Keep your passwords safe with KeePass Password Safe

Store your passwords securely with this free password manager.

Memorable passwords aren't secure, but secure passwords aren't memorable. The right tools can resolve this standoff, such as KeePass Password Safe. This free, open source password manager securely records and stores all your passwords and user names. You only need to remember the master password to access your database, or you can protect it with a key file. It rates passwords for strength and can also generate secure passwords and random numbers. Its autotype feature can even type in your user name and password, or any keystroke combination, into a browser window, log-on screen, or other fields. It also accepts plug-ins, command line input, placeholders, and much more.

KeePass opened with its clean, compact Explorer-style interface and a wizard for creating a master password and performing other setup functions, including associating a key file or provider, if any. The Options dialog has tabs labeled Security, Policy, Interface, Integration, and Advanced; we were impressed with the many options KeePass offers, but also by the ability to deselect many features like print spooling and autotype. We set up our master password, database, file associations, and other options, and KeePass presented a pair of sample entries in the main field. These do a great job of showing what to enter, but there's an excellent Help file with clear screenshots, forums, tutorials, and documentation, too. The database is divided into Groups: General, Windows, Network, Internet, eMail, and Homebanking. We could add, edit, print, and export Groups, too. Under Tools, KeePass offers utilities to generate passwords and password lists, database tools, a TAN wizard, and tools for configuring Triggers and Plugins.

We found KeePass very easy to set up and use, though we barely got started with its many extras, such as the autotype feature. But it proved as effective as any password manager we've tried at its main job, recording and saving our various passwords, and limited by the same factor that compromised every other password manager we've tried, too: the human factor. You must record and save your passwords in KeePass before it can protect them for you. If you can handle that, it can do the rest.

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