Cryptnos

Windows FAQ


Last updated October 12th, 2011

In addition to the FAQs on this page, please read the FAQs on the main FAQ page, as they pertain to all platforms.

Will Cryptnos for .NET work on platforms other than Windows?
Maybe, maybe not. Cryptnos may work on non-Windows platforms with a .NET 2.0 compatible framework like Mono. However, this is untested beyond running it through MoMA (which it passed). Historically, Mono works best with command-line and library type code, not GUI applications that rely on the System.Windows.Forms classes. Use on a non-Windows platform is considered officially unsupported.
The installer complains that the “Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 or higher is required to run this application”.
Cryptnos uses the .NET Framework as a base platform. Most people should already have this installed; it comes pre-installed with Windows Vista and later, and was pushed out to Windows XP through Windows Update. If for some reason you don’t have .NET 2.0 installed, you should be able to install it via Windows Update, or by answering Yes when prompted by the Cryptnos installer. If you do the latter method, you’ll be taken to a Microsoft website where you can download it. Make sure to install all the necessary service packs and security patches as well; Cryptnos doesn’t rely on these, but you’ll want them just to keep your system safe.
How do I turn those blasted annoying tooltips off?!?
Um, we’re sorry you didn’t find the tooltips useful. They’re meant to help you learn how to use Cryptnos, but we’ll admit they get in the way a bit after you’ve gotten the hang of things. Near the bottom of the form, you’ll find a checkbox labeled Show Verbose Tooltip Help. Uncheck this box and the tooltips will magically disappear. If you ever want them back again, just check this box and they’ll come right back.
What’s the purpose of the Lock Parameters checkbox?
This is your safety net for day-to-day use. If this box is checked, Cryptnos will make all of your settings read-only, so you can generate passwords for existing sites all day long, but you can’t add, edit, or delete any of them, nor can you import any sites from a file. Without this protection, every time you click the Generate button, Cryptnos writes all your settings to the registry. That means if you fat-finger something and accidentally make a change, that change will get saved too. Thus, we recommend you keep Lock Parameters checked all the time unless you really need to change something, then clear it, make the change, and check it again. (Of course, if you’re making a permanent change, make sure to export that to a backup file too.)
What does this “Copy password to clipboard” checkbox do?
This replicates a feature we added in Cryptnos for Android 1.0 that we thought was rather cool. When this checkbox is checked, each time you click the Generate button the generated password will not only be put in the Password text box but will also be copied directly to the system clipboard. We found in our testing that most users immediately copied their passwords to the clipboard after they were generated so they could paste them into whatever form they were authenticating with. This checkbox eliminates the extra step of having you do that yourself. However, this checkbox is turned off by default, which replicates the previous version 1.0 behavior. Cryptnos will remember this setting whenever you exit.
I have the “Copy password to clipboard” box checked and occasionally get errors that say “Requested Clipboard operation did not succeed”.
We’re aware of this issue, but I don’t think there’s much we can do about it. This indicates that Cryptnos tried to copy your generated password to the clipboard, but that copy failed for some reason. It’s likely that Cryptnos could not get exclusive access to write to the clipboard or something else was blocking it for some reason. There have also been reports that certain applications (like Microsoft Office) wipe the clipboard when they are started, which may prevent us from writing to it for some reason. Additional rumors around the Web have speculated that Windows cut & paste has been broken for a while and that the problem is within Windows and not the application. Whatever the cause, we’re using the built-in mechanism for .NET to write to the clipboard and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There is little we can do but tell you to manually copy the password to the clipboard when you get this error. We’ll try to make the error message a bit more friendly in future versions.
Why does Cryptnos throw up a warning if I set the number of hash iterations higher than 500?
In our testing, we found that hash iteration values much higher than this resulted in significant performance issues on other platforms, causing pauses that made the app look non-responsive. This is less of a problem on Windows machines because the typical PC processor is much faster than, say, the processor in an Android mobile phone. However, on such devices this lag can make it seem that Cryptnos or the entire device has locked up, even though it is still hard at work. We considered adding a progress dialog to this process, but ultimately decided that 500 iterations seemed a bit excessive. One iteration is usually enough, and anything more than ten is unlikely to be broken. So we stuck an upper limit on this rather than rewrite the password generation code. Rather than breaking the parameters for Windows users who may have more than 500 iterations in their saved settings, we put in a warning to let you know that these values may not be compatible with other platforms. If you rely on more than 500 iterations in Cryptnos for Windows and wish to make your parameters compatible with versions on other platforms, we recommend you step that back down so both platforms are the same.
What’s the deal with this new update checker?
Like many Windows applications, Cryptnos now does a periodic check online to see if new versions of the application are available. About once a week, whenever you launch Cryptnos for the first time, it will download a small XML file from this site to see if there’s a new version. If there isn’t (or if this check somehow fails), the updater will silently close and you’ll never even know it happened. The only time you will be notified is if a new version is found; then Cryptnos will ask if you’d like to download the new version. Since updates may include security patches and important bug fixes, we strongly recommend you install the latest update whenever it becomes available.
What information is sent to this site when the update check occurs?
None. The updater downloads a small XML file and compares the version information in it to the version you currently have installed. No personally identifiable information is send to the server, not even the version of Cryptnos you are currently running. About the only thing we’ll get from you is your IP address, which is something any browser will send if you visit the site.
I don’t like this new update check thing. How do I turn it off?
We strongly recommend that you do not turn this feature off, as updates may include security patches and bug fixes that may be important to preserving your valuable password data. However, if you do not wish for the updater to function, you can disable it by placing a special key in the Windows registry. Instructions for how to do this are included in the Cryptnos HTML help file installed along with the application. There is no user interface control for setting this registry key, so manual registry hacking is required.
What is “daily use” mode? How is it different from the way it used to work?
“Daily use” mode is a new feature added in version 1.3.0, and an extension of an idea borrowed from Cryptnos for Android. In the Android client, the typical day-to-day generation of existing passwords is separated from the generation of new and editing of existing passwords by a separate menu option. When you select this option, you only see the core elements needed to get the password: the site name or token, your master password, a Generate button, and a box to display the generated password. Everything else is technically superfluous and displayed read-only. The Lock Parameters checkbox accomplishes something similar in Cryptnos for Windows, but it only disables many controls, making the display only. They still take up a lot of screen real estate.

With “daily use” mode, we now hide most UI elements you won’t need day-to-day. You get the site name drop-down, the master password box, the Generate button, and the box to display the generated password, just like the Android version. Everything else is hidden, making the Cryptnos window much smaller and easier to deal with. You can enable and disable “daily use” mode on a whim, so you can hide the extra UI controls when you don’t need them and show them when you do. We think it makes a lot more sense, looks a lot better, and makes your work flow a lot quicker.

Is there a way to keep Cryptnos on top of other windows?
Yes, as of version 1.3.0. Go into the Advanced Settings and check the “Keep Cryptnos on top of other windows” checkbox. This toggles this feature on and off.
What’s this new “Export to QR code” option?
Cryptnos for Android 1.3.0 will introduce the capability to import and export site parameters via QR code. This will make transferring parameters among multiple devices (say, a smartphone and a tablet) much easier and faster. Cryptnos for Windows 1.3.0 also adds the ability to export parameters to a QR code to make transferring them from the desktop to a device just as easy. Note, however, that since most desktops and many notebook computers do not have built-in or add-on cameras, the Windows client will only export to QR code; importing by this method will not be supported.