Freeware Solutions: Password Management

Download Whisper 32 from FileWorld.

1. Installing the Program

After you've downloaded the file, double-click Whisper.zip to open it. Your compression/decompression utility will open. Then you can either run the setup.exe installer directly (if your utility allows that), or extract the files to a folder, where you'll be able to run setup.exe.

Whisper 32's setup process installs the program to C:\Program Files\Whisper by default. You will be given three options for the placement of Whisper 32 shortcuts: the Start Menu, the Startup folder, and the Desktop. After you make your selection, click the Next button to begin the installation process.

2. Setting a Master Password

Use any Whisper 32 shortcut to start the program. It will load a blank password storage document, tentatively named Untitled.wsp.

First things first: Give this document a master password. Select File, Change Password. Enter a password twice and click OK. Take note: It's vital that you not forget your master password. If you do, you won't be able to get to the password list you're creating. Once the list is saved, it gets encrypted, and you can't decrypt and access the file without the master password. In other words, this is the one password that you must commit to memory.

After you assign a password to your file, select File, Save. Enter a name (with a .wsp extension) that's meaningful to you, and select Save.

3. Adding Account Information

To input password information for a given account or online service, click the Add icon (it has a lock with a gold star on the left corner). The Add Password dialog box will appear. Fill out the Service Name, User Name, and Password fields for the account. Use the Memo area for Web site URLs and any notes you wish to add.

If you're just signing up with a given service and want Whisper 32 to randomly generate a password, click the Generate button. The Generate Password dialog box will appear. Select the number of characters you'd like the password to have; if the password is required to contain particular types of characters, such as digits or symbols, specify that too. Then click the Continue button. A randomly selected password meeting the criteria you indicated will appear.

Click OK to exit the dialog box and add the new password information to your master list.

4. Configuring Whisper 32

Once you've entered a set of passwords, it's time to set up Whisper 32 to make it more convenient to use. Select View, Options. In the dialog box that appears, place a check mark beside "Minimize to system tray." Click OK. Now minimize Whisper 32. You'll see that it doesn't place an entry in your taskbar--instead, an icon appears in the system tray, near your desktop clock.

For even greater convenience, be sure that Whisper 32 is in the StartUp folder in your Start Menu. The program will ask for the master password each time it starts up, so you don't have to worry about a stranger booting your machine to look at your password list. If you didn't install a Whisper 32 shortcut to the StartUp folder when you first set up the program, simply locate its folder (usually C:\Program Files\Whisper) and drag Whisper.exe into your StartUp folder to make a shortcut.

5. Looking Up Passwords

So you arrive at Cheese.com and you can't recall your password. No sweat: Double-click the keychain icon in the system tray. Whisper 32 jumps into action.

Right-click your entry for Cheese.com, and select Copy User Name to copy the listed user name to the Clipboard. Now you can use Ctrl-V to paste it into the appropriate field in your browser. Back in the Whisper 32 window, right-click Cheese.com again and select Copy Password. Use Ctrl-V again to paste your password into the field in the browser. Minimize the Whisper 32 window to tuck it away in the system tray.

To edit existing account information, call Whisper 32 to the fore with a double-click of the tray icon. Double-click the account you want to edit, and its information will appear. Make your changes and select OK. Be sure to click the Save icon on the toolbar (or select File, Save) to update your master password list.

One final note: If you enter a URL into the Memo field for any account record, you'll have an additional command at your disposal: Open URL. There's a corresponding toolbar button as well; it looks like a linked chain. This command opens the entered URL in the default browser.

Linda Grubbs is a staff editor with PC World

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Linda Grubbs

PC World
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