How to Change Passwords On Another User

The scenario is you have two different login names on the same computer. You have forgotten the password to one of them, but you can log into the other one. How do you proceed?

Unfortunately, we are not able to give general instructions about this over the phone or on our website for a couple of different reasons. The first reason is it depends on the operating system you have because each version of Windows has a different location or method to do it. Over the phone, many users are not familiar enough with their system to accurately tell us which version (or subversion) of Window they have and we cannot offer an hour of free support over the phone to walk them through it expeditiously.

The second reason is in some cases, there simply is no such user-friendly function. Microsoft did not build into the Setup section of Windows 10 a direct way to change the password of another user, for example. While there are indirect ways of accomplishing it, they become too technical for most users to follow over a telephone conversation.

Lastly, you might ask why we do not simply remotely log into your computer like other shops do. B. A. Computer Services is founded on the principles of privacy and strict confidentiality of personal information. Many many scams are initiated through the use of remote desktop technology and we simply do not want to be associated in the least bit way with such possibility. As soon as another person is permitted to take remote control of your computer, you have absolutely no idea what they are doing behind the scenes. Further, because it looks like what they are doing is coming from your computer, you could be liable for anything they do illegally such as accessing pornography, your Facebook account, your bank account, or sending emails. Everything they do will look like it came from your computer, and the IP address associated with your Internet connection is traceable by law enforcement

Therefore, the answer is, hands on is required to make this password reset happen. You may bring your computer to our shop or ask us to come pick it up for you. If it is a tower or desktop unit we only need the box itself. You will need to unhook the monitor cable, mouse, keyboard, power, and any network cable from the back of the computer. Each of these have their own sized connection types so they generally are very easy to reconnect. If you are uncertain, take a photo of the back of the computer before unplugging anything. Of course, if it is a laptop, simply bring it in as is.

When your computer arrives, we will be able to quickly assess the type of system we are working with, and inform you what will be required to reset the password. There will be no charge at that point and you can walk out with the computer if you are able to proceed without our assistance. However, as stated above, it can get very technical and what might take us a few minutes, may take you a full day to learn. The simplest scenario requires our minimum fee and can be done in about a half hour while you wait . The other scenarios literally can take days to complete when they involve third party accounts such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or Apple. In many cases, more than one password and more than one type of password must be reset. Further, many people are not aware that if they reset a password on one device, they must re-enter it on their other devices such as phones or tablets that also use the same account.

B. A. Computer Services will make every effort to keep your service price low while maintaining strict confidentiality and security standards! We feel we cannot meet that goal over the phone. With every service we offer, 10 days of free follow-up support is given. Without a prior service agreement, phone support is billed at our normal hourly rate, whether over the phone, or in person, and prepayment is usually required via this website’s Payments section.

AUTOMATED UNSUBSCRIBE TIP

Do you get subscribed to stuff accidentally or unknowingly and don’t want to keep unsubscribing to everything? Here is a tip on how to automatically send notice to everyone to keep you off their lists.

The trick is simple: Use your email vacation responder feature to send out an “unsubscribe” message to everyone who sends you email. Include in the message a friendly apology to personal correspondents and they will certainly understand your goal.

B. A. Computer Services Can Help!

We have provided very helpful tips below, but if you still find yourself overwhelmed by spam messages, consider BA_CS’s Email and Spam Reduction services. We will set up filters and folders manage your emails. For online accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Icloud and many more, we can do this remotely, but if you are new to BA_CS, come see us! For details of this service, please contact us. For security reasons, we always advise you to change your password to something simple BEFORE asking for service (so no one learns your secret password pattern); and AFTER service (to re-secure the account after our services are complete).

GMAIL USERS

While in Google account settings, be sure to update your phone number and security email addresses. It is a good policy to have at least one alternate email address and at most two. (If you cannot remember the password of your primary email, how will you remember the password to three or more other email accounts!!! Stick to one and only one alternate email account, or use the account of a trusted friend.)

