A free password manager is an excellent way to avoid forgetting the password to your email account, Windows login, an Excel document, or whatever other file, system, or service you use passwords to access.
There are three basic kinds of password managers - desktop password manager software, online password manager services, and password manager apps for smartphones like iPhone and Android phones.
Each kind of password manager has its own set of pros and cons so your first step in choosing an individual free password manager software program or service is figuring out which type fits your need best:
Note: Some makers of free password managers offer a combination of desktop, online, and smartphone apps which synchronize information. Check the free password manager maker's website for details if you're interested in this kind of feature.
1. Free Windows Password Manager Software
Windows password manager software programs are Windows compatible, downloadable applications that you use to store login information, like usernames and passwords, to the various password protected areas in your life.
A free password manager software program is great because you retain complete control of the program on your personal computer.
A disadvantage of that very feature is that your saved passwords aren't available elsewhere. If you use your password protected services away from your PC, or if you want to use a password manager to save your Windows password, an online password manager or password manager app for your phone might be a better idea.
Note: Most of my readers are Windows users but many free desktop password managers are also available for other operating systems like Linux and Mac OS.
2. Free Online Password Managers
An online password manager is just that - a web-based / online service that you use to store your passwords and other login information. No software installation required
Constant availability is the obvious advantage of an online password manager. With an online password manager, you can access your passwords anywhere you happen to be that also has an Internet connection.
Security is probably the biggest question with an online password manager. Letting someone else store the passwords to the important areas of your life isn't something to take lightly. A Windows based password manager or a password manager smartphone app might be a better fit if this is a big concern for you.
3. Free Password Manager Apps for Smartphones
Password manager apps are smartphone apps specifically designed to store passwords and other login data right on your phone.
Having all your passwords and other login information available in your pocket at all times is a big plus.
Your set of stored passwords is protected by a master password, like with all password managers, but what if your phone is lost or stolen? How confident can you be that your passwords will be safe? Definitely something to think about when you choose a password manager smartphone app.
Some free iPhone password managers include Quick Password Manager, Strip Lite, and Password Manager Secret Server. There are also free Android password managers including KeePass, Secrets for Android, and more.
Password manager apps exist for other smartphone platforms as well.