Password managers keep your login data handy

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

From shopping and banking sites to network- and remote-access logins, we’re inundated with requests to create and remember a plethora of passwords.

Fortunately, plenty of free tools help us store and organize our passwords in a single, secure location.


Login aids can be more hindrance than help

If you counted the number of times you were prompted to enter a login ID and password in the course of a working day, you could be approaching double digits by your afternoon break.

Firefox, Internet Explorer, and other browsers offer to remember passwords for the sites you visit. However, your passwords are not always secure when stored in a browser — though Firefox is a safer bet, since you can encrypt its passwords with a master password.

Furthermore, you might need a tool that saves passwords for other programs, not just Web sites. If you’re like me, relying on your memory is perilous, and writing your passwords on a piece of paper — even one you keep in your wallet or some other relatively secure location — is dangerous. That’s where password-management utilities come in.

Password managers are small databases designed to help you manage the deluge of passwords needed to navigate your computer, network, and Internet needs. With the exception of RoboForm’s browser toolbar, most of these programs have a similar interface and features, including but not limited to the following:

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-09-18: