A story from the trenches.

The phone rang and after I answered, the tier 1 tech explained the situation: the caller needed her files decrypted because either the encryption system or the certificate had gone bad. I told him I’d take the call. She was then transferred over.

I started the process while making some small talk. But then she asked a question: “How long will this take?”

Well, that’s hard to say exactly. It depends on your system speed and how many files we have to decrypt. Judging by the amount of data on your drive, this will probably take about an hour, maybe 90 minutes.

“What? I’m presenting in a live meeting in 10 minutes. Can’t you make it go faster?”

Not without a time machine, I can’t. No, it has to do it at its own speed.

“Why is it going to take that long? Do I have a lot of stuff on there?”

Well, there are a lot of photos on here, and several ’70s funk and Barbara Streisand albums in your iTunes folder. Those will contribute to the amount of time it will take quite a bit. Okay, I didn’t mention the types of music specifically. But honestly, that’s pretty much what it was.

“Those are personal. I can just delete those right now…”

It won’t do any good. They’re still encrypted. To save us time, they would have to not be encrypted.

“Yeah, but if I delete them…”

It only goes to the deleted items folder. They’re still encrypted.

Silence. Then the question. “How much longer is this going to take?”

You’re sounding like my kids on a car trip. It’s been 5 minutes. It’s still decrypting your photos.

“Can I send an e-mail out? I just want to update everyone in the meeting.”

Sure.

So I watched as she sent out the e-mail to everyone in the live meeting she was going to host. She typedMeeting delayed while IT fixes my computer so I can get to my presentation file.” Then she asked “When do you think it will get to the folder with my presentation?” She opened the folder with her presentation. All the files were green–the sign they were encrypted.

Geez, lady. I’m not a shaman. That’s a little ways off. We’re still working on the pictures. Once they aren’t green, then you know they aren’t encrypted.

She returned to her e-mail and typed one more line: “Will start up live meeting and send e-mail when presentation is no longer green.”

Fortunately, her presentation was available only 5 minutes later than the meeting was scheduled to have started.

See you tomorrow.