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
- The download page is located here: http://www.cygnusproductions.com/downloads/downloads.asp
You’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.
Extract the Downloaded File
Because 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.
Once 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:
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
Once 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.
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.
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.
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).