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Securely store your passwords. Complete with encryption and a decent password generator – not to mention plugins for Chrome and Firefox – KeePass Password Safe just might be the best password management system out there.
If you read our password management guide you will know the importance of having diverse passwords. Sure, using one password for all of your online services is simple…until someone compromises one of your accounts. If all of your passwords are identical your online life is a house of cards.
KeePass Password Safe is a completely offline approach to password management, though you can combine it with cloud services like Dropbox if you want.
Before you can use KeePass you need to create a database. You’ll be prompted to do so the first time you run the program, and the main thing you need to do is specify a password.
Take this password seriously – it’s going to be the one thing protecting your various passwords from anyone who gains physical access to your computer. It’s the key that will encrypt your database, so the longer – and the harder to crack – the better.
Once you’ve set up your account you’ll see the main interface of KeePass – essentially, a list of user accounts.
Creating a new entry is simple – just click the new entry button in the toolbar (I, after years of using this, frequently hit the button that creates a new database, but whatever). When you do, you can enter everything you need to know in order to access a particular account:
Give the account whatever “title” you want – that’s there for your purposes. You’ll obviously want to include the Username and password, but including the URL can also be helpful – especially if you plan to use browser plugins. More on that later.
Your password will be rated for security, and if you’re having trouble thinking up a secure password there’s a generator. Relying on such services is sometimes not recommended – no such software is perfectly random, meaning hackers could potentially exploit a pattern – but the optional entropy option can help.
If you currently use one password for every online account…stop. While you’re setting up KeePass, it is a good time to lock things down, and the password generator can help you make secure passwords. Adding your accounts, one at a time, while changing your passwords, can take a while – but real security takes work.
KeePass doesn’t just store your passwords – it also makes it easy for you to retrieve them. Right-click any entry and you’ll see the option to copy your username, password or URL immediately:
Learn the keyboard shortcuts indicated here for quick access – you’ll like it.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a search function. If you only use KeePass to store a few passwords this isn’t a big deal, but believe me, when your collection grows to 200 or 1,000 you’ll be thankful this feature is here.
Do you like the idea of offline, encrypted password management, but also want browser integration? KeePass has you covered. A large collection of plugins allows you to automatically fill in forms on Firefox, Chrome and even Internet Explorer – and do a lot more.
Check out the KeePass plugins here. There’s a lot to explore here, and it goes well beyond browser integration. Be sure to explore if you want additional functionality.
Ready to check out KeePass Password Safe for Windows? Head to the download page at KeePass.info. You’ll find both an installer (EXE) and a portable version (ZIP). You can also download a portable version at PortableApps.com, if you want.
Other Operating Systems
There are other versions of KeePass, including KeePass Android. Check out the download page at KeePass.info for a complete list.
Do you love the idea, but wish you could sync your database to other devices? You can easily use Dropbox to sync your database, and because it’s encrypted you’re protected from vulnerability. Any syncing service will do, too – you’re not limited to Dropbox.
Do you know of any other good KeePass Password Safe tips? Share them below, so everyone can benefit. I’m looking forward to reading your ideas.