External Disk password protected

Alejandro Giles Padilla
Alejandro Giles Padilla used Ask the Experts™
Have a Western Digital 2TB external Hard Disk that didn't use for a long time (6 months or so).
I wanted to look for some family photos and when connecting the disk, it starts normally, but the autorun does not start.

I tried using another computer but the problem is that the disk has a password and I can not remember it

I have a great collection of music and photos, so any kind of help will be much appreciated
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Principal Software Engineer
Depends on what kind of encryption was used on the drive.  But unfortunately, the chances are ... if you can't remember the password, the data is gone.  If it was encrypted using Bitlocker, Microsoft readily admits there's no backdoor and without the password the data must be considered lost.

Most encryption packages now use at least 128-bit encryption and some use 256-bit encryption.

  • 128-bit encryption is theoretically but not practically breakable (requires a few years and hundreds of computers working on it).
  • 256-bit encryption ... well, there's not enough time left in the universe.

If you can't remember the password but the data has enduring value, put the drive away and hope that quantum computers become real.  Sometime in the next 20 to 25 years it may be possible to break long encryption using quantum computers.

It is a hard lesson to learn, but in the future if you have valuable data on an encrypted drive, always keep an unencrypted backup somewhere safe.
Or store that password in your Bank's safe deposit box.  Backing up passwords is important too.
Thank you both....
I just remembered that I used that same password to get into Microsoft, so now my question is, is there any way to recover "old" Microsoft passwords?
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer
is there any way to recover "old" Microsoft passwords?

Probably - people lose passwords all the time for logging into sites.  If you post that question separately, experts will be more likely to see it and the chances of getting an answer, I would think, are reasonably good.
Thank you, we all learn the hard way....

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