Bare-bones password recovery

Display hidden passwords in Internet Explorer with this simple tool.

We can think of two potential uses for Asterisk Key. Perhaps, like many of us, you have allowed your browser to store a password for a Web site you frequently access, only to realize in time that you've forgotten what the password actually is. Or, more nefariously, perhaps you have decided that you need or want to know someone else's password for a particular site. However pure or impure your motives, Asterisk Key can help--sometimes.

The most important thing to know about Asterisk Key is that it seems to work only with Internet Explorer. We tried it with Firefox and Chrome and had no luck with either. With IE, however, the program works well, if not particularly elegantly. The interface is minimal: just a square with a blank text area and a couple of buttons. To recover a password, users simply open the IE page that contains the password field in question. Click Recover and the program displays the name of the Web site and the decoded password. Users can optionally save results as a text document. And that's pretty much the extent of Asterisk Key's features. The Help file contains descriptions of numerous Passware Kit utilities, and Asterisk Key gets about a paragraph of description with no real instructions or useful information. This tool is pretty bare bones, but it does the job if you need to decode a password saved in Internet Explorer.

Asterisk Key is free. It installs politely but leaves a folder and Start menu item behind upon removal. We recommend this program to all users.

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