I'm not an expert on human behavior, but I've been around enough to know people hate the password process. Creating strong passwords is like flossing. We all know we should do it, but need encouragement to make it a habit. Thankfully, there is a program that creates strong passwords and speeds up the log in process. The program is called RoboForm.
RoboForm has been around for years, but version 6.0 won me over. The software simplifies password management while maintaining security. Whenever possible, the software automates tasks like filling in web forms or account log ins. It recognizes when you're creating an account versus revisiting a web site. Most of this functionality is handled through the RoboForm toolbar that attaches to your browser.
You can use the toolbar with Internet Explorer, Netscape or Firebird. If you're using either Netscape or Firebird, you need to install an adapter. The software also works with browsers based on IE such as AOL, MSN, but you won't have full toolbar functionality. Or, you can run the program from the System Tray.
The program creates four data types that are accessible though its toolbar. These data types are identities, passcards, bookmarks and safenotes. Each data type can be password protected by a master password. RoboForm's password protection is much safer than Internet Explorer's auto-complete feature.
Identities are like a profile and used for filling in web forms, purchases or information requests. Your identity includes information such as your name, address, credit cards and so on. Whenever you encounter an online form requesting information, you click your Identity button on the RoboForm toolbar. The software matches the fields on the web form to the information stored with your identity. Rather than taking a minute to fill an online form, you post data from your identity in seconds. You also don't have to worry about typos unless your identity is incorrect.
Another reason I use an identity is it allows me to control my credit cards. Rather than leaving my credit card information on someone else's server, I allow RoboForm to fill that field when needed. As a matter of practice, I don't store my credit card information on websites.
The second type of information RoboForm stores is passcards. You can think of a passcard as a pairing of an account name and password. You can have many passcards and organize them in folders. You may also have multiple instances of a passcard for the same site. For example, I have three TimeAtlas passcards based on my needs (admin, author and member). RoboForm will recognize these instances and allow me to choose the one I want.
The advantage to this system is once you've created a passcard, RoboForm monitors that URL. For example, the first time I visit the 4TeamOnline site, I'll create a passcard with my user name and password. When I return to the site, RoboForm recognizes my 4Team passcard and displays its name on the toolbar. I simply click this button to log in rather than typing my account name and password.
Another benefit of passcards is one-click log in. In the previous example, I typed the URL for the 4Team site. However, by using the Login function, I can also select the 4Team passcard. RoboForm will go to the 4Team URL and submit my account information even if my browser isn't open.
RoboForm also offers two other data types - bookmarks and safenotes. Essentially bookmarks are passcards without a user name and password. Safenotes can be any text that you want to save and protect. Although I didn't find either feature too useful on the desktop version, I appreciated this functionality in the portable version. With the portable version of RoboForm, I found myself creating a set of essential bookmarks to place on my USB flash drive. This allows me to access my favorite sites from any Windows machine. I also used safenotes to store other logon parameters for wireless hotspots.
The portable version of RoboForm is a small program designed to run from a USB flash drive. The portable version is an additional license that costs $9.99 but is well worth the cost. Like its desktop counterpart, the portable version maintains all your login information in a secure fashion. Moreover, when I remove the flash drive the cached information is removed from the computer.
As I stated earlier, I found earlier versions of RoboForm annoying. This version has added features and removed many of those annoyances. Although not perfect, RoboForm is the closest thing to having a secure assistant who dutifully logs me into my sites and fills out my forms.
- URL: http://www.roboform.com/
- Free Trial: Yes, for 30 days. After 30 days, you're only allowed 10 passcards.
- Cost: $29.99 for RoboForm Pro. Portable RoboForm is additional $9.99
- Version Reviewed: 6.0.8
Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 September 2009 02:46)