v-Go unclutters your mind

Is your desk littered with notes jotted with log-on and password combinations to applications and favourite Web sites? Mine is.

So it was with a great sense of anticipation that I downloaded the latest version of PassLogix's v-Go Universal Password. v-Go manages your identities by storing all your various log-on and password combinations in an encrypted file on your computer, logging you in with a single, graphical, password instead.

That's right: your v-Go universal password won't appear to be made up of letters and numbers, but rather of graphical elements. If you want your password to be chicken stew, choose the Make a Meal password window and drag a chicken an onion and a potato into a pot. If you'd rather your password be a straight flush, choose those cards from the Hand of Cards password window.

In addition to being fun to create, graphical passwords are more secure than regular passwords. To use the Make a Meal example, underneath the chicken stew is the random encrypted password that v-Go has assigned to you: "Rx4e63j" or something to that effect. While such passwords are nearly impossible to remember, they're also very difficult to crack. v-Go bills itself as a password management utility but has other useful applications as well. You can use its 128-bit Blowfish encryption algorithm to protect sensitive files. Protecting a file is simple -- choose it from the v-Go application, and then Protect. To decrypt it, choose Unprotect.

Another nifty feature v-Go provides is locking down your desktop. You open it again using -- you guessed it -- your universal password.

One-a-day log-on

Version 1.5 of v-Go includes important new goodies. The biggest is the new Instant Logon feature, which remembers a user's universal password for up to 16.5 hours. That is, v-Go will only ask you to enter your graphical password only once in an allotted time period. Anyone who accesses multiple password protected sites or applications every day will appreciate this feature. For the more security conscious among us, Instant Logon can be set to remember your universal password for a shorter period of time, or be disabled altogether.

Also, v-Go can now recognise protected programs and Web sites, and log you on automatically. Or at least, that's the theory: when configuring a site to be recognised by v-Go, I always chose the "recognise automatically" option, but when it came time to log on, I still had to tell v-Go to log me on.

But all in all, v-Go was easy to use. Setting up sites or applications for use with v-Go was no problem, and everything worked pretty much as expected.

You can download two versions of v-Go: the free variant, which manages passwords for up to 10 sites and applications, and the $US29.95 v-Go Plus, which manages an unlimited number of passwords, and gives you a year of free upgrades. At that price, all you have to lose is a password -- and that's not very likely.

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