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Author Topic: The tragic tale of forgetting which long password phrase belongs to which wallet  (Read 1312 times)
Absentis
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November 01, 2011, 03:32:37 AM
 #1

Issue resolved.

The lesson I learned from this: If you enter in a password that is incorrect, don't keep typing it in because it'll mess with your mind and muscle memory.

-----

Ever since 0.4 came out I've had long passwords on both my wallets; one on my desktop, one on my netbook. These passwords are unique to the wallets and I've never used them elsewhere. Taking a cue from http://xkcd.com/936/ I used a phrase for both passwords.

Oct 30 I made four transfers to my netbook wallet having created a new address for each transfer (requiring me to put in my password) bringing the total to 62 bitcoins. I backed up my wallet a few minutes later and thought I was okay. (I was out of town and was using the hotel internet to make the transfers, which is probably coincidence but I might as well mention it.) The bitcoins are still in the wallet so I doubt foul play.

Today I go to send some coins and my password doesn't work - a password I've entered dozens of times while rehearsing it in my head and with the muscle memory from having typed it out so many times. So I try to troubleshoot, do the usual stuff like making sure my capslock key isn't on. I tried putting the effected (netbook) wallet.dat file on my desktop computer. I loaded up backups of my netbook.dat file from two different sources, still nothing. I used system restore on my netbook to rollback to Oct 29, the day before those successful transfers. (Both computers run Win7; netbook is x86, desktop is x64).

So if you can help me, I'll compensate you based on time and effort.

Thanks for reading this far, I'm really scared that I lost all those bitcoins. I hope I wake up tomorrow morning and my password will suddenly begin working again. :C



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kokjo
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November 01, 2011, 07:43:44 AM
 #2

can you remember the passwords? else you are out of luck!

you can send me a PM, if you want me to try to recover the wallets, but i need the wallets and the passwords.
yes it sounds like a scam, but your bitcoins are lost anyway, unless you can fix it yourself.

i will not promise that i can fix it, but i will try. Smiley

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
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November 01, 2011, 08:04:52 AM
 #3

Did you by any chance change your keyboard layout/input language?

Try typing your passphrase into notepad, does it type out correctly?

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dabest1
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November 01, 2011, 08:12:07 AM
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Did you have a firewall running?
Did you have antivirus running?
Was hotel wifi insecure - no encryption or using WEP?
Aprogas
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November 01, 2011, 11:35:02 AM
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Memory is not always a reliable tool. Sometimes you are absolutely sure you remember something correctly, even when you don't. I have wasted a phone by entering the wrong PIN-code three times; at the time I was absolutely sure it was the right code, but a day later I realised what my code really was. I recommend meditating before going to sleep; clear your mind of what you currently think is the correct passphrase and ask your mind what the real passphrase is. Even if you don't "get an answer" during your meditation, since you have been focusing your mind on it, the next morning you may suddenly get it. Also stop re-entering the same passphrase that isn't working, you are only confirming an incorrect memory and making it stick.
Absentis
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November 01, 2011, 03:09:02 PM
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you can send me a PM, if you want me to try to recover the wallets, but i need the wallets and the passwords.
yes it sounds like a scam, but your bitcoins are lost anyway, unless you can fix it yourself.

If in a few days nothing else works I may very well take you up on your offer.

Did you by any chance change your keyboard layout/input language?

Try typing your passphrase into notepad, does it type out correctly?

Keyboard layout is the same. Typing the password into notepad comes out correctly.

Did you have a firewall running?
Did you have antivirus running?
Was hotel wifi insecure - no encryption or using WEP?

I had a firewall and antivirus (MSE) running, and the wifi was unsecured. Since posting I've done a full scan and nothing was found by MSE.

Memory is not always a reliable tool. Sometimes you are absolutely sure you remember something correctly, even when you don't. I have wasted a phone by entering the wrong PIN-code three times; at the time I was absolutely sure it was the right code, but a day later I realised what my code really was. I recommend meditating before going to sleep; clear your mind of what you currently think is the correct passphrase and ask your mind what the real passphrase is. Even if you don't "get an answer" during your meditation, since you have been focusing your mind on it, the next morning you may suddenly get it. Also stop re-entering the same passphrase that isn't working, you are only confirming an incorrect memory and making it stick.

Thank you, this is fantastic advice. I'll meditate and wait for a while before trying to enter my password.
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November 01, 2011, 08:00:14 PM
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you can send me a PM, if you want me to try to recover the wallets, but i need the wallets and the passwords.
yes it sounds like a scam, but your bitcoins are lost anyway, unless you can fix it yourself.

If in a few days nothing else works I may very well take you up on your offer.
im fine with that, but i hope that you can solve it yourself. its not good solution, to have someone(me) to look in your wallet, even if im a kind of expert on db recovery(tryed it a few times.)

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
Absentis
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November 01, 2011, 10:51:21 PM
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Meditation worked! I was in the process of clearing my mind from the usual cacophony in my head and it popped right into my head.

Thanks for all the responses everyone!

Could a mod delete this thread before I feel too embarrassed? Thanks!
DeathAndTaxes
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November 01, 2011, 10:59:04 PM
 #9

Don't feel embarrassed.  Leave the thread likely it will happen to someone else eventually.

Now print out the passphrase.  Print it multiple times on a single sheet of paper (to ensure legibility in case part of it becomes wet/torn/smudged) and put it into a safe or safety deposit box.  Alternatively you can make a QR code of the passphrase as they can retain the message even if significant portion of the code is degraded.

Hopefully you also have a backup of the wallet.dat.  If it becomes damaged the passphrase is useless.  A deterministic wallet is superior to a backup IMHO.  Your passphrase becomes both access to your wallet and ability to recreate the entire wallet.
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November 02, 2011, 12:05:41 AM
 #10

Now print out the passphrase.  Print it multiple times on a single sheet of paper incase part of it becomes wet/torn/smudged and put it into a safe or safety deposit box.
I don't print out my actual passphrases, but I do keep a master list with *clues* as to what they are.

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Absentis
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November 02, 2011, 02:59:08 AM
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Hey Aprogas, mind giving me a btc address? I want to toss a few bitcoins your way.
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November 02, 2011, 03:50:12 AM
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i wonder how many people out there actually use correct horse battery staple as their passphrase.
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November 02, 2011, 04:48:06 AM
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i wonder how many people out there actually use correct horse battery staple as their passphrase.

No one reading XKCD is dumb enough to copy that passphrase...
..right!? lol

(BFL)^2 < 0
kokjo
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November 02, 2011, 11:12:33 AM
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Quote
Meditation worked! I was in the process of clearing my mind from the usual cacophony in my head and it popped right into my head.
GOOD!
Quote
Could a mod delete this thread before I feel too embarrassed? Thanks!
i think you can do that yourself.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
Absentis
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November 02, 2011, 11:18:06 AM
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GOOD!
Quote
Could a mod delete this thread before I feel too embarrassed? Thanks!
i think you can do that yourself.

I tried but got the following error: "An Error Has Occurred! You cannot delete your own topics in this board."

Maybe I have the ability but entered the wrong password. :p
ribuck
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November 02, 2011, 01:23:21 PM
 #16

Now print out the passphrase.
Leave a copy with your will, so that your coins go to your next-of-kin if you die.
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