many things. Unfortunately running over my senareo won't help as it's different. Briefly though I had to go into my wife's account to give my administration privilege back and set up a new password which was not easy as it was in another language and we were both clueless at that stage. Worked out the steps by taking it to someone with another laptop and read it along side each other to work out what it was saying. To this day I don't know why my password stopped working for no apparent reason and the @ changed places. Sorry I can't help, good luck with that. But at the end of the day the computer did not have a virus. CHEERS Pete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KIWIpeteW View Post
    That's right the @ and commas thing caused no harm but at the same time as this started I lost administration rights on my account and the only password I had put in would not work any more and I was blocked from doing many things. Unfortunately running over my senareo won't help as it's different. Briefly though I had to go into my wife's account to give my administration privilege back and set up a new password which was not easy as it was in another language and we were both clueless at that stage. Worked out the steps by taking it to someone with another laptop and read it along side each other to work out what it was saying. To this day I don't know why my password stopped working for no apparent reason and the @ changed places. Sorry I can't help, good luck with that. But at the end of the day the computer did not have a virus. CHEERS Pete.
    Try entering your password/pin number in notepad (where you can see it) - and then cut and paste that into the password prompt.

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    If you switch from UK to US keyboard layout, then " and @ do get swapped. Try using the Windows key with the Space bar to switch back from US to UK keyboard layout.
    I logged in as George this morning and the inverted commas /@ issue has returned to normal. This probably coincided with the creation of a new password for the George Lee account, as I noticed yesterday that both are now asking for my Hotmail password.

    Why this occurred is as great a mystery as why the creation of a MS account resulted in all the data and pictures being switched to the new George Lee side.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    I asked earlier if you used the numeric keypad for the PIN, and it now appears that you do. You need to make sure that NumLk is on for that.

    So this is a numeric keyboard! Not something with only numbers, such as a calculator.

    I am familiar with the number lock, as my wife always uses the numbers at the top, and complains if after working on her PC I forget to switch it off. In any case, this would not apply here , as we have had four desktops, all Dell, and this the only one where the main number keys are single use.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2015-06-29 at 11:15. Reason: Fitting in the two quotes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KIWIpeteW View Post
    That's right the @ and commas thing caused no harm but at the same time as this started I lost administration rights on my account and the only password I had put in would not work any more and I was blocked from doing many things. Unfortunately running over my senareo won't help as it's different. Briefly though I had to go into my wife's account to give my administration privilege back and set up a new password which was not easy as it was in another language and we were both clueless at that stage. Worked out the steps by taking it to someone with another laptop and read it along side each other to work out what it was saying. To this day I don't know why my password stopped working for no apparent reason and the @ changed places. Sorry I can't help, good luck with that. But at the end of the day the computer did not have a virus. CHEERS Pete.
    Both cases seem very similar, except for the beginning. You were changing admin rights when the password ceased to function, whereas I started downloading an opera before going to bed, woke up during the night, closed the browser, switched off the PC and went back to bed. In the morning I could not log on, for no obvious reason.

    After this both cases followed the same course. One of the accounts on each was switched to what is apparently the US keyboard layout and you were blocked from doing many things, and so was I, in that the UAC kept popping up and demanding my Hotmail password, which I did not know. I did manage to get round that once – becoming fed up with IE, I downloaded FF, but UAC wanted the password before installing. I tried about 4 times and eventually it installed.

    I find it somewhat reassuring that you haven’t encountered any other problems resulting from this. Perhaps this PC has not been infected, but I shall continue with the online scanners for the moment.

    Thanks for your posts.
    George

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    3 Star Lounger KIWIpeteW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan sh View Post
    Try entering your password/pin number in notepad (where you can see it) - and then cut and paste that into the password prompt.

    Alan
    I will remember this tip,hopefully UAC won't decide to forget my password again and I won't be in this boat with out a paddle again.(if it was me that forgot the password I would admit it) Also thanks to BruceR post I have both accounts with the @ and " around the right way. The problem account gets used mainly in Thai with the on screen key board which had English/UK and Thai so now I have English/NZ/US and Thai key board which has the main key board correct now. I asked the shop about this ages ago and there answer was to send it back to Samsung....YEAH RIGHT
    Last edited by KIWIpeteW; 2015-06-30 at 04:20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan sh View Post
    Try entering your password/pin number in notepad (where you can see it) - and then cut and paste that into the password prompt.

    Alan
    +1
    And that is the only thing that works for some sites if you are using Excel '97 and are trying to copy paste from there. Chrome I think has a paste as plain text option that might work but I am not using Chrome for those sites.
    David

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