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Recovering from a lost master password

If you give a master password to a database and then lose the password, you will be unable to make any changes to the user profiles. This page describes how to recover from this problem with the aid of a special temporary "Master" licence bought from us.

Before you start

Choose the computer you are going to use to perform the recovery.

Installing the Master licence

When we send you the Master licence, it will look like this:

Serial number: 99999999
Edition: Master
Number of users: 1
Expiry date: 20130804
Signature: Y22E-25X8-Y13Y-8661

On your chosen computer, install this licence. The instructions are here.

Here is how the licence window will look once you have filled in all the details:


Note that the Master licence is always time-limited, for your safety and ours.

How to recover from a lost master password

The Master licence makes Cardbox accept two master passwords as being correct:

  1. The real master password of the database.
  2. 67409210

So your procedure for recovering from a lost master password is as follows:

  1. Open the database.
  2. If Cardbox asks you for the password of the master profile as you open the database, use 67409210. If it doesn't ask (because a default profile lets you in directly), open the database, use File > User Profiles to change to the master profile, and again use 67409210 as the password.
  3. Use Tools > Management > User Profies to change the master password to something you know.

And that's all.

There is one limitation. The Master licence will only do its work if you have opened the database directly. In a single-user installation this will always be the case. On a network, it isn't.

Shared databases on a network

When a database is shared on a network, nobody opens the database files directly. Instead, everyone goes through the Cardbox Server, which regulates access to the shared database.

The Master licence has no effect on shared databases. This is for your security. If the Master licence did not have this restriction, anybody on your network who got hold of it could gain master access to every database.

So before you can recover from a lost password for a shared database, you have to open it directly - that is, not shared.

First of all, get everyone out of the database in question, either by closing the database window or (better) by closing Cardbox altogether. Get yourself out of the database as well, by closing any windows you have open onto the database.

Now you have two choices.

  1. If the database files (.fil and .fmt) are accessible to you through a network share, use File > Open > My Computer to navigate to that network share and open the database's .fil file. After you have sorted out the password, close that database window. Everyone can then go back in.
  2. Alternatively, copy the .fil and .fmt files to your own computer, and open them there. After you have sorted out the password, close the database window and copy the files back to where they came from.

After the password recovery

Write the new master password on a piece of paper, seal it in an envelope, and keep it somewhere safe: for instance, with the company chequebook.

The Master licence will naturally expire in a few days, but for perfect security, remove it. The instructions are the same as before.


© 2016 Martin Kochanski
"Cardbox" is a registered trademark.
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