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Password Managers

Five Safety and Display Tips for KeePass Portable

SUMMARY: Get the most out of KeePass Portable with these five free tips.

As mentioned elsewhere on MalekTips, KeePass Password Safe is a password manager that lets you store all your passwords in one encrypted database. Below are a few tips on getting the most use out of the application. These tips are for the v1.xx branch, which was the latest Portable version at the time this tip was written. Tips for other versions may vary.

1. Keep information hidden

If you're using KeePass in a public area such as a coffee shop, restaurant, university, etc., you don't want your secure information easily visible. While KeePass by default hides your passwords by replacing them with asterisks, hide all columns except for the titles of secure locations by selecting the 'View" menu, choosing "Show Columns", and unchecking every column except for "Title".

Make sure to also uncheck "View" - "Show Entry View".


Hiding most columns in KeePass



2. Replace usernames with asterisks

Perhaps you don't want to hide all columns, but you don't want your usernames visible to prying eyes. As shown in the above screenshot, select "View" - "Hide User Names Behind Asterisks". Or, press Ctrl + J.

3. Access KeePass via a Hotkey

Is KeePass running but hidden underneath a bunch of windows? Pressing Ctrl + Alt + K brings up KeePass. If this hotkey doesn't work for you:

1. Select "Tools" - "Options".

2. The "Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears. Click the "Advanced" tab.

3. Underneath "Advanced", check "Register Ctrl-Alt-K hot key (brings the KeePass window to front)".

4. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.


Enabling the KeePass hotkey



4. Place KeePass in the System Tray

Running out of room in the Windows Taskbar? Force KeePass to appear in the System Tray when minimized instead:

1. Select "Tools" - "Options".

2. The "Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears. Click the "Interface (GUI)" tab.

3. Check "Minimize to tray instead of taskbar".

4. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.


5. Change when KeePass Locks

You can make KeePass lock itself, forcing you to re-enter the password to access the open database. This may be useful if you need to allow someone else to use your machine, need to show something on your Desktop to a friend or coworker, or want extra security when you shut down your machine or put it to sleep in case someone pilfers it (a scenario none of us want to think about).

Note that in the latter case, a strong database password is recommended to help prevent the perpetrator from accessing your accounts. And in the unfortunate case your machine does get stolen, it is strongly recommended to change your account passwords as soon as possible anyway.

While these options may increase security, it is up to you how you wish to balance security versus convenience, as you may find it irksome having to constantly re-enter the database password.

1. Select "Tools" - "Options".

2. The "Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears. Click the "Security" tab.

3. Check one or all of the following options:

* "Lock workspace when minimizing the main window"

* "Lock workspace when locking Windows, switching user or sleeping" (highly recommended)

* "Lock workspace after the following idle time (seconds)" - then underneath enter the number of seconds of idle time that should occur before the password must be re-entered.

4. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.


Configuring when to automatically lock KeePass

Return to the Password Managers page.

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About MalekTips and the Author

The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.