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Iron Portable 10.0.650.1 - portable passwords not working

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ratcatcher
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Iron Portable 10.0.650.1 - portable passwords not working

I downloaded and installed this. I then copied IronPortable.ini to the installation directory and edited the copy so that I had:

PortablePasswords=true
EncryptPortablePasswords=true

I can save the passwords OK on one machine, and view them without problem. When I move the stick to another machine and fire-up Iron, the passwords list shows the URLs but the passwords themselves are blank.

I'm switching between an Windows XP and a Windows 7 machine in case that's relevant.

I also use Google Chrome (currently 10.0.648.204 but I've been using it for some time through several versions) on the same stick, on the same machines. Portable passwords works fine on that so there doesn't appear to be any underlying issue to do with the stick or machines.

Regards

Nick

computerfreaker
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I'll have a look at it

Thanks for the report.

I also use Google Chrome (currently 10.0.648.204 but I've been using it for some time through several versions) on the same stick, on the same machines. Portable passwords works fine on that so there doesn't appear to be any underlying issue to do with the stick or machines.

Iron Portable and Google Chrome Portable use the same NSIS plugin for saving passwords portably, so we can also eliminate that plugin as an error source.

The only two possibilities I can think of at the moment are #1 the way Iron saves its passwords is different from the way Chrome saves its passwords (since the plugin expects passwords saved in a certain format, that would cause a failure), or #2 the way Iron calls the PortablePasswords plugin (definitely different from the way Chrome calls the plugin) isn't working.

Since the URL list is showing up, I'm more inclined to think Iron is saving its passwords in a format the plugin doesn't understand, but I'm not certain of that. I'll test both possibilities as soon as possible.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

John T. Haller
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Your Build

This is the first Iron Portable with your PAL 2.1 build of passwords linked in. 10.0.650.0 and earlier used PAL 2.0 with the passwords in it. I'd wager this is the issue.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

computerfreaker
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Worth a shot

It's worth a look. TBH, I had almost forgotten about switching from PAL 2.0 to PAL 2.1 for this build... but I bet you're right. The code that called the PortablePasswords plugin is what broke in PAL 2.1, and it's possible the patched CallANSIPlugin.nsh changed the plugin-calling method just enough to break it. I'd still like to get confirmation before we go back to PAL 2.0, though.

@ratcatcher: could you download the Iron Portable 10.0.650.0 release and see if that works? You may want to install it in a different folder than your 10.0.650.1 installation, to make sure nothing in your 10.0.650.1 installation gets messed up.

@John: if the switch from PAL 2.0 to PAL 2.1 ends up being the issue, let's just go back to PAL 2.0. The language-switching thing isn't worth breaking portable passwords, IMHO.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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Will do

> @ratcatcher: could you download the Iron Portable 10.0.650.0
> release and see if that works?

I'll install it now and save a few passwords but it will be tomorrow before I can try it out on the other machine.

ratcatcher
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No luck with .0

Have now tried 10.0.650.0 on the other machine and the behaviour is the same as for 10.0.650.1 - I see the URLs and usernames in the list but all of the passwords are blank.

Regards

Nick

computerfreaker
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So it's not PAL 2.1.

I'll take a look at my original guesses (Iron Portable isn't communicating properly with the PortablePasswords plugin or Iron doesn't save passwords in the same format Chrome does) and see if I can verify one of them.

EDIT: yep, I was able to determine that Iron Portable and the PortablePasswords plugin aren't communicating properly (in fact, they're not communicating at all), and I got part of the comm code fixed. That's it for me for now - I'm fighting a nasty little flu bug atm, and I need to get some rest - but I will finish fixing the comm code and upload a fixed build ASAP.

EDIT 2: it turns out fixing the Iron/PortablePasswords communication code was a lot simpler than I had thought. I've uploaded a test build of Iron Portable that should have portable passwords working properly. As before, I'd suggest installing this into a different folder so your main Iron Portable installation doesn't risk having any issues.

