Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to remotely access an account but couldn’t remember its password? I know that I have done so all too many times, so I started looking for a secure solution to this quandary. Although there are several good options, I chose KeePass - read on to discover how you can too.

Before we begin, there are a few things you will need:

On the Desktop

The first thing that you will need to do is install Dropbox, if you haven’t already. I’ve created a folder in my Dropbox specifically for my KeePass files, but if you do this make sure you name it something inconspicuous (i.e. not “passwords”). Once that is done, we are ready to create the KeePass database.

Open KeePass and choose File > New, prompting the creation of a new database. Then, choose your password and repeat it for verification. I use a master password and a key file, but the latter is not a requisite.

KeePass for Windows

If you chose to create a key file, the next step is to encrypt it. Choose “Create,” save the file in the Dropbox folder you created in the previous step, and either move the mouse sporadically inside the “white noise” box or type random characters into the text input box.

keyfile

The next screen is for optional database settings, so just click “OK” and move on. You should now be presented with the main KeePass window - this is where all of your passwords are stored. I’m not going to go into too much detail on how to enter your information here, as the process is fairly self-explanatory. One thing that is worth noting, however, is that to add an entry, you will need to create a key, which can be found under Edit > Add Entry or by clicking the key icon in the toolbar; not by selecting File > New - that creates a new database.

keepass main

Once you have entered all your passwords into KeePass, choose File > Save As and save the database in the same location as the key file (if you chose to make one). If not, just save it in your Dropbox folder.

password entry

KeePass has a built-in password creation tool. Anytime you create a new entry, the “password” field will be populated with a random, strong password.

On the Phone

Now that everything is set up on the desktop, it is time to move to the phone. At this point, KeePassDroid, OI File manager, and Dropbox should be installed, so let’s go from there.

First things first - launch the Dropbox app and log in to your account. After that, navigate to where you saved the database and key file (if applicable) and download them to your SD card by long pressing the file and choosing “Download.” By default, this will save the file in SD Card > drop box > *folder name*, which is where you will tell KeePass to find them later.

Dropbox Download

Once the files are downloaded, open KeePassDroid. In the bottom right corner of the screen, tap the folder icon, which will open OI File Manager. Navigate to your Dropbox folder, select your database file, and tap OK.

default Keepass Droid

For some reason, OI File manger alphabetizes folders in an odd fashion - all folder names beginning with capital letters are first, and names beginning with lowercase letters follow. By default, Dropbox creates a folder named “dropbox” (note the lowercase “D”) on your SD card, so you will need to scroll down in order to locate it.

Now that the appropriate database has been selected, tap Open. Tap the checkbox “Use this as my default database,” and if you chose to create a key file earlier, tap the folder icon.

Choose the key file before you type in your password, as KeePassDroid will not remember the password once you navigate away from this screen.

Enter your password, tap “OK,” and enjoy!

keepass

Additional Details

If you edit the database file on your computer, it will save to your Dropbox folder and upload automatically. However, because of a limitation on Android (a good one, might I add), the database file will not automatically download to your SD Card. Thus, you must re-download the file from Dropbox every time you update it.

Note that the above only applies to the database file, as the key file shouldn’t change after its initial creation. Likewise, if you update the database file on your device, you will need to re-upload it to Dropbox. It will sync with your desktop automatically, so you should always have the newest version.

In order to sync the password database and key file across multiple computers, all you need to do is point KeePass to the appropriate files in Dropbox.