  1. From a computer in a web browser — you cannot do this on a phone or tablet app — go to gmail.com and login to your email account. If you do not remember your password, do not keep trying to guess it because you will be locked out. After two or at most three tries, click Forgot Password and reset it.
  2. If you get locked out, contact B. A. Computer Services and we may be able to assist you for a fee.
  3. Click the Settings icon in the upper right, then click See All Settings.
  4. Scroll all the way down to Vacation Responder.
  5. Turn Vacation Responder ON
  6. Select Plain Text
  7. Enter: unsubscribe {youremailaddress}
  8. Optionally, add a blank line or two, and enter a message for human people like, “If you are a personal correspondent, please disregard this message. I have received your email and will respond as soon as practical. Thank you.”
  9. Do not click, Only send message to people in my contacts list, which is exactly the opposite of what you want.
  10. BE CERTAIN to click the SAVE CHANGES button. If you forget to do that, nothing you changed will take affect.

The UNSUBSCRIBE instruction will automatically unsubscribe you from some, not all, list-services. Some services may not understand the instruction. To unsubscribe from them, you must follow the instructions they are required to give by law at the end of the email message. If they do not have instructions or a link to unsubscribe there, here is another trick to eliminate them automatically.

Create Rule to Send Spam to Trash Automatically

  1. Under Gmail settings, See All Settings, select Filters and Blocked Addresses tab
  2. Click Create a New Filter
  3. You will want to be careful here because if you are too general with keywords, messages from personal correspondents may get filtered out too.
    • There is a better way to automatically create filters.

A Better Way

  1. Go to your Inbox. Click on a message you consider to be spam.
  2. In the message click the three dots to get additional options.
  3. From there you can select Block, Report Spam, or Report Phishing. You may also select, Filter Messages Like These to gain detailed control over what happens to similar incoming messages.

One strategy might be to send semi-important emails from your bank to a folder named “Bank-Alerts” or similar folder. This provides an opportunity to review them, but keeps them out of the mainstream Inbox folder.

Other Email Providers

Apple also has a vacation responder. Login to your icloud.com account, on any computer. This cannot be done through a phone or tablet. It can be done at a library on Windows or through most any web browser, Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or others.

In the vacation responder, enter the words “unsubscribe” {youremailaddress} like below:

unsubscribe youremailaddres@icloud.com

There are likely similar services in most other email providers such as Yahoo.com and Outlook.com. Look for a vacation responder and set it up!

Our New Business Website Package Explained

This article is directed to entrepreneurs or any person interested in a new business or organization website and who is not familiar with the technology needed to set up such an official website. The terminology alone can be difficult. The following analogy may help.

Various expenses to build a new home:

  • To secure the property in your name, a title must be secured, which involves surveys, and such.
  • Even though the cost of the land and the cost of the house are usually combined together, they are two different things. Land may be purchased without a house, and the house built later. In some cases, a manufactured house may be purchased first and later moved onto a piece of land.
  • In addition to the title, land, and house, additional related expenses include insurance, utilities, and…
  • Ongoing maintenance costs: The lawn doesn’t mow itself, the gutters do not clean themselves, the paint will wear after a few years, the air conditioner only has a limited warranty before it breaks; utility bills must be paid monthly.

Various expenses to build a new website:

The cost of building a website compared to building a house is in comparison pennies on the dollar. Websites are usually less expensive when the “real estate” they run on is leased rather than purchased outright. Whether purchased or leased, each website owned must also be separately maintained at additional cost.