Thanks for calling this to my attention!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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Test build

OK, I've installed the test build and run it on my Windows 7 machine. I'll try it out on the XP machine tomorrow and report back.

ratcatcher
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No luck with test build

Fired it up on the XP machine and it was the same as before: URLs and usernames there, but passwords missing.

computerfreaker
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Really?

I could have sworn that revision fixed the problem.

Does the file IronPortable\App\Data\IronPortableData\Default\Portable Passwords exist?

Also, could you please upload the contents of your IronPortable.ini to PasteBin or a similar site, and post the link here? You could also e-mail it to me (take my forum name, add "eatsspam", and find me on gmail.com) if you're not comfortable posting it here. I'm trying to duplicate your setup as much as possible.

In the meantime, I'll spend some more time poking around in Iron's passwords database and see if I can figure out what the problem is.

EDIT: I finally got access to a pair of XP SP3 systems (not ideal, since you're working with a XP/7 pair, but it's the best I can do) and gave the portable passwords feature a thorough test. As long as PortablePasswords=true in IronPortable.ini, the passwords moved from machine to machine properly. It looks like either something in your IronPortable.ini is off, or the issue is related to 64-bit systems (or possibly the move from 32-bit to 64-bit and back). Hopefully, a look at your IronPortable.ini should tell me which.

EDIT 2: It's also possible something in an older installation of Iron or Iron Portable is "contaminating" this revision. Please make sure you installed this revision into a new folder, and that no other instances of Iron or Iron Portable are running at the same time as this revision.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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Doh!

[Note to self: Go into a darkened room, bang head on floor and repeat 25 times, "I am an eejit".]

I dutifully installed your test version into a shiny new directory and forgot to copy the IronPortable.ini file across. Wasn't until you asked me to post it that it dawned on me. Hadn't even noticed that I wasn't being prompted for a password at startup.

Now I'm thinking rationally again (I hope) and have copied the .ini across, yes, it's working as expected and, yes, the "Portable Passwords" file now exists, as does the "masterpassword.hash" file in P:\PortableApps\IronPortableTest\Data\IronPortableData

So I guess we can now pronounce that one fixed - sorry for the stupid omission on my part there.

If we can sort the loss of synch credentials and the failure to install extensions under Windows 7, then Iron will be at least two bug fixes ahead of Google Chrome.

Biggrin

Nick

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Yay!

I'm glad to hear that's working properly now. I'll get to work on the sync issue, and I left a couple of workarounds you can try for the extensions issue (although, since that appears to be a Chromium/Chrome/Iron issue, there's probably not a lot I can do for Iron Portable).

Thanks for your persistence and patience in helping track down and resolve this issue!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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Fixed

This could be flagged [fixed] now as it has been working reliably for me for a good few days now.

computerfreaker
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Go ahead and update your

Go ahead and update your first post (just edit it and add [Fixed] to the title). I'm glad to hear the fix is still working for you.

@John: do you want to post the fixed build as Revision 2? The fix for sync settings is likely to take some time, and IMHO this fix should be pushed ASAP.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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Gotcha?

> @John: do you want to post the fixed build as Revision 2?

Before you do this, there was one "gotcha" for me, which might just be to do with the exact sequence of testing but is worth checking out before you set it free:

Initially I installed your test build into a separate directory, set a master password and then used synch to retrieve all of my existing individual passwords.

Once we'd finished testing, I deleted the test installation completely and used IronPortable_10.0.650.1_Rev_2_Development_Test_1.paf.exe to overwrite (upgrade) my standard Iron Portable installation.

When next I started Iron Portable, it prompted me for the master password in the normal way but wouldn't accept the password I entered. I had used the same password for both the standard and test installation, so no confusion there.

I decided to delete \PortableApps\IronPortable\Data\IronPortableData\masterpassword.hash which worked in that it allowed me to set the master password again. But of course it also deleted all of the stored passwords. This wasn't a problem for me as I just entered the synch details again and retrieved them.

