I'm a creature of habit, and for as long as I can remember, that habit has included generating and managing my own passwords. In other words, I've used a fairly fundamental system of password creation, then manually recorded each new one in a management utility.
Obviously I'm aware of solutions like Keepass, LastPass, and Roboform, and I've tried them sporadically over the years. But for various reasons I never really took to any of them.
Then I tried Dashlane, and at the risk of gushing, I'm a convert. This Windows-based password manager offers a gorgeous interface, seamless integration with my Web browser, and storage for other data I like to keep accessible and protected: credit card numbers, software registration codes, and so on.
I'll refer you to PC World's review of Dashlane for a full overview of the program. But I want to share the key reasons I'm making a switch after so many years of doing things differently.
For starters, Dashlane automatically populated itself with the passwords it found in my browser, thus saving me the trouble of having to manually import or re-enter them. Then it automatically logged me into sites where a password is required, thus saving me having to remember the password or manually type it.
Of course it can also generate secure passwords for me, but I think cooler still is the way it ranks my existing passwords and shows me which ones are easily compromised.
Unlike a lot of the password managers I've tried, the Dashlane desktop client looks sleek and modern. And it makes simple work of tracking not only passwords, but also notes, payment information, and even receipts for things I purchase online.
Perhaps best of all, Dashlane is free. However, I'm paying for a Premium subscription, something I rarely do, because it syncs all my password data with not only my other PCs, but also my mobile devices. Plus, it's reasonably priced at $19.99 per year.
As I said, there are other password-management solutions out there, and I'm sure some of you are fans of them. I'm choosing Dashlane because it's the best password hassle-solver I've found--and I'm all about solving the hassles, you know?
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.