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Help! am being 'held hostage' by imlSoft/Gilisoft Folder Guard 3.4 !!

Posted on 2011-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the harsh wording... but I'm in huge trouble.
Some  two weeks ago I downloaded a trial version of Folder Guard 3.4 from Download.com, as I needed to keep some data private. I've set up a password and specified an e-mail account to retrieve lost pwd as requested by the installation. I locked some folders in my machine that possessed private data or links to such one, including Users/<account_name>, Downloads, Pictures and also the desktop folder itself as it contained some shortcuts to programs I didn't want other people (mostly my gf...) to be able to open up. But after I booted and tried to enter the password, it says 'wrong password'. I tried to get the pwd sent back to me by the e-mail address that I have defined, but it says 'no e-mail to retrieve pwd was set up'. This obviously can't be the case - as I always use Ardamax kelogger on my own machine as a backup mechanism - keystroke and screenshot-wise in such cases where I have to retrieve lost typed and visual data and information. I clearly shows the password that I had set up for Folder Guard and that I also defined an e-mail address to be able to retrieve a lost password. I must note that imlSoft support which in turn directed me to Gilisoft support are both totally useless, they sent me by e-mail attachment a little tool that should reset the program pwd to "1" but it totally failed to do so. Whenever I re-complain they keep re-iterating same answer in a pretty much three worded reply note. In that case, I direly need your help!!

My questions to you are as follows, as right now I lost access to pretty much half of my disk system, and many other system features:

1. What's the reason Folder Guard can't fetch or 'recognize' my absolutely accurate password? could it be because I have locked key folders in my system - such as desktop, Users/<account_name> and such, something like 'sawing your own branch' kind of thing?

2. How can I unlock the locked folders back again? Tried to uninstall the software, but it won't let you do that in control panel without entering the password to begin with... also tried to boot in safe mode and fetch my information or uninstall the program, but program module is still active and all folders are still locked! weird because in other folder and file hider applications booting in safe mode is a solution!

Thank you so much for any pointers or solution to this problem! I can't really use my system any longer, plus I have lost access to extremely valuable data! 'thanks' to this software and it's redundant 'support' team.

Danniel
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Question by:guy_definition
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by:torimar
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First off: yes, it was kind of an .. unfortunate idea to lock system folders. Data that you want to protect should be moved somewhere out of the way, then locked. Best do that with TrueCrypt: www.truecrypt org

Second: although I don't know the program (used a tool of that same name some 10 years ago though), I quite certain that your data will still be freely accessible outside of Windows - if it was only locked and not encrypted, of course. These programs usually work with Windows system services, so they require Windows to be running in ordr to lock away your data - one of the reasons why they are no good.

Here's what I suggest you do:
- Get the Parted Magic bootable CD (www.partedmagic.com ), burn the image and boot off it
- On the desktop click the 'Mount' tool to mount your hard drive; a filemanager will open
- Check if you can freely access your valuable data; if so, back them up to an external drive to be save

Then I suggest you try to replace your current Windows registry by an earlier backup. That is the only way that comes close to an uninstallation of the Folderguard software.

Browse to \windows\system32\config and move the following files to a backup location: SYSTEM, SOFTWARE and SECURITY (these files have no extension - they represent your present registry), then go to \windows\system32\config\regback and copy the SYSTEM, SOFTWARE and SECURITY files over to \windows\system32\config.

If there are several files by that name, one without extension, several with varying ones, but all approximately the same size, look at the file date: choose the oldest ones, or at least ones that were created prior to your Folderguard installation.

Check if Windows will boot fine now.

If it does, in order to completely uninstall Folderguard, you will have to first re-install it, then uninstall instead of configuring it.
Before you do that, take a quick registry backup with EruNT: http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/
This will make it a lot easier to restore the registry if things go wrong.
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by:guy_definition
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Hi torimar,
Thank you so much for your such detailed and helpful answer!
I'm sorry for my slightly belated response as I was away for the weekend.
Your superb and meticulous explanations solved my problem completely. I was able to salvage my entire valuable data with the Parted Magic disc. Also I was acknowledged to some other great free tools that you kindly referred to in your links !

As to restoring to a previous registry, I must say that I haven't quite tried it out yet as I just came home from the weekend. I'll try this over the next day or two, so it'd be great if you could still stick around in case trouble arise...

On a slightly different note, what's the best file undelete and restore program that you recommend - both *free* and paid ones? The software that you referred me to looks fantastic and I'd love to have a complementary 'same par' file restore one, preferably free - any pointers?

Again, thank you so much for your superb answer!
Danniel
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torimar earned 500 total points
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I'm not quite sure what you mean by "software" I referred you to. If you mean "Parted Magic", that is not software, but a full-grown Linux operating system with a large selection of the best Linux tools for partitioning, backup, recovery and maintenance.

Therefore, you will find some advanced recovery utilities on that disk already, but unfortunately for the Windows user, most of them are command line only. You will find ntsundelete and scalpel quite useful; just type their names in a terminal.
Here are instructions:
http://linuxpoison.blogspot.com/2010/10/recover-deleted-files-from-ntfs.html
(Just skip the Ubuntu and installation related info)
http://www.howtoforge.com/recover-deleted-files-with-scalpel

A most advanced and highly powerful tool for repairing/restoring whole filesystems, partitions and drives is TestDisk: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
Its little brother is PhotoRec, specialized on recovering files of specific much used filetypes: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec
You will find both tools in the Start menu of PM, under System Utilities; but please read the documentation on their websites.

If you prefer Windows tools for recovery, here is a selection of the proven best:
http:/www.piriform.com/recuva
http://www.pcinspector.de/default.htm?Language=1
http://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm
http://www.data-recovery-software.net/
http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizard/free-data-recovery-software.htm
http://www.file-recovery.net/

The first two are free, the others have demo versions for testing what they would be able to recover.
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by:torimar
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Sorry, must read:

'ntfsundelete', not 'ntsundelete'.
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by:guy_definition
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Thank you again for your help!
I just love the detailed and pedant fashion and perfection of your answers.
I downloaded all the tools that you referenced me to and am in the process of messing up with them and checking on them, a quite robust lineup of tools I must say...

Sadly enough, I'm on an extremely busy weekly schedule (supervising an installment of a huge surveillance camera site) and had little to no time at all to reply in a timely fashion, and specifically to try out the system registry restore procedure that you suggested. Of course I'll get down to that when I have the free time.

I'll accept the solution and close the thread for now, as you answered all my queries completely. As aforementioned, if I happen to run into trouble with the registry thing, I'd appreciate your advice.

Danniel
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by:LeeTutor
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This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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