Opera "remembers" all passwords even after disk formatting & win reinstall

  • Hello,

    I am new here so please bear with me. I had to format my main OS disk (c:) because I suspected that my previous windows installation was compromised with spyware.

    My C: disk is actually an SSD drive, but I also have a regular 1 TB hard disk (D:). However, during the windows installation I could see two more partitions (that aren't usually seen under windows 7). I think they were called "System reserved". I presumed they were remnants of the previous win7 installation and I deleted one of them (the other remained because it wasn't possible to delete it from win install).

    I also formatted the entire C: partition to ensure clean install. Then I installed Windows 7 onto C: and everything went without problems.

    I installed Firefox and Chrome first and, as one would expect, they didn't "remember" any of the passwords, history or anything else from the previous Win 7 installation. Chrome was able to log into Google's cloud (after I provided the username and password) and synced all the bookmarks, passwords etc. But please note this happened only after I typed in my google username and pass.

    However, when I installed Opera, I immediately noticed that it knew all my passwords (from the previous win installation), as well as my entire browsing history! Heck, it was even possible to log into my gmail and shutterstock accounts without going to the log on screen first - as if the session hadn't expired from the previous win installation!

    Today I repeated the formatting of C: and installation of Windows 7 and everything is exactly the same?! What gives?

    Does anyone know how is this even possible?

  • Which version of Opera was it? Which drive did you install Opera's profile folder on?

  • Unfortunately, I don't remember which version it was, but it was definitely one of the latest. I still have the installation file for that Opera and it looks like this:

    Opera_NI_stable.exe - 667 KB (683,472 bytes)

    I think that Opera updated itself several times since the installation.

    I always install Opera on my main (OS) drive, which is C: and leave to Opera to decide where to place its profile folder. I assume that this is located in c:\users

    For instance the current Opera browser has created this folder (which I suppose is for profiles):

    C:\Users\Richard\AppData\Roaming\Opera Software

    I only see 3 possibilities here:

    1. Formatting didn't destroy all the data on C: and new Opera somehow managed to find the data from the previous installation.

    2. Opera secretly placed the data onto my D: drive (but I don't see it there).

    3. Opera somehow logged into my Opera cloud (I did make an account, but I didn't tell opera to store passwords, history etc. there, only the bookmarks). Besides, the newly installed Opera didn't ask me for the email/password, and it still offers me to sign into my account when I click the little circle icon with a man inside at the far right side from the address bar.

    Any ideas how to find out what actually happened?

  • By the way, the installation file for Opera from which I installed Opera in the previous Win7 installation has this date associated with itself: November ‎30, ‎2014

  • You missed the obvious. Opera will import settings and passwords from your default browser. If you didn't tell the installers otherwise, the default browser will be the one most recently installed - that is, Chrome as described. Hence it imported the bookmarks and passwords from Chrome.

  • There is no 'magic' with computers, contrary to occasional popular opinion. The laws of physics still rule. So if data file contents are surviving on your SSD drive after reformatting it, the implication is that either those data files actually (or also) exist elsewhere outside that drive or the reformatting is not being fully successful in the usual sense of the word "format".

  • You missed the obvious. Opera will import settings and passwords from your default browser. If you didn't tell the installers otherwise, the default browser will be the one most recently installed - that is, Chrome as described. Hence it imported the bookmarks and passwords from Chrome.

    But Opera didn't ask me whether I want it to import the passwords and settings.

    Besides, even if that were the case, it doesn't explain the fact that as soon as I entered the URL for shutterstock contributors, I was already logged in. The same story for gmail. I wasn't brought to the login screen on those sites, I was already logged in. I don't think that Opera (or any other browser for that matter) is programmed to import sessions from other browsers?

  • Easy way to find out - try it again but install Opera first.

    Opera does import sessions from old Opera (which was my default) - though you really mean cookies, to Opera users "session" means open tabs. As far as what exactly it imports from Chrome ... I have never had Chrome as default. But Opera and Chrome use the same rendering engine, so transferring from one to the other is trivial.

  • There is no 'magic' with computers, contrary to occasional popular opinion. The laws of physics still rule. So if data file contents are surviving on your SSD drive after reformatting it, the implication is that either those data files actually (or also) exist elsewhere outside that drive or the reformatting is not being fully successful in the usual sense of the word "format".

    I did notice that the formatting lasted only a few seconds (the format command from win7 installation). I don't know if this is normal or not.

  • For a 'quick format' it is.

  • A quick reformat merely wipes the base directory and file allocation. All the data is still there, and you can even "unformat" a quick format. But not relevant to this discussion as Opera is not recovering any of its own files.

  • Ah, when you install Opera there is an options page. Inside that page there is a checkbox that says 'Import bookmarks and data from the default browser'. That is probably the source of the bookmarks being imported.

  • You missed the obvious. Opera will import settings and passwords from your default browser.

    I'm no expert but could anybody please confirm or (as I'm hoping) denying this statement.

    Even when accepting that stored passwords in a browser can not be considered save I mean what's the logic that a new installed program is allowed to import passwords from another rather unrelated program?

  • You missed the obvious. Opera will import settings and passwords from your default browser.

    I'm no expert but could anybody please confirm or (as I'm hoping) denying this statement.
    Even when accepting that stored passwords in a browser can not be considered save I mean what's the logic that a new installed program is allowed to import passwords from another rather unrelated program?

    That's what I thought as well. I don't think it's very nice of Opera (to put it mildly) to import everything it can from other browsers, especially when we take into account the fact that it doesn't even ask the user for the permission!

  • Ah, when you install Opera there is an options page. Inside that page there is a checkbox that says 'Import bookmarks and data from the default browser'. That is probably the source of the bookmarks being imported.

    I'm afraid there's no such checkbox anymore.

  • @masterlon

    it doesn't even ask the user for the permission!
    I'm afraid there's no such checkbox anymore.

    There is a checkbox. I just downloaded the installer and checked right before posting this. As I said above its in the options of the installer. If you had 'Import bookmarks and data from the default browser' check then that is exactly what it will do.

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