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Saturday, 5 November 2011

How to store your Passwords securely

Today, we all need passwords, login names, user names, and PIN numbers to access our Bank accounts, log onto the Internet, access our Emails etc. We are advised not to use the same password for different accounts, and we shouldn't write them down, in case somebody else finds our notes. If you are like many of us and have problems remembering them all, here is an idea that may help.

The principle is to create a file containing a list of all our confidential information. Then encrypt the file, so it cannot be opened without a password.

You can use pretty well any program to create the list, including Windows Notepad, Windows WordPad, or Microsoft Word.

To encrypt the file, you could use WinZip, WinRAR or the free 7-Zip utility.

If you decide to use 7-Zip, which uses strong AES-256bit encryption,  you can follow the instructions below:-

Download 7-Zip from the 7-Zip website :-

http://www.7-Zip.org

Once it has downloaded, install it.

Then open your preferred text editor program, such as Windows Notepad, Windows WordPad or Microsoft Word, and make a list of all your  passwords, login names, user names, PIN numbers etc.

Save the file, and remember the file name, and the location where you saved it. Open Windows Explorer and right mouse click on the file you just saved. A pop up menu should appear. Choose the menu option "7-Zip", then the option "Add to archive…" The next window shows you the new name of the file in the box under "Archive:". The file name should end with ".7z" Type a password in the boxes below "Encryption" then click on "OK".

You have now created a password protected file with your confidential information. All you need to do now is delete the original unencrypted file.

When you wish to open the new encrypted file, in Windows Explorer, right mouse click on the encrypted file and choose the option "7-Zip" then, "Open archive" In the next 7z window, right click on the file you wish to open, and select "Open". You will then be asked for your password.

If you forget the password all your file data might be lost. There is no way to recover this data unless you recall the password or somehow break into the file. So password protect only those files which are absolutely necessary.

Although your file or folder is password protected it still can be deleted, so always backup all your files, even those protected by passwords.

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