Eee 701 Planetoid

2010/07/27

Two quick tips for KeePassX

Filed under: Software — Tags: , , , , — Tim @ 18:31

If I were writing my post “Ten programs I want on all my computers: the Eee 701 view” today (and I might still do an update sometime), I would definitely include one application which wasn’t present in the list at that time: KeePassX, the cross-platform encrypted password manager. (Actually, I did mention it in passing in the article, but I was still getting familiar with the program at the time.)

To cut a long story short: since I posted the above article, KeePassX has become one of those apps for me—you know, the programs you wonder how you ever did without. Basically, KeePassX—and its Windows cousin Keepass Password Safe—is a password manager for Linux and Mac OS X, which stores your login details for all those Web sites you visit, in a 256-bit-encrypted database file.

I could write a much longer article about why I think this is such a great app, but at this point I just want to share two tips for KeePassX which I have learned, and which I find very useful.

  • KeePassX uses the same database file format across platforms (I assume the Windows version does; certainly, Linux and Mac do), and you can customise the app’s settings to point to wherever the file is located.
    If you use Dropbox (and I can hardly imagine my Eee 701 without it 🙂 ), you can place the KeePassX database anywhere within your Dropbox folder, and the file will be synchronised across all your computers, thus ensuring you have an up-to-date password database.
  • The Linux version of KeePassX has a handy feature: “auto-fill”. (I haven’t tried the Windows version, and I couldn’t get this feature to work in the Mac version, though that could’ve been my fault…)
    In the menu, go to Extras/Settings…, select the Advanced tab and place the cursor inside the field next to “Global Auto-type Shortcut”. Then, press the keys you wish to use for a keyboard shortcut—I use Ctrl-Shift-A—and this will appear in the field.
    Now, when you visit a site where you have to log in, select the entry for that site in the KeePassX list, place the cursor inside the username field on the form in your Web browser, and type your keyboard shortcut. If all goes well, the fields should be populated from KeePassX, and the form submitted. This usually works in Firefox, though with all the “variables” involved, “your mileage may vary”.

Hope these are of use, and if you’re looking for an app to keep your Web and other passwords secure, I warmly recommend giving KeePassX a whirl.

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