capsule review

RoboForm's Start Page feature adds ease of use to this password manager

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder RoboForm

    PCWorld Rating

    Manage your digital life--including passwords, profiles, and more--with this handy utility.

Password managers aren't flashy, but they sure are handy if they're done right. And Roboform definitely is done right. This free (albeit in limited form) utility lets you securely store and manage your online passwords, as well as your login and registration information you may use while browsing the Web.

Roboform is available in three flavors: Everywhere, Desktop, and 2Go. Everywhere, launched with the new version 7 of Roboform, includes a cloud-based service that allows you to access your saved Roboform information across multiple computers. If you want your information to stay local, you can opt for the Desktop version, which works on a single computer. The 2Go version works on a USB drive, allow you to take Roboform and its saved info with you as you go.

All three of Roboform's options include a free version, which is limited to managing 10 logins. For some users, especially casual Web surfers, this version may be more than enough. But more active users will have to pay $10 for the first year of Roboform Everywhere (and $20 for subsequent years), or $30 for the Desktop version, in order to manage more information.

Luckily, using Roboform is far easier than keeping track of all of its versions (and I didn't even get into the Pro version, which offers additional licenses for business use). You install the software, create a Roboform Everywhere account if needed, and you're good to go. Roboform appears as a toolbar in your browser window (it's compatible with almost any browser, including IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and more) and makes itself known to you whenever you complete any kind of Web form. Once you hit enter, Roboform appears in an unobtrusive pop-up bar, asking if you'd like to save your login info. Then, when you visit that site again, your login information is ready and waiting for you.

You can use Roboform to create online profiles, useful for storing information that you often need to enter repeatedly, such as a shipping address. It also stores bookmarks, generates passwords if you're looking for secure suggestions, and lets you login to multiple sites with one click.

Roboform's Start Page feature lets you set a webpage (http://start.roboform.com) as your browser's default homepage, and use it to login to any of your other sites using just one click. The Start Page isn't flashy, but does offer three different layouts for displaying your logins. Its main drawback is the lack of site thumbnails (like those used on Opera or Chrome), but it is otherwise solid and easy to use. Simply click on the tile for the site you'd like to log into, and Roboform takes you there, fills in your information, and logs you in. This worked on most of the sites I tried it with, but not all of them

I like how Roboform works with multiple browsers; information you enter in Internet Explorer is remembered when using Firefox, and vice-versa. And using Roboform Everywhere is handy if you frequently switch between a PC and a laptop. I especially like its Safenotes feature, which allows you to securely store snippets of information in password-protected notes. It's not as robust as Evernote, but it's certainly useful. As someone who, all too often, scribbles important account numbers on scraps of paper, Safenotes is exactly what I need to get organized.

That's exactly what Roboform does best: It allows you to organize your digital information, easily and—best of all—securely.

Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Manage your digital life--including passwords, profiles, and more--with this handy utility.

    Pros

    • Cross-browser support; Lets you store more than just passwords

    Cons

    • Multiple versions are confusing; free version is limited
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