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I’ve tried different password managers before… Firefox has had one built into it for awhile, and I’ve grown fond of that one. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than trying to remember every login and password combination, especially when you have as many user accounts for things as I do. It’s impossible to remember every single one of them… well, now I don’t have to!
I’d never heard of LastPass until recently. I’ve been using a bookmark syncing program called Xmarks, which saves your bookmarks on a server, so when you log in with any of your computers, you always have the same bookmarks available to you. It’s an awesome program, but they found themselves unable to maintain their service because people seemed unwilling to pay for it. Rather than close shop, Xmarks was acquired by LastPass, which is a really useful pairing. The ability to have all your bookmarks and passwords at your fingertips, no matter what computer you’re using. LastPass offers their service for free, and provides a premium option that allows for full support and access to an iPhone/Android/Blackberry app. And what do they charge for this? $1/month. Can’t go wrong with that! Plus it works on any operating system! I bounce between Mac, Windows and Linux now, and it’s there for me no matter what!
So what exactly is LastPass? Well, it’s quite simple. You set up a master password for your account, and install the browser plugin. From that point on, any time that you enter a username/password, LastPass will ask if you want to remember it. It won’t take long for LastPass to build a database of your logins/passwords, which are stored as local encrypted files on your computer. If you are setting up a new username/password, you can even tell LastPass to generate a random password that is far more secure than anything you could probably dream up. I now have several logins that I couldn’t tell you the password to even if I wanted to. But I know that when I sit down at any of my computers, I can get logged in to any of my sites because all I have to remember is the master password, and LastPass remembers the rest. Last pass even has a form generator which can be used to store all your basic information that you generally have to fill in when you sign up for anything. Name, address, phone number… it’s all there. It all gets filled in automatically when I come to a blank form.
The headaches that LastPass and Xmarks have saved me since I’ve started using them is unbelievable. Xmarks has a premium option as well, but I have not spent the money on that yet. I suppose that I would if it meant having access to all my bookmarks all the time. I love when I install a clean system, and as soon as Xmarks is configured all my bookmarks suddenly appear as I last saw them!
I highly recommend that you take a look at either (or both) of these programs. They are completely free to use. You don’t need to pay for the premium option, but if you decide to… hey.. it’s only a buck a month…