For existing users of the release version they will, of course, be losing all of their stored passwords anyway every time they move their PA.c stick from one machine to another and run Iron Portable. But for a user who generally only uses it on one machine, and hasn't set up any synch, they may be upset to find their passwords gone. So it would be worth giving this a quick test and including a warning of what might happen.

computerfreaker
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Deleting masterpassword.hash should still be ok

It should be possible to delete masterpassword.hash without losing passwords (although I haven't tried testing that yet). From the Chrome Portable configuration INI:

If you want to change any of the following:
- The Portable Passwords algorithms, salts, or implementation in such a way that would break your existing Portable Passwords (through an upgrade of Google Chrome Portable that changes these).
- Your master password, or lack of a master password.

You can keep your Portable Passwords by first ensuring that your passwords have been successfully imported into your Google Chrome profile with the local user account. To do this, simply start GCP before upgrading it or changing your password or Portable Passwords settings. Then, delete the master password hash in Data\settings and the Portable Passwords files in your profile (by default, there is only one in Data\profile\Default. A power user with more than one profile will have one for each profile).
Next, perform the upgrade, or change the settings, if you wanted to. Now run GCP and enter a new master password (or the same one, but it CAN be new if you want). Once you close Google Chrome the new Portable Passwords database will be constructed using your saved passwords from Google Chrome.

That should be the same for Iron Portable, with the only real difference being that the Portable Passwords file is in Data\IronPortableData\Default by default.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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Release?

Are you (John) going to go ahead and release this version or wait until the synch thing is done?

Regards

Nick

computerfreaker
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Next Iron release

Iron is about to update to version 11; SRWare posted a screenshot yesterday. I'll make sure this fix gets into the Iron Portable 11 release. The sync settings fix won't make it into that release, unfortunately.

EDIT: Iron Portable 11.0.700.2 is out, and the PortablePasswords fix is on board.

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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"Could not decrypt the password"

Could be a problem with my data (though I have checked the drive for errors, and other applications load OK) but ...

This morning when I started Iron I got a box saying "Could not decrypt the password". I clicked on OK but had to do this repeatedly - presumably corresponding to the number of passwords it was unable to decrypt.

When I looked at my list of saved passwords, all but six of them were gone (the corresponding URLs and usernames were still there).

I closed Iron and opened Google Chrome, and exactly the same thing happened.

The locally installed version of Iron on both of my machines works OK.

So, as I said, it could be a problem with the drive but given that both Iron and Google Chrome use much the same system for portable passwords, I thought I'd flag it as a possible issue.

Regards

Nick

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Can you reliably reproduce it?

Can you reliably reproduce the error (ideally starting with a clean installation of Iron Portable)? If not, we might be able to write this off as a one-time error, a drive issue, etc. If you can reliably reproduce this, please post instructions for how to reproduce the bug and I'll see what I can do to resolve it.

Thanks!

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

ratcatcher
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No can do

Unfortunately I can't reproduce it. It happened on my Windows XP machine. Afterwards this is what I did:

1. Uninstalled both Iron and Google Chrome from the stick.

2. Put the stick in my Windows 7 machine and restored both Iron and Google Chrome from recent (2 days old) backups.

Now I hadn't made any configuration change or installed or removed any extensions during the two days, so these backups (apart from recent history) were up-to-date.

Both browsers fired-up fine on the W7 machine and then, when the stick was moved over to the XP machine, fired-up fine on that.

I don't think it could be a data issue with the stick as the stick checked out fine for file errors and no other application was affected. Google Chrome and Iron use essentially the same portable passwords technique (though of course two different password files) so I'm looking for the common cause here.

For now I think we'll just have to put it down to a minor zombie apocalypse but if it occurs again I'll give you as much information as I can.

Regards

Nick

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Since you can't reproduce the

Since you can't reproduce the issue atm, it's likely the respective PortablePasswords plugins just experienced a one-time glitch either writing (which is my guess) or reading the passwords to the portable passwords file.

If the problem happens again, let me know and I'll dig through the PortablePasswords source for a likely failure point. Until then, as you said, let's chalk this up to a "minor zombie apocalypse." Smile

Thanks,
computerfreaker

"The question I would like to know, is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. All we know about it is that the Answer is Forty-two, which is a little aggravating."

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