Truecrypt: So screwed

Encrypted a bunch of stuff, mainly past tax data, some personnel wage spreadsheets, etc. on my laptop to take with me on a recent trip. Used Truecrpyt. After that trip, went on a vacation for a week. Came back to the office with my notebook, can’t remember the password to save my life, the things I thought I had used come back as invalid password. I have racked my brain trying to figure out what variation I used for a password, and absolutely nothing works. I am baffled.

Since I know there’s no way to decrypt an encrypted Trucrypt volume without the password, I guess I’m just posting to tell the world how stupid I am. Almost all of what I encrypted can be recreated in some way, just a major PIA. Ughhh.

Restore from pre-encryption backup?

My tax stuff I can do that - some of the other stuff did not get backed up do the nature of the info. Again, I can rebuild a lot of it (the raw data is obtainable.) But I have been staring at the screen. I am bad about only using variations of a couple of phrases (they aren’t even words, only phrases that mean something to me, like - and this isn’t one but similar - ddertyerx) plus a couple of number combinations.

So, let’s say the two phrases are ddertyerx and dksolkffm. I threw in another word completely unrelated, something like tongbruiser.

Somehow, no matter how I put these together, or put one inside the other, in ways that I think would have made sense when I entered the password, nothing works. What’s odd is that I had opened this enough that I had entered the PW several times previously, yet now I can’t come up with the PW. Argh

Have you tried the passwords with Caps Lock on? Simple, but I’ve seen it happen.

Oddly enough, that’s why I thought TrueCrypt at 1st launch had you create a recovery USB stick or recovery CD in order to continue encrypting.

So where did you put that?

Hmm. Just installed it a few weeks ago and it did not ask me to create a recovery stick/CD.

BTW, this is a situation where I created a trucrypt file which is mounted/dismounted, and put everything in that “container” file.

Ugh, maybe that’s why you didn’t get the prompt for the recovery media. In the past, I’ve only Truecrypted my entire system partition, never a subdrive or folder :\

Yeah. I was actually using a folder encryption/hide folder program before, and wanted something more secure for traveling. Boy is this secure!

But still cannot imagine what I did to make a password I can’t recall, that I used several times before, almost in “autopilot” mode.

This is why you should write it down and put it in a safe deposit box if it’s that important. Not that the advice helps!

Do you use anything like ClipX that would still have a copy of it hanging around on the clipboard or text file or something?

Nah, I’m hosed. But I’ll turn it into a new game on this laptop: “Hack Challenge! See if you can come up with the password!” I’m hoping for one of those “oh YEAH!” moments where I remember that I inserted my dogs name or something into the pw.

Are you sure it’s the password you’ve got wrong, and not the name of the volume?

Yeah, the name of the file/container is something I picked that is very unique.

I did the same thing once back in the Amiga days… I was keeping a journal during some rough times, and I password-protected it. Went back a year or two later to check out the journal and never could figure out the password.

But really, not a period I needed to relive anyway. Hope you get your stuff, Jeff.

Hypnosis? Works on TV!

If you know the password length and the character ranges you used (i.e. lowercase/uppercase, symbols, numbers, etc.), you might be able to get something to try and decrypt it by brute force. Not sure if something like this exists for Truecrypt, but it might be worth looking.

Also, keep the container file around for a while, in case you do wind up remembering the password later. Stranger things have happened.

Try shifting your hands on the keyboard and trying your password combinations. So instead of right hand on ‘jkl;,’ try hjkl, etc.

No upper case letters in your password? Truecrypt did not complain about your password composition at the time, which made you change something on the fly (add a comma, upper case a letter)?

Nah, I have tried every combo I can come up with, and nothing works. I’ll keep the container a little bit longer, it’s now become more a challenge than a necessity (I’m rebuilding things.)

The fact that I used the PW at least 7 times previously makes me pretty sure I wasn’t mistyping it (i.e. accidentally hitting L instead of K, etc.) And yeah, brute force won’t likely work - it’s 25 characters, mix of upper and lower case, and a couple of numbers thrown in. Kinda the reason I switched to TrueCrypt for this usage vs. Folder Protect.

Speaking of which - if there are any TrueCrypt users here - what is the best way to encrypt via Trucrypt a single folder in my Dropbox Folders? If I just drag it to my mounted drive, say, F:, it is no longer in my Dropbox folder structure and thus no longer gets synched.