All the computer users have one thing in common – remembering lots of credentials.
There are several websites that you access daily, like, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. Besides that, you have your Microsoft Account or Live ID. Also, you may be accessing several network drives in order to access music, work documents, etc.
All of them require a username accompanied by a password for authentication. If you use a common password for everything, your first priority in life should be changing the passwords! A common password is simply not secure in today’s world.
On the other hand, if you have different passwords for all websites and network devices, then remembering credentials for each of them becomes a real pain for a computer user. Windows provides an easy, but secure solution to that – the Credential Manager remembers all the credentials for you. Simply add the credentials to the Credential Manager. It will provide them wherever required.
How to Launch It
- Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
- Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
- Select “User Accounts and Family Safety” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
- Select “Credential Manager”. This will launch the applet on the same control panel page.
Types of Credentials
The Credential Manager applet distinguishes two types of credentials based on the domain of their usage.
- Web Credentials
- Windows Credentials
This section of the applet stores the credentials saved by Internet Explorer. Ideally, any browser would be able to stores it’s saved credentials in the Credential Manager, provided that they use this functionality.
The Manager stored the following details.
- Website address – The website which uses these credentials for authentication.
- Username of the credentials.
- Roaming Status – If yes, then these credentials will be accessible from your roaming account, i.e., you can use the credentials from any PC that you log in through the current user account.
- The application that saved the credential – This helps when the application wants to access the credentials. The Credential Manager will provide only those credentials that the application has saved.
- Password – It can be seen only through a successful authentication.
To add a web credential, you simply have to save them while browsing through Internet Explorer. IE will automatically add them to the Credential Manager.
This section of the applet stores the following types of credentials.
- Windows Credentials are used by Windows and its services to access resources like a network drive, a server, etc.
- Certificate-based Credentials are used to gain access with smart cards. You authenticate your smart card with Windows, which stores the smart card details. Next time when you insert the card, you get automatic access.
- Generic Credentials are used commonly by several applications. For example, Metro apps use your Microsoft Account ID. This ID is stored as a generic credential so that trusted apps can use it.
Add a Windows Credential
To add a Windows credential, click on any one of the “Add a XYZ credential” links of the above mentioned 3 subsections.
Of course, you have to enter the correct username and password. Clicking “OK” will save the credentials.
Besides that, you can edit or delete the existing credentials. Click on “Edit” or “Remove” link located with the respective credential, in order to accomplish the desired operation.
Backup and Restore Windows Credentials
You can also backup your credentials so that they can be restored anytime later. Click on “Back up Credentials”. This launches a wizard that will guide you through the backup process.
Select the file location that you want to save the backup, and click “Next”.
Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del will lead you to a secure desktop, where only this wizard runs. It prompts you to enter password for file protection. This completes your backup process.
In case of an emergency like PC format, you can restore the backed up credentials through a similar process.