Passwords in Your Pocket

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I do not know how many web accounts an average user has, but I imagine that they must somewhere between twenty and fifty. And these are not all active and used on a regular basis. Most of them are created just to get instant access to some file. I used to do this a lot, but now I just use one single email address and the same login details for all of them. This way, when I know I have an account on some forum I know exactly which are the credentials for access.

Most users apply this method for everything. I have friends that use the same details for every account they make on the web. The level of security in their case is close to nil and then they wonder why the Yahoo credentials no longer work for Flickr.

Anyway, the best choice is to pick a password manager and let it do all the memorizing. All you have to do is remember a single password. This kind of softwares are all over the place and most of them are really good, portable and absolutely free. My favorites are Roboform2Go, PINs and Password Safe. All three of them are portable, free and very easy to use. PINs may be looking a bit old, but that's only because it is a really old software and yet it can whoop many more recent password managers on the market.

With Password Memory, things are a bit different as it is not free and analyzed version is in beta stage. But don't worry, the 14-day test period offered by the developer is more than enough to get acquainted with its features and modus operandi.

Portability is a great feature when it comes to password managers. With all the portable technology nowadays, you can install applications on a memory stick and move from one computer to another with all the functionality and comfort provided by a portable software. Especially when that software stores all your login details (you can login to your accounts from any computer and without having to remember each and every account specific user name and countersign).

Regarding the security offered by the application, all I know is that it uses 128 and 256 encryption but I found no reference to the algorithm that'll do all the work. The software works with databases, which can be stored anywhere on the computer, but I recommend saving them in the same installation directory with the program. This feature gives the user the possibility of storing an unlimited number of items with absolutely no problem.

Starting the software for the first time requires the creation of a new database (you can create as many databases you want) for storing all the details. Once this is done, you can start adding items by using the simple to handle interface.

Password Memory's 2008 interface looks nifty and all the options are organized within easy reach, making the work with the application a cinch. The toolbar is split into four sections, which are actually a visual representation of the menu bar. Using these sections, you can painlessly add new items to the database, delete them, search for particular ones, filter them according to their properties, or organize them in groups for a better manipulation.

Adding a new login detail in the database is no sweat even for an absolute beginner. New Item dialog is user-friendly and comes with a few surprises of itself. This is where you create all the groups for the items in the database. More than this, you can use the password generator to create new, more secure passwords. Maximum length of a countersign is 99 characters and includes both upper/lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

Providing a link in Link bar ensures quick opening of website directly from the application. The beauty of supplying a link is that you can also mark the item with the favicon of the website. The application retrieves it automatically and it is visually attractive when looking at the list of items, all with the specific favicon.

If you have accounts that need a different password at a certain time interval, there is no problem. The application offers the possibility of setting a validity period for each item in the list. More importantly, there is a search function specifically designed to show you the items with expired passwords.

Provided that it can store a myriad of items, search function would be a must and Password Manager 2008 offers three ways for finding the desired login details fast and effortlessly. You can use instant search for a quick return of the results. QuickFilter option permits searching for items alphabetically, just like in a telephone book.

Selecting an item in the group/list causes for its details to be displayed in the right hand side of application window. From there, you can securely copy the username and the password to clipboard and then paste them in any field you want.

Password Memory 2008's security options include clearing the clipboard and locking the software. The funny thing with locking the application is that I was expecting it to minimize to system tray. Instead, it will password protect the access and show you the initial screen where you select the desired database and enter the password to open it. If this is not what you want and decide to cancel the operation, the application will close.

Options menu of the software comes with little configuration. You can set it to start with Windows, make it stay on top of all windows (useful for pasting login details), minimize it to system tray and, a very important function, automatically locking the database after a user defined time of inactivity (if minimized).

It all sounds good up to now, save for the $19.95 price and the fact that you cannot restore a database. Not because the option is missing, but because it does not work. During our testing, backing up the database, deleting the items and trying to restore them ended in complete failure. However, the application is in stage so there is time to correct this detail.

Looking on the bright side, Password Memory 2008 is able to export the entire list of login details to various file formats like TXT, Excel spreadsheet, HTML or XML.

The application does a great job with storing the sensitive login details and moves quite fast when it comes to searching through the database. However, there are some issues that need to be taken care of. It looks good, but for this kind of money I expected a bit more flexibility.

The Good

All the passwords are masked by default, but you can make them visible with a click of a button. When exporting the list of logins, the application asks if you want the passwords to be masked or visible.

In minimized mode, Password Memory 2008 can be set to lock the database after a user defined time of inactivity.

A pretty good password manager is ever ready to assist you in providing up to 99-character passwords.

The Bad

Restoring the backup did not work during our testing and we'll put this on the account of the beta stage of the software.

The price is quite steep considering that there are plenty of good password managers on the market able to accomplish the task the same as Password Memory 2008 does.

The Truth

You have 14 days of trial before paying up the $19.95 for a license. These are more than enough for properly testing the app and making an idea on its abilities and usefulness. It is a pretty well built beta - expect a choke here and there, but not too many.

NOTE: Restoring the database now works but the message we got after the procedure was that the database name was missing (then Password Memory 2008 minimized to system tray). Nevertheless all elements were restored. The developer fixed the software lock issue and now when "Lock Password Memory 2008" is used the application will minimize to system tray and restoring it on the desktop requires the assigned password.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 3
ease of use 4
pricing / value 3

final rating 3
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