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Are you keeping your passwords on sticky notes (real or digital)? Maybe in a text edit document as I once did? If so there is this lesser known application called Keychain found in your Utilities folder. Some of you might say “oh yeah it’s that thing Safari asks me about every time I do a system software update”. Yes that would be it, but how many of you have opened up keychain? Did you know you could use it to retrieve some passwords you have forgotten? Up until recently I had forgotten about my Keychain as well. Every time I would forget that darn password for my tech forum of choice I would do a password reset. That just complicated remembering my passwords even further. Go into your Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities and open up Keychain. If you click on “login” in the left column it will give you a list of entries where your Keychain has been used to remember information. You will see websites, servers and other items you have connected to that required passwords. If you double click on one of the entries it will pop up a window with all sorts of useful info in it. The thing you are probably most interested in is the “Show Password” check box. Once you click that you will be asked for your admin password. This is the password you use to login to your computer (for those of you that auto login, it’s the password you use when you’re installing software and are prompted for your admin password). Once you enter the password you have the option to Allow Once or Always, I always choose Allow Once, you never know when your computer could be stolen (yes it happened to me).

Another thing you can do with Keychain is make a new Keychain (drop down “File” menu and select “New Keychain”). I named mine “notes”. You will have to use a password that is not the same as your “login” keychain (that’s the admin password I was just talking about). Once you have your new notes keychain then you can add a “New Secure Note” (drop down “File” menu and select “New Secure Note Item”). Think of this as a sticky note guarded by Godzilla (King Kong works too but I like the thought of flaming breath protecting my passwords). I have secure notes for each of my clients I visit, I store information like user names and passwords to their servers. I have a secure note for my personal stuff like passwords that I have to change every 90 days or even my credit card number with experation date and secure code so when I’m shopping online late at night in bed I don’t have to sneak out and get my wallet if I need to purchase something. Shhhhhh, don’t tell the husband ;-)

I had posted this on another blog a year or so ago but thought it was good information to share here. Like my posts? Subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.