Best Free Web Form Filler and Password Manager

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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.
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.
It works on Mac, iPad, Linux, and Windows. NB Portable versions require portable browsers. View the revision history here
Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 2.0+, Chrome 18+, Opera 11+, Safari 5+

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.
7.9.0.0
12.8 MB
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
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.
Windows 2000/ XP/ Vista/ 7/ Android/ iPhone/ iPad/ Mac (Safari)

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.
2.23
2.5 MB -> Win32.exe
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Portable version available here. v2.23 released 20 July, 2013
Windows 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista / 7 / 8 / Wine, each 32-bit and 64-bit, Linux, Pocket PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry and Android

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.
Portable version available, installer has a USB option. v3.31 released 11 May, 2013
Windows XP, Vista & 7 or PocketPC

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.
1.0
1.46 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Works on Windows XP, however the support forum notes some bugs under XP.
Windows 95 - 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.
2.2.65
2.3 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
View the version history here
Windows 98 - Vista
 
 
Editor

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

 
Tags

form, filler, auto, fill, autofill, password, passwords, manager, management, automatic, biometric, network, web, online, encryption, file, protect, keepass, keeper, download, safe, secure, security, tool, software, program, remember, save, usb, windows, free, best, freeware

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4.1
Average: 4.1 (50 votes)

Comments

Greetings,

KeePass 2.29 (stable) was released today (both the installed & portable versions) - http://keepass.info/news/n150410_2.29.html (they recommend upgrading from any previous 2.x version to 2.29).

Version 2.2.9 introduces fully-signed binaries in the password manager, amongst other improvements (including better Firefox integration using the KeeFox plug-in - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/keefox/).

For a comparison between the "Classic Edition" (version 1.29) and v. 2.29, see the Edition Comparison Table at http://keepass.info/compare.html .

Password management is a challenging category for Gizmo's freeware reviews, because there are so few good products that are completely free. E.g.:

* Password Safe is listed as Unrestricted freeware, but it has a premium feature.

* Dashlane's free version (mentioned by Bolt1955) is for only one device, which also leads to its offering no secure backup or online database access. Thus, people using the free version to generate strong passwords would need to manually create and maintain secure backups of their password vault.

* Access Manager is also listed as Unrestricted freeware but it, too, has a premium version.

I realize that my bullet-points might be newer than the information from the time of the original review of these programs, but that date is not shown. When an update is only for copy-editing (maybe for _any_ update that isn't comprehensive?) it would be desirable to see the original review date as well as the copy-edit date.

When a new review is written, I would like to see each review include a comment on the product's security. E.g., is PINS, which hasn't been updated since 2003, "not crackable" as its website claims because it uses 448-bit Blowfish? KeyWallet also uses Blowfish encryption, and is in version 1.0, which apparently might be from 2001. I see that Bruce Schneier, Blowfish's creator, switched from Blowfish to Twofish in 2006 as part of his changes "to provide better security" to his Password Safe product.

For that matter, perhaps it's time for Gizmo's reviews to list the current version's DATE along with its number. While a version number is meaningful mostly in comparison to the version offered by a download site or already installed on one's computer, a version date has additional meaning--such as in alerting us to the possibility that a vintage 2003 program might not be up to the challenges of 2015 technology.

I would also like to see more priority given to the free SW's quality and functionality. In other words, if the free version of a freemium brand deserves a top rating, so be it, but if the free version of a freemium brand such as RoboForm is so limited in functionality as to make create "a major reservation" about recommending it for most readers, than its free version should be listed appropriately lower in the article and rated with fewer stars, and its limitations should be mentioned more prominently than the glowing description of its advantages. Similarly, when a new reviewer comes to this page, it will be interesting to see how that person assesses KeePass (with its free mobile apps) against the free version of LastPass (with its advanced features for the desktop version).

[Moderator's note: Commercial content edited out.]

Password Safe has a disk on key version, but that is a different thing. It does not restrict Password Safe, which is free, in anyway, and therefore, the software will be called as unrestricted freeware only. Same thing will apply to Access Manager. It has a premium version, yes, but the free version is not restricted in any way. The premium version has extra features. Therefore, this will be unrestricted freeware too. If there are some features in the free version, which are restricted, and those are available in the commercial version, then only it won't be called unrestricted freeware.

Thanks, Anupam. Now, I see that I might have made some incorrect assumptions about how your distinction works among such categories as unrestricted freeware, restricted freeware, and premium or commercial products. (If there's a page on your website or forum that explains this, I'd appreciate a link to it.)

Am I correct, then, with the following statements?

1. LastPass and RoboForm are restricted freeware because the free and premium versions are the same download with the premium features available after payment.

2. The other products are unrestricted freeware because premium features are provided through purchase of separate products.

I guess you are correct. Please note that with different software, there are different conditions, and therefore, sometimes it can be hard for an editor to choose a category for such software. Like, LastPass can be called as unrestricted freeware, since by comparison of free and commercial version, I found that the free version is not restricted, and the commercial version has extra features, which might not be required by general users. Similarly, Access Manager can be called as feature limited freeware, since the free version has less features than commercial ones. Therefore, these can be interpreted differently by different editors. Gizmo's provides a guide or just a review of the software. Editors try to provide as much information as possible, but it is also on the users to check the sites of the software, and decide on their own.

I admit that I prefer LastPass (for the moment, at least -- I'm a bit mercurial about such things) to Dashlane. For one thing, in my experience Dashlane has had a string of problems with its Chrome browser integration.

But I can't help but wonder why Dashlane isn't mentioned at all in this review. It seems to be a major, reasonably polished, very popular free password manager -- one that has received favorable comments before on this site. Is there something about Dashlane that the author regards as a deal breaker?

Thanks for the information. This category is currently without an active editor.