Can old website passwords be recovered and printers retain information | Q&A with Patrick Marshall


Q: I have two questions. First, is there an easy way to find all the websites I’ve created logins for?

Whenever there is an option to use my google credentials I do this but before it was a common option I created credentials for sites used only once or didn’t have not been used for a year.

Shouldn’t there be a “free website data report” that Congress or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau might require as laws requiring credit reporting agencies to make our credit data available. Should Congress create the same standard for any website that stores our information and make it available so that we can manage/remove or improve our digital security?

Rob Moore, First Hill

A: Thanks for your suggestions. I couldn’t agree more. The United States is far behind Europe when it comes to protecting our online data.

In the meantime, the best way to find all the website logins you have is to use a password manager. Yes, Google Credential Provider fills that bill, although I’m personally suspicious of the amount of personal data Google itself collects.

A good password manager also offers other benefits, such as automatically generating strong and unique passwords.

Alas, I’m afraid there’s no way that I know of to track down any website logins you may have created before installing a password manager.

Q: I have two old printers that are not working and want to dispose of them properly: an HP OfficeJet 4500 and an HP OfficeJet Pro 6968. Is there any information stored on them? In the past, I have photocopied driver’s licenses and passports, and while that information still resides in the printer, I don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.

Dave Bosworth, Redmond

A: Most consumer printers do not hold documents in memory. I checked with HP and it applies to your models.

HP also offers a support document with details on the most efficient way to recycle or dispose of your printer.

The strong points:

  • Remove and recycle ink cartridges.
  • Transfer or cancel your HP Instant Ink service, if you subscribe to it.
  • Restore factory settings to your HP printer.
  • Reset the printer to remove all previous printer settings and preferences.
  • Restore default settings.
  • Remove the printer from your HP account.

You can find details here: Preparing an HP Printer for Recycling or Disposal | HP® Customer Support.

Q: I saw the comments you had for Carl Einfeld in a recent Q&A regarding poor wireless internet performance. It might not have been a bad idea to have also noted that the add-on software on his computer can also do a number of performance.

Like you, I have a 1 gigabit line (mine through Xfinity). On my desktop computer, a Surface Studio 2 wired to the modem/router, I’m happy to get just under 1GB speed. (Xfinity says it actually provides 1.2GB but the Surface only has a 1 Gbit network port). Via wireless on my Surface Book 3, also like you, I average about 300 Mbps, but I’ve seen it jump up to 600 Mbps at times.

When I run NordVPN, the performance is good. On Book 3 I’m lucky to have 100 mbps, my average is usually lower. Antivirus software can further erode performance. On the Studio 2, even wired, performance drops to around 500 mbps.

Just thought to mention that there might be other things affecting Carl’s wireless speed.

Jeff Litvak

A: You are right, of course. Many things can affect internet speed, including VPNs. I also use NordVPN and can see a drop in speeds when I run it, but not as drastic as you see.

Again, your point is well taken. Many factors can affect online speeds, especially if you access the Internet through a Wi-Fi router. Other issues can be caused by hardware settings, congested Wi-Fi channels, physical or radio interference, and software running on the computer.


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