  • To secure the domain name you want, you must first locate one that is not already taken. A domain “realtor”, called a domain registrar, must be contacted to find out what “properties” are available.
    • A domain name is like the title to a house address. If the house is already occupied you will have to pay the “residents” a lot of money to convince them to give it up. One would have virtually no chance of buying, for example, apple.com, even though you are the owner of a multimillion dollar apple orchard, because the computer manufacturer, Apple, Inc. is very unlikely to sell it to you. But you might be able to obtain appleorchards.com or apple.life or hundreds of other variants.
    • After finding a domain that is available, it may be leased for a number of years. Unlike real property, domains are never sold, per se, they are always leased by the month or by the year, usually up to no more than 10 years at a time. Typical per year leases run from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars per year. The more expensive ones are the more popular domains!
    • Leasing a domain is not actually leasing the property — it is more the purchase of a trademark agreement. For example, you want your shoe business to be associated with the domain showshoesforbroadway.com. Once leased, that name is locked to your use alone.
    • Domain name leasing is flexible — you can pay for multiple domain name leases and have them all point to the same location. In this respect these domain names are very much like billboards to your actual business location, which we get into next. You may wish to secure the plural and any variant spellings of the name you choose. That way your neighbor around the world cannot spoof your business site with a similar name.
  • The real estate in a website is called hosting. Similar to real property, there are two parts to hosting: the land on which it sits, called the hosting server, and the structures on the land, called content. Each has its separate cost. For simplicity, suppose the land is bought first, and briefly later a house built on it. This is most commonly analogous to website development. In today’s world hosting servers rarely are purchased as it is far more economical to lease part of a server’s disk space from a company that specializes in setting up the hosting servers on a super-high-speed Internet connection (enough to support 100,000s of users).
    • Typically, for a small website, one might need only 10-20 Gigabytes of space, running about $100-$500 per year to lease. The cost difference varies according to how many tools the hosting service provides, and how many website viewers you expect to have. If you expect hundreds of thousands of people to be on your website simultaneously, you will pay more.
    • What about free website services? Yes, there are a number of them, just as there are free samples at the grocery store or a public sidewalk. The free services have various restrictions and limitation that make them impractical for organization or business purposes. They are best left to very small personal website creations. One should also remember, once content is uploaded to any service, you may lose legal ownership or control over it.
  • Finally, once you have the land, er, the hosting server space leased, the actual website “house” may be built on it and “landscaped” by adding words and pictures to your space. If you have leased your hosting space with a respected hosting service, all the tools you will need are typically provided: editors, fonts, possibly stock photos and definitely the ability for you to upload your own.
  • Building the website, called web-mastering, is the most time consuming and expensive portion of website development. It requires talent, vision, creativity, ability to write, and technical skills. Consider the effort that goes into building a house–floor plan, permits, plumbing, electrical, framing–very similar effort must be put into website development. Substantial effort similarly is required in initial website design considerations: Coloring, menuing, titling, photography, animation, and other facets.
    • To keep costs low, stock blueprints are available for housing, and likewise for website development. These “blueprints” are called themes which allow a webmaster to choose from a selection of preset color and menu schemes.
    • If you are paying a professional webmaster to build the site, you will be given opportunity to provide your theme input at the initial stage of development.
    • In addition, you will be asked by the webmaster to provide photos and wording clips to get the site started. These pics and clips do not need to be perfected yet because they will only be initial placeholders. The final finishing touches will be done later: First the framework, then the drywall, then painting, and finally trimming!

B. A. Computer Services provides an initial website setup service that incorporates these elements together into a one-time charge. The charge covers only the service to secure the domain, secure the hosting service, and build out the initial framework of the website with sample wording and imagery related to your business or organization. The cost of the first year lease of the domain name, hosting space, and initial build-out will be itemized on the invoice and must be prepaid. The site itself will be built over a period of a few weeks. No charge is made for initial corrections or updates during that initial site build-out period. Afterwards, a separate maintenance contract will be required if you wish a B. A. Computer Services webmaster to continue maintaining the site for you. You may also maintain the site yourself.

Alternatively, you may pay a small service fee for each instance that a set of changes is to be made to the site (photo swap, sentence revision, new text). At the end of the yearly lease period, the domain name and hosting will come up for renewal at the going rates of the respective services. All website leases are prepaid–if you fail to renew you will permanently lose your website name and space in about 30 days of non-payment–you will however not be billed again or have any past-due debts for non-renewal. Hosting and domain name registration fees are non-refundable, however, the domain registration will continue to be “owned” by you for the duration of the lease term for which you paid. You may resell it to another party just like reselling any other property is possible. B. A. Computer Services will facilitate discharging the domain to you (in the form of username and password, and your registration name, email, and contact information) at the minimal cost of doing so.

100x Faster Computers?

Technology is moving very very quickly. While certain computer components do not change much, the over-all architectures of PCs have taken a huge leap in the last few years. Historically, it was the rave that a particular PC went from a Pentium 100 to a Pentium 200, and so on. Those days are now long gone. Today the question is how many cores does the computer have. That means, each motherboard is now hosting multiple CPUs that run in parallel with each other. Thus it isn’t a matter of my Pentium runs twice as fast as your Pentium, its a matter of, my computer has 4 to 64 times the processing power as your single processor computer! Does that mean they can be 100x faster — eh, I haven’t done the benchmarking myself, but essentially yes, if you compare a 2000 computer with a 2020 computer of similar quality.

