Microsoft change things too much

My ThinkPad gave up the ghost – I had to format the hard-drive and reinstall Windows. 🙁 As a result, a large chunk of this evening has been spent downloading and reinstalling apps, and generally trying to get Windows set up the way I like it.

The most annoying problem I’ve hit so far is with Microsoft Money. I use MS Money 2001 to manage all our household finances. I’ve been using it (and before it Money 97) since starting University, so my Money file (I never get round to setting up archiving!) has got a record of pretty much everything I’ve bought since 1998! It syncs with my phone so I can record money that I spend when I’m out and about, and it’s how I make sure that we pay all our bills on time.

So it’s fair to say that my Money data file is kinda important. And that I want it to be secure.

Unfortunately, it’s so darn ‘secure’ that I can’t get into it anymore! 🙁 It’s all because of a change to the way that Microsoft handle authentication.

Originally, Microsoft Money used a password to lock the file. This was true back when I used Money 97, and when I upgraded to Money 2001.

At some point since then – I can’t really remember when – an automatic Internet update changed this, so that Money 2001 started to use a Microsoft Passport account as the approach to authentication. I guess they were getting tired of the password-revealers floating around warez sites! I hadn’t really noticed this change until today.

After reinstalling Money from the CD (how impressive is it that I could still find it? :-)), I tried opening my data file. No joy. “Please enter your password.” Nothing I’ve tried will work.

Microsoft Money 2001 as installed from the CD doesn’t understand how to authenticate using Microsoft Passport. It can’t unlock my file.


The “Enter-password” dialog is much simpler than the email-address-password page that I’ve got used to over the last couple of years. I guess this is what the Microsoft Money System Pack entry in my “Add/Remove Programs” list (before the Windows reinstall that is our etch-a-sketch approach to IT support) must’ve been all about.

I’ve searched for the update that will teach MS Money to use Passport to open my file again. I’ve looked everywhere. I’ve tried getting an update from within MS Money itself. I’ve scoured, and a bunch of other support sites. And I’ve googled till I can’t google any more. It’s no longer available.

Brilliant(!) They change the file format mid-stream with an update I don’t ask for, to the extent that the software as it is on the CD can no longer understand the file. 🙁 I’m all for regular updates in the form of bug fixes, but this sort of change to external behaviour could have waited until the next released version, couldn’t it?

5 Responses to “Microsoft change things too much”

  1. dale says:

    Okay, I’ve calmed down a bit now. To be fair, I did buy MS Money over five years ago, and it was only about £30. I guess it’s a bit much to expect support for this to be maintained when they’ve since released six different newer versions. (I work in Service, so I know it’s a pain to have to support multiple versions of a product – and we don’t support anywhere that number of versions concurrently!) And £30 every five years for something I use so much probably isn’t entirely unreasonable.

    So I’ve just ordered myself a newer version from the nice people at ebuyer.

  2. dale says:

    Bad news…
    Paying ebuyer the extra few quid for a ‘Priority Service’ guaranteed delivery to get MS Money by Friday didn’t seem to make much difference… it arrived this evening – a few days later!

    Good news…
    MS Money 2005 did the trick – updated the file and opened it fine first time! 🙂

  3. bea Porter says:

    I have reloaded MY Money from my 2001 CD and am having the same problem with the password. I clicked on File menu and changed it but it still wont open. HLEP I need to restore my files. LIKE NOW!!!

  4. Bea Porter says:

    please send me information on how to restore my Money backup. It asks for a pasword and I tried it and it doesn’t work. I’ve tried resetting the pasword and that doesn’t work. I need this as soon as possible. thank you

  5. dale says:

    bea – Sorry, as I said in my post, I couldn’t open my file in MS Money 2001, and couldn’t restore the backup. The only way I could get it to work was to upgrade to MS Money 2005.