In iTunes (Windows 7) Encrypt local backup is checked, and I can't remember the password. I don't need to restore my iPad; I just want to be able to back it up. If I attempt to uncheck this, iTunes prompts for my password. How can I start clean (without losing any data from my iPad, which has not been upgraded to iOS 6)?
From Apple Support:
Warning: If you encrypt an iPhone backup in iTunes and then forget your password, you will not be able to restore from backup and your data will be unrecoverable. If you forget the password, you can continue to back up and use the device, however you will not be able to restore the encrypted backup to any device without the password. You do not need to enter the password for your backup each time you back up or sync.
If you cannot remember the password and want to start again, you must perform a full software restore and when iTunes prompts you to select the backup from which to restore, choose set up as a new device.
I assume it applies also to iPad, and yeah that's a terrible inconvenience for you, but at least it's a definitive answer from the source.