Best Free Web Form Filler and Password Manager

 
Introduction

Products in this class are among the most useful of all PC utilities because they allow you to complete the common task of filling in web forms and logins by simply clicking a button, as well as allowing you to store program serial numbers and registration details in a secure electronic form.

They work by saving (in encrypted form) user IDs, passwords and other information needed by individual sites for later retrieval.

To login to a site you need only type in a single master password to allow retrieval of the specific password information for that site. This information is then used by the program to automatically login.

This greatly improves security because it allows different passwords to be assigned to individual sites without the need to remember them. And it makes the login process easy and quick.

 
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Discussion

LastPass is a one of a kind product. Most password managers are either online or software only.  It is the combination of  both web service and software. With the web service you can access your data anywhere. The software which runs on your computer allows you to view your data even when you're not connected to the Internet. When you install the software, the plugins for IE and Firefox are automatically installed. There is now a plugin for Google Chrome as well. The plugin allows you to automatically fill forms. You will be logged in without even a click. You can always disable it if you don’t like it. One thing I really like about LastPass is the Password Generator. The Bookmarklet is a lifesaver if you’re on Chrome, Opera or just about any browser that supports JavaScript. The Bookmarklet does not have all the features of the plugin though, but it does allow you to fill passwords and forms, which is all you actually need. Did I mention you can store unlimited passwords? I personally have over 100 passwords stored on LastPass.

If you’re worried about security or reliability, then let me tell you LastPass is as safe as it can possibly get. It uses the same encryption algorithm that the US Government uses for top secret data. The key to decrypt the data is only known to you, so the database is meaningless to hackers. All encryption/decryption occurs on your computer, not on the servers. This means that it does not travel over the Internet and it never touches the servers. The entire site is encrypted and verified by Comodo.

 

There's no doubt that RoboForm is the stand-out product in the category; it's full featured, easy to use, seamlessly integrated into both Internet Explorer, Firefox and even Google Chrome browsers, and is constantly being enhanced by the developer. It also allows your saved passwords to be used on any PC, which is very convenient if you use multiple machines or are upgrading.

I do have a major reservation though: The free version allows only 10 forms or passwords to be stored. This used to be 30 in earlier versions, which was adequate. However, 10 passwords is not enough for most people and that really defeats the purpose of a password manager. What's the point in having a password manager if it cannot manage all of your passwords?

NB: If you use Internet Explorer, there's some good news: the last free version of RoboForm (V5.7.6) that allowed 30 passwords is still available from the RoboForm web site, though it's well hidden in the FAQ. Firefox users are out of luck, because you can't use this version with the current version of Firefox.

 

KeePassSome alternatives: Firstly (my personal favorite) there is the open source program KeePass. It's not nearly as well integrated into your browser as RoboForm, but it's a very good product that works without any limitations at all. There's also an excellent KeePass plug-in for Internet Explorer that automates web form filling. You can simply drag and drop saved information to password prompts or web forms. Alternatively, you can use the powerful auto-type functionality that allows you to define a sequence of key presses, which KeePass can automatically perform when a global hotkey is pressed – perfect for email logins or entering program serial numbers.

 

Some alternatives to KeePass include Password Safe and PINS, which are both open-source and free and come with an auto-type system. Yet another possibility is KeyWallet, which allows you drag and drop saved information directly into web forms. Not quite as neat as RoboForm's click-and-fill system, but it's still highly effective. KeyWallet can also automatically save form data and handle difficult Java based forms. It's also skinnable. However, KeyWallet has not been updated since 2001, before the release of XP, and there are still some XP related issues. Access Manger is similar to KeyWallet, but is still being maintained. It doesn't have the skinning capabilities of KeyWallet, and requires the .NET framework to run.

 

Online Solution?

Finally, if you want to separate password keeping from filling out forms, consider PassPack. Its advantage is that it's entirely online: there's nothing to download and install. This lets you generate and use passwords from any computer that's connected to the Internet. My only concern at this time is the legitimacy of the service, but at present it would seem to be a viable alternative to software password managers.

 
Related Products and Links

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Quick Selection Guide

LastPass
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Packed with features such as automatically filling in passwords, and accessing your passwords anywhere.
Some users say this product is insecure because it is web based.
http://www.lastpass.com/
2.0.2
9.66 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 2.0+, Chrome 18+, Opera 11+, Safari 5+

It works on Mac, iPad, Linux, and Windows.
NB Portable versions require portable browsers.
View the revision history here

RoboForm
5
 
Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
Easy to use, seamlessly integrated into both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, constantly being enhanced by the developer.
Allows only 10 forms or passwords to be stored in the free version.
http://www.roboform.com/
7.9.0.0
12.8 MB
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000/ XP/ Vista/ 7/ Android/ iPhone/ iPad/ Mac (Safari)

The last free version of RoboForm (V5.7.6) that allowed 30 passwords is still available for download from http: //www .roboform.com/dist/ AiRoboForm-5-7-6.exe (please rebuild the link by removing all spaces).
Compatible with IE but not with the current version of Firefox. 30 day trial of full version then some features disabled.

A Lite version (without an installer) for both Firefox and Chrome is available on the download page.

KeePass
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open source, works without any limitations, has a plugin for Internet Explorer that allows automatic web form filling.
Not well integrated into other browsers.
http://keepass.com/
2.23
2.5 MB -> Win32.exe
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista / 7 / 8 / Wine, each 32-bit and 64-bit, Linux, Pocket PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry and Android

Portable version available here.
v2.23 released 20 July, 2013

Password Safe
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open-source and comes with an auto-type system.
Not well integrated into browsers.
3.31
13.30 MB -> Win32.exe
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP, Vista & 7 or PocketPC

Portable version available, installer has a USB option.
v3.31 released 11 May, 2013

PINS
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open-source and comes with an auto-type system.
Not well integrated into browsers.
4.50.0.86
689 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 - Vista
KeyWallet
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Drag and drop saved information directly into web forms, automatically save form data and handle difficult Java based forms, skinnable.
Not quite as neat as RoboForm's click-and-fill system, not updated since 2001, with some XP related issues.
http://www.keywallet.com/
1.0
1.46 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 - XP

Works on Windows XP, however the support forum notes some bugs under XP.

Access Manager
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Quite similar to KeyWallet, but is still being maintained.
Does not have the skinning capabilities of KeyWallet.
http://www.accessmanager.co.uk/
2.2.65
2.3 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 - Vista

View the version history here

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Victor Laurie. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

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