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Password Corral Portable – Download and Setup

Now that we’ve talked about Password Corral (and if you didn’t read that post you can find it here), let’s get down to the “nitty gritty” and actually figure out how to download and setup this tool.

Password Corral Recap

As stated in my last post, Password Corral is a password management program created and updated by Cygnus Productions. It enables you to safely and securely store all your usernames, passwords, and the websites/devices they’re used for. It also encrypts all of the passwords (and usernames as well) so that prying eyes are unable to figure out what the passwords are.

Download the Password Corral File

Download OptionsYou’ll notice that there are several options. The option we’ll be covering in this post is “Password Corral 4.0.4 (no setup)”. The reason why I’m doing this one is because there’s no install necessary and because you can put the program on a flash drive making it so that your passwords are portable (and still secure). As a teacher I have many students who will take their work to and from school. A portable password management tool would be a great option for them. Anyone who has a home and a work computer might feel similarly.

Find the Downloaded File

Once you’ve selected the “Download” you’ll need to find where it was downloaded to (Most web browsers will automatically download the file to the downloads folder). Wherever yours downloads to, you’ll need to retrieve that file mine was saved as “pcns.zip” – which I assume stands for “Password Corral No Setup”. I placed the downloaded file in my thumb-drive (Labeled Gizmo in the image below – ignore the other files in it) that I’m going to “install” the program onto (I use “install” in quotes because we won’t actually install anything). Wherever you plan on running the program from (your flash drive, your desktop, your documents folder) is where I’d suggest you place it now.

SavedFile

 Extract the Downloaded File

RightClickBecause the file is “zipped” (compressed), we need to “unzip” (extract) it to use the contents.

Windows 7 and Windows Vista come with extracting capabilities built in. To unzip the file, right click on it (hit the right mouse button while hovering the mouse over the file). Select the “Extract All…” option. A dialog box will pop up asking you where you want to extract the unzipped info. Just hit extract.

Extracted FileOnce the extracting is done you’ll find a duplicate of the file, but it will not be zipped.

Now would be a good time to rename the file to something that makes sense (like Password Corral)

Now, what do we do with that zipped folder? You could save it as a back up or to use again later. You can throw it away. It doesn’t really matter. But, if you never really plan on using it again, it won’t hurt anything to put it in your recycle bin or select it and hit that magical delete key. Just make sure you’re doing it to the zipped file, not the unzipped file.

 Run the program

Now that the file is extracted, go ahead and double click on your new folder and you’ll find the files inside of it. Mine has the following files:

Inside the Folder

You’ll notice I went ahead and pointed to the important file; the “executable” file, “password4.exe”. All you need to do to run the program is double click on that file.

Create a New User

Log-InOnce this new program is running you should see the following image

You’ll notice that yours won’t have all the options mine does right away, to get these additional options located near the bottom you’ll need to hit the “>>” button. This is an important step when wanting to run the program off of a flash drive.

The options located under “Password Data File Location” are there to save where your passwords will be saved (in an encrypted format so no one else can use it). If you select the 1st option (“Use the local My Documents folder”) then you won’t have access to your passwords if you go to a different computer. If you choose the last option (“Use an alternative password data file folder”) then you’ll always have to tell the program where to find your passwords (kind of tedious). So, what I’d recommend is selecting the middle option (“Use the password Corral Program Folder”). This will always look for your passwords in the same place and it will be wherever your Password Corral program is located.

Once the middle option is selected, hit the “New User” button.

New User

 This section is pretty self explanatory. Pick a user name and a password (This is the only one you have to memorize. This is the one that will provide access to all of your other usernames and passwords… so make it good and don’t forget it).

The encryption type is the name of the algorithm used to encode/decode the passwords. The following bit of information comes from the “readme.txt” document that was located in the same folder as the executable file:

“256-bit Blowfish or 128-bit Diamond2 encryption stands between you and those unscrupulous persons with prying eyes. Unless they know your master password, they can’t see your data.”

My recommendation: leave Blowfish selected.

The final piece of this is where the new password file will be stored which in my case will be “E:\Password Corral\” which is my thumbdrive (The “E” drive is “Gizmo” in the pcns folder, which I renamed to “Password Corral”). If you want it saved somewhere else, hit the cancel button and select one of the other options under Password Data File Location. Otherwise, if you’ve filled out the form and everything looks good, hit the “Create” button.You’ll notice a new file is created with your username followed by “.pc”. If you open this file in a text editor (notepad, wordpad, or my favorite: notepad++) you’ll notice it has a bunch of information in it, but because of the encryption you can’t read most of it. You certainly can’t access the passwords or usernames.

Now that you’ve set everything up, go ahead and log in.

Password Corral Main View

You’ve now got everything set up to start securely saving password information, and to have it in a portable format. Even though you haven’t added any passwords yet, you could remove your flash drive (make sure to do so safely by “ejecting” it digitally before physically) and plug it into a different computer and all of your password information would now be available to you on another computer.

Cliff Hanger…ish

Next post I’ll talk about Adding Passwords, changing settings, and anything else I can think of throwing in there that would help you effectively use this Password Management program (Such as adding your Google account information so that you can remember that difficult password that allows you to access Google Reader and check up on your favorite cooking blog “Our Best Bites” – which is, by the way, the greatest cooking blog out there. Seriously, check out their Brazillian Lemonade and their Pie in a Jar – I know, I know, my blog isn’t about cooking, but later we will hit signing up for RSS feeds, and the most popular blogging sites are food blogs, so I might as well give a shout out to my favorite one).

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Comments

  1. Audrey says: February 5, 2013

    Hi there!
    Great informative post. I really appreciate the screen captures and purple arrows!
    Also, I really like that you provide a little un-serious blurb at the end. It’s personal and a nice contrast to the technical nature of the rest of the post.
    Also, I am now committed to making the bacon bouquet featured on Our Best Bites. Thank you for that.

  2. Shelly says: May 23, 2014

    I am trying to login into Password Corral from a different computer. I’ve downloaded the correct version, but can’t seem to get in. Any ideas?

    • Judson Birkel says: May 23, 2014

      So, you downloaded the portable version and you can’t seem to log into it on a different computer? I don’t see why it wouldn’t work on a different computer, so I’m not totally sure there. It’s important that when you’re moving Password Corral from computer to computer (if you’ve got it on a thumb drive) that you setup your user database in the flashdrive and not on a specific computer (see the “create a new user” section of this post). The way that password corral works is the database you setup is where all of your passwords are setup, so if you’re not transferring your passwords around with the application than you won’t have access to it. If you are carrying the database with you correctly and can’t seem to correctly log into it, your program might not be pointing to the database. Check out the advanced login settings (the double arrow button on the login screen) and select the “use password corral program folder” or “use an alternate password data file folder” and navigate to where your database is located.

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