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How to check all your Windows passwords for security

Passwords may not be the best way to keep our data secure, but for most of us, they're the best we've got. Password Security Scanner is an easy way to check the strength of passwords stored in a Windows computer.

We know we need high-quality passwords to keep our data (and credit cards) safe, but many of us stick with old, weak passwords out of inertia.

Password Security Scanner is a great, free wake-up call for Windows users that checks programs like Internet Explorer, Outlook, and many others for stored passwords, and scans them for relative strength without revealing them. It's great for checking computers when you're volunteering as IT help (like with parents). Here's how to use it: 

  1. Download and install Password Security Scanner. 
  2. It will run automatically when your installation is complete. The resulting window has a lot of information, but Password Strength is what you're most interested in, and it's almost all the way over on the right. You really want it to be greater than 25, and more than 45 is terrific. 
    Step 2: Scan passwords.
    Step 2: Scan passwords.
  3. If some of your numbers are low, this is a good time to fix them. You should have everything you need: the program, account, and username are all provided, so you should be able to track it down quickly and make the changes you need. For help choosing a strong password, check here. 

That's it. If you haven't checked or changed your passwords in a while, now is a great time to take care of it. Like backing up files, maintaining strong passwords is vitally important, but easy to blow off. 

Note: Password Security Scanner does not yet support Chrome. Nirsoft, the developers of PSS, have a separate utility that lets you export Chrome passwords and then import them into Firefox, which should help veteran Chrome users considerably. 

Thanks to Lifehacker for the tip!