Back up your passwords

Okay, so you probably use a password manager or something like that, because – face it – you’re probably not daft enough to use the same password for everything, right? Right? Right!

Your ‘password manager’ might be a simple paper notebook, something like KeePass (recommended, by the way), a sheet of paper, or a simple text-file that you keep somewhere on your hard-drive. Whatever it is, just think a moment. If there was a fire or a flood or a robbery or whatever at home, would you still have your passwords?

Many passwords are recoverable, by email. That is, if you can get back into your email without your password. The whole security question thing can be an absolute bugger, in all honesty. Three times out of three, I’ve been presented with a security question for one thing or another that I honestly couldn’t figure out what I’d put as the answer.

So, take the time to make a copy of your passwords. Figure out how to keep them safe if your home should burn down, or disintegrate, or disappear into a parallel dimension, or if you just have to flee the location for some reason.

Because as soon as you’re near a computer again, you’ll want to communicate with colleagues, family and friends (if only to tell them that you’re okay). And besides, you’ll hate yourself if you’ve lost them.

  • Keep a copy at work (or at home. Both, even!).
  • If your bundle of passwords is encrypted (see below), make a copy on a USB stick, or in your PDA, or the memory card in your mobile phone. If they’re properly encrypted it shouldn’t be too much of a bother if you loose them. More places means your passwords are less likely to be lost, so long as they’re locked up so nobody can get into them but you.
  • Use something like KeePass to keep all your passwords stored in an encrypted file locked up under a single pass-phrase. Back it up occasionally to one of your extra places.
  • Don’t just confine yourself to keeping passwords. Write down all those product keys for Windows, games and other software! Lost software is easier to replace than lost license keys! You can also keep a list of key phone-numbers, or any other small bits of info that you really, really don’t want to lose.

Seriously, the day you lose your passwords is the day you’ll wish you’d taken more precautions. With just a little preparation, you can have all those license keys and passwords safe, and ready-to-use when you need them most.

Take some time today to back your passwords up so that you’ve got a spare copy. Don’t just put it off until you forget about it.

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