Keep passwords safe

Generate, store, and manage secure passwords with this powerful portable freeware.

KeePass 2 Portable is a completely portable version of KeePass Password Safe. Like the installed version, KeePass 2 Portable is open-source freeware that stores passwords securely in an encrypted database file that can be transferred between computers with ease. It can also print, import, and export password data and generate key files and random passwords. It accepts plug-ins that can enhance functionality in areas such as networking, backups, and compatibility with other applications.

KeePass 2 Portable's interface and functions are largely identical to KeePass Password Safe, which we've already reviewed. The chief difference between the two is that the portable version stores your configuration data in its app directory, while the installed version stores such data in each individual user's Windows account directory, which lets multiple users have private accounts on the same PC. Since "portable" users typically don't need that capability, KeePass 2 Portable needs to be able to write to its app directory to store account configuration; otherwise it will store data in the application directory of the currently logged-on user, whoever it is. Such data isn't sensitive, and most users won't have any problems (though some many need to run the app as an Administrator). However, if the Windows User Account is lost or deleted, you won't be able to open your password database or recover the data; you can't simply create a new account with the same name and password. The HTML-based Help file warns about this option, which deliberately limits log-ons to user accounts in which individual databases are created.

As with the installed version, the portable version involves creating a master password and/or encryption key and then entering our password data, including notes and reminders, in the database. We could copy passwords to the Windows Clipboard and paste them into apps or simply drag and drop them into place, and also drag passwords into KeePass for safekeeping. We could also open URLs directly from password entries. The program offers a surprising number of options, and some extras like a Trigger system work flow utility, autotype, and configurable security policies. If you already have the installed version of KeePass you can easily create a portable version by copying the program data to a portable device and then copying your configuration data from your user directory to the portable version's configuration file.

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