Other factors come into play as well — in 2000 almost all laptops were equipped with traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). Those are the drives that have a physically spinning magnetic plate. The read/write speed on these disks is relatively fast, but still limited by physics. Today, nearly all new laptops are equipped with solid state drives (SSDs), with no moving parts. They look and work much like a Thumb drive works, but their interface is especially equipped to handle much faster transfer rates. What is the speed difference between an HDD and an SSD? About 80-160Mb/s versus 200 – 600 Mb/s; that is, SSDs are 200-600% faster than HDDs. (Be sure to read Mb/s as megabits per second, versus the 8 times larger quatity, MB/s, megabytes per second. Transfer speeds are almost always in bits per second, while file sizes are typically listed in Byte sizes.)

Finally, one must compare other components, such as the Graphics card that must process all the images, then the traditional RAM memory component, and something most people don’t think about — the bus subsystem. The bus system is what connects the processors to the screen, RAM, and drive. One very easily observed speed difference is in the USB 2.0 versus USB 3.0 specification. In virtually all retail stores it is possible to purchase a Thumb drive (aka Flash drive, but I figure they will always be about the size of one’s thumb or thumbnail, while the technological term, Flash, may change tomorrow). If you review the packaging, you will see it is likely either a 2.0 USB drive or a 3.0 USB drive as of November 2023. What is the speed difference between 2.0 and 3.0? 10x the speed. In order to get the 10 fold transfer increase, your computer must also have a USB 3.0 interface. The drives usually tout backwards compatibility, but that simply means they can still read and write at the slower rates, in case your computer only has 2.0 slots. For lightweight uses, this might not be a big deal, but if you consider trying to save a 4GB movie (that is roughly the content of a single DVD), to a 2.0 external drive at a maximum of 10 Mbps, you are talking about 1 hour. Under 3.0, that would be 6 minutes. (Please understand, I am not referring to reading a DVD to a USB drive, which would be much slower due the DVD drive read rate. I am referring to transferring the amount of data a DVD could hold directly from your computer to a USB Thumb drive.)

Incidentally, DVD devices are on their way out…..they are very slow, and DVDs scratch relatively easily, subjecting you to a huge potential data loss. New software now typically must be downloaded or comes on Thumb drives, which are still a bit vulnerable, especially if they are dipped in peanut butter and left around a Labrador, for which you can thank your two year old. ;-)

To 11 or Not To 11?

Microsoft 11 Gotchas

To make it short and sweet, the main reasons to use Windows 11 are:

  • It came with your new computer.
  • You enjoy dealing with bugs.
  • You are certain you will never use an older application again
  • You do not want to buy your own antivirus software

Reasons NOT to upgrade to Windows 11 are:

  • Windows 10 is a well tested platform
  • Windows 10 still contains support for older 32 bit apps
  • Windows 10 will upgrade from Windows 7 unofficially
  • Windows 10 will upgrade from Windows 8 unofficially
  • Windows 10 will run on older hardware that 11 cannot
  • The Windows 10 Defender antivirus is free and decent
  • Windows 11 will not run on hardware as recent as 2018

Nevertheless, Windows 11 will soon replace Windows 10 because:

  • Microsoft may eventually stop security updates to Windows 10 users
  • New computers will automatically come with Windows 11
  • Microsoft may force eligible Windows 10 users to upgrade to 11
  • Microsoft may strongly encourage older machines be replaced
  • It may be in your best interest to buy a new computer, see break-throughs in technology

Website Not Secure????

When I attempt to visit bacomputer.net and certain other websites I get this message that the site is not secure. Does that mean the website is dangerous?

NO. What it means is the website has chosen not to encrypt the data on it’s site. If you inspect the address line you will see either an http:// or an https:// prefix to the website address. The S in the latter means that the site is using technology to encrypt every page of it’s site before it is delivered to your web browser, which then decrypts and displays the page. The process of encryption-decryption uses more resources both on the server and on your computer slowing things down slightly.

The best reason to encrypt pages is IF AND ONLY IF there is data being entered. If no data is being entered, then no matter how many potential eavesdroppers there might be, all they will ever see is the website itself, which is already published for viewing — Let them eavesdrop to their heart’s content!

