Manage passwords, and not just on the Web

Mgentry2 asked the Windows forum to recommend password managers that can 'keep track of both online passwords and app passwords.'

Mgentry2 asked the Windows forum to recommend password managers that can "keep track of both online passwords and desktop application passwords (Outlook, Quicken, etc.)."

The safest passwords are long, seemingly random strings of letters, numbers, and punctuation--and you need a different one for each Web site and application. Unless you have a photographic memory, you need a program where you can securely store your passwords. That way, you only need to remember the one password that will give you access to all the others.

You need a password manager, which is essentially an encrypted password database. There's no reason why a good password manager can't work for Web sites and applications.

[Email your tech questions to or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

I use Password Safe for both. It's free and open source, and it's available on multiple platforms. In addition to my PC, I run it on my Android phone and my iPad.

Password Safe doesn't directly integrate with your browser, but it's reasonably browser-friendly. When you're at a site's logon page, you can open Password Safe, right-click the appropriate item, and select Perform Auto Type. 

Or, before going to that page, you can right-click the item and select Browse to URL + Autotype;  however, in my experience, that one doesn't always work.

To enter a password into an application, simply double-click the appropriate item in Password Safe. This puts the password in your clipboard, from where you can easily paste it into the application. Password Safe clears the clipboard in a few minutes, or when you close it.

Password Safe isn't the only such program worth considering. KeePass is also free, and behaves in a very similar way. Many find it easier to use than Password Safe. You may want to try both before you commit to one. Moving between password managers can be a hassle.

You'll find more recommendations in the original forum discussion.

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