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 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 it can't work for Web sites and applications.

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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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