In fact, www.bacomputer.net site is not designed to receive information from any third party — it is strictly informational only. However, when you click on a link under the Payments menu, you are immediately redirected to a SECURE website (check the https:// ) into which it is indeed safe to enter financial information for processing payments.

Once you know a particular site is safe (albeit deliberately not encrypted for practical reasons), you may add it to your “safe” list in the web browser you are using, whether that be Firefox, Edge, Chrome, or some other web browser. The procedure to do this varies, but usually when you get the warning message, a link or button is presented that will go directly into the section of settings where you can manually add, bacomputer.net, to the Allowed or Exception section.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The makers of web browsers are engaged in a type of content censorship. They are dictating to you what they deem to be safe rather than allowing you to decide for yourself.

Techies Beware: Windows 7 Chkdsk not compatible with Windows 10

Applicability: You have been running Windows 7 and have newly migrated to Window 10 on one or more PCs; you still have variously formatted disk drives, some under Windows 7 and some under Windows 10.

DANGER LEVEL: HIGH — Possible Loss of Entire Windows Installation

Microsoft has quietly changed the underlying formatting of NTFS between Windows 7 and Windows 10 generations. While both OSes have the same CHKDSK command with the same options, running it under Windows 7 on a Windows 10 volume will product 1000s of errors and may cause your entire Windows 10 volume to become unreadable under Windows 10. One must particularly be careful to watch for trying to read a 64bit volume under a 32bit Windows 7 or Windows 10 machine. We booted into Windows 7 and ran CHKDSK on a Windows 10 drive, and the following errors scrolled for eons:

Deleting extended attribute set due to the presence of reparse point in file xxxx

We then followed up with attempting to read the disk on a 32bit version of Windows 10 and it told us the volume had to be formatted! Disk manager saw the disk, but could not read the partition at all.

Finally we took the volume over to a 64bit Windows 10 machine and it saw the volume again. Fortunately, I had an image of the original volume, restored it to the drive, and then used 64bit Windows 10 CHKDSK to repair the USB-connected drive volume. Only the real disk problems, an orphaned file or two, were reported and volume was repaired back to normal.

In researching this problem, the common advise found in various Microsoft and other technical forums was to turn Fast Boot off using the powercfg /hibernation off command. While this advise is good, it does not entirely fix the problem because Windows 10 Updates may turn Fast Boot back on. Further, this drive was extracted from a dead laptop and powercfg does not turn off hibernation for an external Windows installation.

Bottom Line: Windows 7 CHKDSK is definitely not 100% compatible with Windows 10 CHKDSK and should never be run to repair Windows 10 volumes.

What Printer Should I NOT Buy?

In a nutshell, B. A. Computer Services discourages the purchase of liquid ink-based printers for general printing purposes. Nonetheless, there are some good reasons to buy specialized ink-based printers, primarily related to photographic printing.

Ink-based printers are sometimes offered free with purchase of a computer for the simple fact the printer itself is not the money-making item, it is the very high cost of ink cartridges. Someone might argue that $15 is not all that high for a cartridge, but consider the number of pages that can be printed for that $15. The page yield is often not printed on the cartridge box at all, but experience with inkjet printers will quickly demonstrate that any given cartridge may last only a few hundred pages, or if you have to mess around with cleaning the head or making test prints, you may get only 50 pages printed, in several hours of time before the cartridge shows empty again!

Another key reason ink-jet printers (often also marketed as desk-jet printers) are poor choices is their failure rate over time, especially if not used frequently. The tiny tubing that is required to flow the ink from the cartridge to the printer head, and the printer head itself WILL DRY UP over time and clog the system. Attempts to free the clogs are usually futile, and replacing the tubing and printer head becomes an ordeal beyond most printer-owners’ ability. In contrast, a laser printer, if it sits, will happily fire back up months later because laser printing is basically a dry-printing process.

What about those scan-copy-print-all-in-ones? They seem like a great deal! First of all, how often do you really need to copy a stack of papers? Once a month? Is it possible that the cost of getting those copies done at the local copy shop or library greatly outweighs your personal need for an awkward and cheap machine to do it at home for you? Further, if you have a printer, it is likely you also have a computer, and probably a cell phone too these days. Have you tried taking a picture of your document with a cell-phone application, and emailing it to yourself, or directly to the recipients? That email can then be viewed on your computer, and the page printed. Even better, B. A. Computer Services can demonstrate how you may turn your phone into a page scan-copy-print device directly without the need of your computer at all.

