I’m always on the lookout for good, free tools for Windows 7, especially workable and usable security stuff. KeePass Password Safe qualifies on all those fronts. It’s completely free, and it’s even Open Source (OSI) Certified. It establishes and maintains a secuirty database that is locked with a master key or a key file. Thus, users need remember only one password, or select the proper keyfile, to unlock that database and access any or all of the account/password pairs that make up its contents.
The program is tiny (a 1.9 MB download), and installs in less than a minute on most machines. There is some setup time and effort involved, because you must then manually add an entry for each account/password pair you wish the program to store on your behalf. What you wind up with as a result looks something like this:
As you can see the program breaks accounts down into categories, so you can find your password data quickly and easily (one thing I don’t like about the Norton Identity Safe, which serves the same function, is that it offers a single list of all accounts and passwords only by alphabetical order: over time it gets tedious to find and manage data in that kind of set-up). The most important thing about a good KeePass setup is to choose a strong master password: I used the “Perfect Passwords” generator at Steve Gibson Research to generate some random character strings, then cut a 12-character segment out of one string that was easy for me to remember, to create a sufficiently strong one for my purposes.
If you need a good, free password manager I urge you to check out KeePass. It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job! I use it on my test machines and all of my VM images (where I routinely run free security software to keep costs to a minimum, as these things tend to come and go with amazing frequency in my office).