Review: 7 password managers for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android
1Password and KeePass lead the field in features, flexibility, browser integration, and ease of useFollow @syegulalp
RoboForm has been around since 1999, growing from a general Web-form-filling program to a full-blown password and credential manager. It stores not just log-ins, but also browser bookmarks, user identities, personal contacts, and sundry notes and comments. It's broadly useful outside of just browser log-ins.
RoboForm comes with plug-ins for close integration with most common Web browsers -- Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and IE -- which you have the option to install when you first set up the program. You can always change which plug-ins you use, should you happen to switch browsers later.
Once set up, browsers that use RoboForm integration sport a toolbar. Passwords and other form information you submit to a website are automatically captured by RoboForm and saved into the program's database. You can also add arbitrary fields to each record, such as another password field or a comments line. RoboForm integrates with regular Windows applications, not just Web browsers, but if you're leery of doing that, you can always resort to copy and paste to get data out of RoboForm.
To use the captured form information -- for instance, to log into a given site -- you either click the appropriate button on the toolbar or use a keystroke combination to perform an autofill action. I wasn't crazy about the look of the toolbar, and the in-browser hotkeys for RoboForm work even without it. Thus, I hid it without disabling it and was none the worse for the action.
One of RoboForm's major selling points is the ability to rapidly fill out forms that require a name, address, phone number, and so on. Once you've entered this information into RoboForm via an "identity" entry, it can be automatically filled into any Web form that asks for it. The program's heuristics for figuring out what information to put into which fields is very good; I rarely had to make changes by hand. Another nice feature is a way to automatically log into multiple websites at once -- for instance, as a first-thing-in-the-morning routine.
If you've been using another program to store passwords, RoboForm can probably tap into it. RoboForm imports data from LastPass, KeePass, 1Password, SplashID, Firefox's own password store, and a number of other formats. I ran into a little issue importing data from KeePass, however. KeePass saves previous versions of changed entries, and RoboForm tried to import the old versions of those entries along with the new -- but considered them to be dupes. Fortunately, the importer let me change the names of each duplicated entry to work around this problem.
RoboForm sports a number of professional-grade features I wasn't expecting to see. It works with Windows Biometrics and UPEK-compliant fingerprint readers (like the one in my Toshiba notebook), and it has a dual-password mode to allow employees and supervisors to share credentials without sharing usernames and passwords, although the latter is available only if you use AES, Blowfish, or RC6 encryption on the password database, as opposed to DES or 3DES. You can switch encryption modes easily.
RoboForm comes in a few different editions. RoboForm2Go runs from a flash drive or other portable device. RoboForm Lite for Chrome or Firefox works solely as a browser extension, offering no integration with other Windows apps. The for-pay and professional versions of the program add features like the ability to autofill multiline fields or allow secure credential deployment throughout an organization. There's also the RoboForm Everywhere service, which allows syncing between all installations of RoboForm for $9.95 a year. RoboForm used to have an unlimited lifetime-upgrade policy, but sadly this was phased out after version 7 was introduced.
The biggest reason to choose RoboForm over one of the other password managers listed here, aside from the smart form-filling technology for names and addresses, is if you find yourself submitting a lot of form information into Windows applications other than Web browsers.
Cost: Free version; RoboForm Everywhere, $9.95; RoboForm Desktop for Windows or Mac, $29.95; RoboForm2Go, $39.95. Platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, PalmOS, Symbian.
The RoboForm toolbar (here, for Chrome) lets you perform form fills and other RoboForm actions with one click.