Printer models change over time so it is impossible to recommend any particular model without details about your needs. However, on the average, laser printers have throughput about 10 times the throughput of inkjet printers. One very inexpensive laser printer recently sold at Walmart for $110, had a printing speed of up to 26 pages per minute! The standard toner was rated at 700 pages and cost about $45 to replace, while a high-yield (recommended) toner cost $80 for 3000 pages of print (less than 3 cents per page)!

One last consideration regarding ink-based printers — the printed ink will run when wet! Inkjet printers are simply a very poor choice for long-term storage of documents. Any accidental spill over an inkjet print will smear the ink all over the page. Even a wet thumb on the corner of the page can distort part of the printout. Laser prints are a dry printing process and are much more highly rated for legal document storage. No serious business should ever consider printing their invoices on ink-based printers.

A Typical Scam Email

THIS GUY, kamaltiwar3255@gmail.com, is NOT WITH PAYPAL despite the stolen paypal icon.
Tell-tale Scam Signature — RETURN-PATH to a gmail.com account

For further information on what to do, see also the article McAfee PHISHING SCAM ALERT. In this particular case, we blocked the sender, and forwarded the email to phishing@paypal.com. It is also important to note what we did not do: We DID NOT PANIC. We DID NOT CALL THE PHONE NUMBER in the email. We DID NOT FORWARD the email to our friends to ask them what they thought, so that they too could get scammed. We DID NOT ATTEMPT to contact Google, because Google Gmail already provides a method to simply mark as spam or block sender. We DID NOT THINK TWICE about our PayPal account because we do not have one under the email address they said we are using, nor an Apple ID by that identifier. We DO NOT SAVE CREDIT CARD information in our online accounts. We did use ALT-F4 Microsoft Windows kill process hot key to instantly kill the popups. We then proceeded to fully check the system for virus damage.

Which login email? Which password?

In today’s online world, nearly every company, every website, every electronic service, wants to assign you an account consisting of a login account name and a password. The concept seems simple enough, for the first account, but then you sign up for another service, and they assign yet another login account name, and associate yet another password. Before long, you have dozens of account names, and dozens of passwords. How can they be kept straight?

Software makers, such as Microsoft, Firefox, and Mozilla offer solutions such as password key keepers. The idea is if you forget one of your passwords, you can go to your password keeper, enter one master password, and see all your accounts and passwords. The very bad side to this system is, if someone gets your master password, they now have access to ALL your accounts at once. All or nothing is a bad system. The custom-made solution of putting all your information into a password-protected spreadsheet or document is essentially the same bad solution. One password grants access to your entire life’s electronic accounts. Another bad “solution” many people arrive at is to use the same password on all their online accounts. Of course this is worse than the master password file — the file isn’t even needed to get in!

Some of the major online account providers, such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, now provide multi-platform authentication. Multi-platform authentication means, for instance, the ability to go to a site such as Yelp.com and instead of creating a new account name and password, it offers that my Google information may be used to login. As long as I remember my Google account information, I can access not only Google, but Yelp as well. This reduces the number accounts I must track, but it also creates a greater dependency on Google. If I lose my Google account information, I also lose my access to Yelp. This can also get very confusing if competing providers allow each-other’s login information to authenticate into their system. For example, logging into Google with a Microsoft account email address and password.

B. A. Computer Services uses many systems itself and would like to share with you what we believe is a best practice regarding maintaining multiple account passwords. Our policy addresses the fact human mental capacity is not flawless, and yet there is a real security need. We cannot disclose exactly the methods we use due to our own security needs, but we can offer similar tactics without giving away our security measures.

To begin with, if you already have quite a few accounts, you should privately list them with pen and ink to get them straightened out. If you have lost access to some accounts or need password resets, the online provider’s “Forgot Password” option may be needed to regain access. B. A. Computer Services can assist you with the process confidentially in our office. We will help you begin a table that will look something like this, and for this example, let’s assume your name is John Doe:

WebsiteLoginPasswordRecovery
Google.commyemailaddress @anywhere.comGo#JDoe#2022anotheremailaddress @someplaceelse.com
Live.comLi#JDoe#2022
Yelp.com Select “use Google to login” see Google see Google
Bank.com myemailaddress @anywhere.comBa#JDoe#2022 my bank account number, DOB, and SSN
Example Password System

