If you're on a Chromebook or if you use the whole Google ecosystem (Chrome, Chrome OS, and Android), you'll want an easy to use password manager. The free, open source tool called Padlock might do the trick.
Padlock installs on Chrome as an app and not an extension that simply loads a web page in a new tab, so you feel like you're working with a standard password manager. What's best about Padlock (beyond the fact that it uses industry-standard encryption) is its simplicity. Gone are a lot of the bells and whistles that make many password managers complicated for the average user; Padlock is a straight-forward way to secure your passwords.
- Open Chrome.
- Point the browser to the Padlock page in the Chrome store.
- Click ADD TO CHROME.
- When prompted, click Add App.
- Allow the install to complete.
Within your Apps page or in your Chrome OS menu, you'll find the Padlock launcher — click on it to begin.
The first thing you must do is set up a master password. This password will be what keeps prying eyes from all your password data, so make it strong. Type in a master password and click Get Started. In the next window (Figure A), retype your password and click Confirm.
Confirming your Padlock master password.
Once you confirm the password, you will find yourself in the Padlock main window (Figure B). You can either click the + button (or the Create Record button) to create your first record, or click the Synchronize button to set up synchronization so that Padlock data will be shared on all of your devices that make use of the app.
The Padlock main window.
Adding entries is incredibly simple:
- Click the + button.
- Give the record a name and click Add.
- In the data entry window, click Enter content under username (Figure C).
- When prompted, click Edit.
- Type the username.
- Type the password.
- When finished, click the back button to save.
Adding an entry in Padlock.
In the add user window, you can see that Padlock allows you to add new entries — this lets you add pretty much any data about the entry (URL, description, etc.). You can add the entry after you add the username/password. If you've already created an entry, you can always go back and add new details to the entry by clicking the entry from the main window and then clicking Add Field.
If you want to keep data synchronized across your devices, follow these steps.
- From the main window, click the menu button in the top left corner.
- Click Synchronize from the resultant menu.
- When prompted, click Settings.
- Click Connect To Padlock Cloud.
- Enter your email address and device name.
- Click Connect.
When you receive a confirmation email, open the email and click the provided link to verify your Padlock Cloud account. Do the same thing on all your devices, making sure to give them each a unique name.
After you add all your devices, click Padlock's menu button and then click Synchronize. All of your data will sync to your account. As you add a new entry, all entries will sync to the device. Caveat: The sync process doesn't run unless you either: a) add an entry or b) manually click Synchronize.
The bottom line
If you're looking for an easy to use password manager that can be used across Chrome OS, Chrome, and Android, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option than the free, open source Padlock.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.