Sunday, December 14, 2008

Windows Password Strangeness

I just changed my Windows password and discovered something really, really odd.

I can lock the screen and then unlock it using the new password without problem.

I can also reboot the computer and log on successfully.

But... if I put the computer into standby and then wake it up again, I can't log in.

I began to question my sanity...  did I change the password to what I thought I had?  Perhaps I didn't change it at all?!

Having to do a hard reboot to get back into my computer whenever it goes into Standby is not a particularly useful characteristic of a portable computer.

What was going on?!

And then a possibility dawned on me...   I had included a punctuation mark in my new password (the double-speech-mark symbol, "). 

Hmmm.... what if something really weird was going on with keyboard mapping?

In the UK, the " symbol is accessed by pressing Shift-2 on the keyboard.  But on US keyboards, you have to press Shift and one of the buttons near the Enter key (the key marked @ on UK keyboards).

So I gave it a try... and guess what...?  It worked!

So, I have to use Shift-2 when logging on from cold and after locking the screen but need to use Shift-@ if I've returned from standby.

How mind-bogglingly odd.

(And yes... I have changed my password to something new now)


IanVisits said...

That's not a bug, it's a feature.

You have enabled the "dynamic password option" which changes which keys you have to press depending on what sort of password entry box you are compelled to use by the Windows OS.

dbt said...

Somehow the keyboard layout is getting confused and running home to momma (US kbd). Sounds like a fairly simple bug to fix if you can get it into the hands of the right MSFT tester.

David Currie said...

Note to hacker: Richard's password does not contain a double quote (or probably any other character that is in a different place on a UK keyboard). That should narrow down the number of combinations!

Richard Brown said...

@Ian... Ah yes... those magical Windows settings. I might update that one whilst also selecting "make it go fast" and "don't crash any more please".

@dbt... I guess I need to get somebody to reproduce it. Any volunteers?

@David... a very careful reading of my post will reveal a mismatch of tenses. This occurs to such an extent that the article is self-contradictory. Perhaps my final statement is untrue! (Or perhaps it isn't!)