In the above example, even if 1000 random people used this example instance, each and every account password would be different for every online account for each person. The random hacker might gain access to one of the weaker sites, but they would have to start all over again to hack the next site. The strength of this system is: 1) All your passwords can easily be remembered and yet are not exactly the same for each online site; 2) the passwords are using uppercase and lowercase, a symbol, and a number which will generally pass every online site’s minimum password strength criteria. Unfortunately, this suggested system also has some serious weaknesses: 1) it is based on your name, very easily guessable; 2) it uses a rather weak number, the current year, also guessable; and 3) because it is systematic, if you ever give someone one of your passwords, they could guess your system and produce all the other online passwords.

These password-system weaknesses can be addressed as follows:

  • Make every password at least two (2) segments separated by at least one symbol character. (XXX#xxxx#xxxx#xxxxx or YYYYYY-YY-YYYYYYY or zzzzzzzzzz%^zzzzz%^zz) The length of the segments, the number of segments, and the special characters used to separate segments is entirely arbitrary, except total password length must be greater than 8 characters.
  • NEVER give one of your systematic passwords out to anyone else. (Or even if you do give them one, never hint that you have a system about it.) If you must allow someone access to your account (e.g. computer support people, or family member), CHANGE THE PASSWORD to something else simple like abc-123-456 and give that to them until they no longer need access. Change it back when they are done.
  • Do not use personal information in any part of the segment. Especially avoid dates of birth, ages, social security numbers, license numbers, personal names, children’s names, names of pets, street addresses, or anything else that could be guessed by a friend or neighbor who may observe your activities over time day by day. Do use unique phrases that have unique meaning to you alone. Do use unique non-sequential numbers that you can easily remember but not a publicly accessible number like license plate number. For example, you might remember you bought your first car on Feb 28, 1996, so using 960228 would be a perfectly legitimate choice. Unless your neighbor was there with you at the time, it unlikely they will guess this number, in this particular format.
  • Finally, in order to make each password unique and yet memorable, one of the segments must be tied to the website. Thus in the table above we used the overly simplified Go for Google.com, Li for Live.com, and Ba for Bank.com. This system can get tricky if the name of a website changes. For example, Angie’s List recently rebranded from angie.com to angi.com. Nonetheless, major websites generally do not change over time. If one does, be sure to go back and update your related passwords for that site. You can use any combination of the website name, respell it, or slice it into parts and create two or more segments. For example, you might take the very common Google.com and place it in a password that would fit one of these schemes: xxxx-elgooG-xxxxx-xxxxx or gle-xxxxx-Go-xxxxx. Your Microsoft.com account password under the same scheme would be similarly: xxx-tfosorciM-xxxxx-xxxxx or oft-xxxxx-Mi-xxxxx.

Let’s put it all together and make a new password table based on the examples used here. Again, these are arbitrary examples. Please be innovative and use your creativity for how you come up with your numbers, your special characters, and your site combination segments. The arrangement of the segments chosen below were entirely randomized.

Segment 1: A memorable number: 960228

Segment 2: The consonants in all caps in the name of the site, except lowercase the .com consonants

Segment 3: Special character separator: () (as many characters as you want can be used)

Does it pass the test of site password checkers? Yes – all passwords have upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. All passwords are longer than 8 characters.

Can I remember it? Yes – all passwords begin with the same prefix and end in a combination of letters I can derive from the website domain. Exceptions are derivative sites, YouTube and Outlook which use the same password as their parent company site. Yelp optionally can use Google login, or you may prefer to create it’s own unique login to stick with your scheme.

WebsiteLoginPasswordRecovery
Google.commyemailaddress @anywhere.com960228()GGLcmanotheremailaddress @someplaceelse.com
Live.com960228()LVcm
Yelp.com Select “use Google to login” see Google see Google
Bank.com myemailaddress @anywhere.com960228()BNKcm my bank account number, DOB, and SSN
Youtube.com Use Google login Google owns Youtube
Outlook.com Use live.com login Both are owned by Microsoft.com
Roku.tvmyemailaddress @anywhere.com960228()RKtv My phone number; not .com: .tv !
Sci.fimyemailaddress @anywhere.com960228()SCfanotheremailaddress @someplaceelse.com
Example Password System