KeePass Review

KeePass makes strong passwords and keeps them safe.

For too many of us, the alternative to a password manager is using the same password everywhere. This means that if the user database of any one website you sign up for is compromised, hackers can (and often do) just try your username and password on many other websites and gain access. Using a password manager is the obvious choice.

Most password managers integrate with your browser and aim to fully automate the process of capturing and replaying credentials for secure websites. KeePass (free), an open source tool, takes a rather different approach. While it doesn’t automate capture of secure credentials, it can log in to websites using any browser and can also handle application passwords. It’s also absolutely loaded with configuration options; a tinkerer’s dream!

KeePass lets you keep all of these username/password pairs in a securely encrypted database, protected behind a single master password, which is the only password you’re ever going to have to remember. And unlike commercial competitor LastPass, KeePass doesn’t automatically put your password database in the cloud (although you can put it into Dropbox yourself).

  • PROS

    Optional multi-factor authentication. Imports from many other tools. Flexible password generator. Multi-level grouping of entries. Optional keylogger protection. Can handle non-standard login sequences. Plugins add advanced features.

  • CONS No automatic capture of login credentials. User must manually program non-standard login sequences. Safety of plugins not guaranteed. Vast number of settings may put off some users. Plugins not guaranteed safe.
  • BOTTOM LINE

    If you’re a techie who loves having full control over all settings and doesn’t mind a little manual labor, KeePass may suit you very well. But if you want a password manager that automates the process of capturing and playing back secure credentials, this isn’t the tool for you.

KeePass features its own random password generator, so you don’t have to come up with random passwords on your own. It includes a quick-search box where you can type just a fragment of a website’s name to quickly find it on your list. The list itself is built to contain thousands of records, and you can subdivide it into folders and subfolders to keep things organized. KeePass isn’t limited to just usernames and passwords, either: Each entry has several other fields, including a free-form Notes field which you can use for securely storing any sort of text.

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