About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

February 6, 2018

Chrome Password Manager

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:00 am

I have stated before that my browser of choice is Google Chrome.  In my opinion it is “currently” the better browser of the main ones.  At the end of 2017, W3Counter states that the top browsers used are Chrome, (59%) Safari, (15%) Firefox, (9%) Internet Explorer/Edge (8%) and Opera (4%).  Notice the significant gap between the top two contenders.

They all have an account password manager of some sort.  These managers are used to keep track of your user account names and their corresponding passwords for websites.  This information is required to log in when you visit those sites.  They work in different ways and today I will tell you how to set up and use the one in Chrome.  If you favor one of the others, Google for information regarding the specific password manager.  Basically, you visit a site after the browser has saved your username and password for that site and it will prefill it making it much quicker to get into the site.

It is quite easy to cut them on and off in Chrome.  Some people do not want their browser to keep track of their passwords.  It could be a problem if they left their computer unattended.  Then others could easily access their accounts with the usernames and passwords already filled-in.

First, check and see how Chrome is set for you.  Click the three dots (ellipsis) in the upper right-hand corner of the browser.  Look toward the bottom of the list and click “Settings.”  At the top of the Settings window in the “Search settings” box, enter “passwords.”  There are several areas here which you can examine; however, be careful about changing anything unless you first understand what you are changing.  (Use Google again.)

We are only going to look at one specific area this time: “Manage passwords.”  Click the words “Manage passwords” and you will be in the manager for Chrome.  Notice at the top right corner, “Search passwords.”  Here you can type in a value that you have a password for and it will find that account.

Below that is a simple On/Off selector.  Click the button on the right, gray is Off and blue is On.  Off stops Chrome from memorizing your usernames and passwords.  It is set “On” by default, so if you never realized it they have all been recorded up to this point.

After that you can allow it to auto sign-in which allows the usernames and passwords for sites to be prefilled for you.

Now for the good stuff.  We will say you forgot your Amazon account password.  Type “” into the search passwords box at the top right.  It will find you Amazon account login info.  From left to right it gives you five items.  First, website name, then username, password (hidden by asterisks) an eye icon and an ellipsis.  The last one, the ellipsis (three vertical dots) does not do much when clicked other than give you the choice to delete the specific account info.

The eye is the important one.  Click it.  If you use a username and password to set up your computer you will have to enter that password to see the password, sans asterisks.  If the correct computer password is not entered the site password will not be revealed.  If you do not have a computer login password anyone on your computer can see your passwords.

Delete or check them as you wish since you now know the secrets.

You can see mine below, hopefully blurred enough to keep you out of my super-secret info. (Yawn…)

Google Chrome password manager

Ron’s view of Google Chrome password manager

June 7, 2011

P@55w0rd Keepers

I wrote a column last year about passwords.  Gee, don’t our digital worlds revolve around them?  If you work with computers on a regular basis you may have a million of them.  You may have them for logging onto your computer, websites, email, bank accounts, online stores, etc.  As I stated last year, “I do not have that great a memory and never did.”  So to remember them I use applications designed to keep them for me.

First, here is a quick review of password creating.  Always use at least eight-characters in a password. Be sure to use a combination of letters, numbers, upper-case and lower-case, and make sure the letters don’t spell anything … even backwards.  Something like "rQ7tXc5#T" would be good, but bear in mind you have to remember it.

Some of the top passwords currently in use in the US are 12345, qwerty, asdfgh, 12345678, monkey, your first, middle, or last names, names of pets, kids, parents, or significant other, birth dates, months, year of birth, street name and/or number, your car’s license plate, a difficult word from the dictionary, like ambrosia (a very popular one) and the most obvious, "password".  Are you using any of those?  I hope not!

imageHow are we to remember them? Well, I am a huge fan of KeePass. KeePass is a standalone program which is installed on your computer, where all of your passwords are stored. I have been using that app for at least 5 years and it has never failed.

However, there is another I was testing until earlier this summer, LastPass. LastPass is recommended by some of the big names in Tech.  LastPass is also installed locally; however, your encrypted passwords are stored online. The online storage enables you to access them online from any location on any computer. I always wondered about storing your passwords on someone else’s servers…in the cloud.  In May, 2011, LastPass posted on their sites, “We noticed an issue yesterday and wanted to alert you to it. As a precaution, we’re also forcing you to change your master password.”

Basically, that meant someone “could” have hacked their password site and gotten information from user accounts.

Many have said this didn’t happen and they are showing paranoia in being so cautious. This is a good thing.  It made me decide to bail out of the program. I really can’t recommend it since this happened.  You can debate whether they had been hacked or not. Regardless, your secret “stuff” is out there and not under your control.  That concerns me.

Most password manager programs work the same.  You set up a “Master Password” which protects all of your other passwords.  Make sure it is a good one in order to keep prying eyes out.  Then log into the program using that password and you can look up your individual passwords.

I realize there are other great programs which perform the same/similar actions out there like RoboForm, and 1Password.    However, KeePass is the one that I can fearlessly recommend to my readers.

I would like to hear from you during the week.  Tell me which password program you like and use.  As I compare and contrast them, I believe KeePass has been, and will continue to be (for some time) my choice in password security.

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