Firefox/SeaMonkey/Mozilla/Netscape/Flock Browser Extension > Tips And Tricks

'Defaults' vs. Custom Accounts - When & How

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The ability to define Custom Accounts is one of many things that sets PASSWORDMAKER apart from any of the other Password utilities out there, but it can also be a source of confusion for people new to PWM. The purpose of this post is to try to help clear up some of that confusion.

The bottom line is, there are really only two good reasons to create a Custom Account:

 1) sites that require Settings that are different from the ones you specified in your 'Defaults' Settings, and/or

 2) sites that are of a sensitive nature, like, for example, banking/financial sites, Domain Registrar accounts, and Remote Control Accounts like LogMeIn or GoToMyPC, etc. There are others of course, but only you can answer the question of whether or not an account is sensitive for you.

You are encouraged to use the 'Defaults' Account/settings for all other sites that are of a non-sensitive nature.

Don't misunderstand me, though. This does not mean that you shouldn't create Custom Accounts for every single one of the sites you access - by all means, if you want to, then do so. I just wanted to make sure that you understood that it wasn't absolutely necessary to do so just to use PWM.

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See this topic for a detailed description of a simple concept for how to make your usage of PWM much more secure.
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Allow me to elaborate on some ways that Settings requirements might create a situation where you would need to create a Custom Account, and some Tips that will help to minimize such situations.

In the 'Defaults' Settings, you can specify a Username, which is not only used to log into the site - and which can also be automatically populated into the Username field on the login page - but it is also one of the items used to generate your passwords.

However, if one of your sites requires a different Username from the one you specified in the 'Defaults' Settings, then you would have to either manually change the Username on the login page every time after PWM populates it (because PASSWORDMAKER would have populated it with the one from the Defaults), or, create a Custom Account for this site with the correct username. So, with this in mind:

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For non-sensitive sites for which you want to just use the 'Defaults' settings, pick something for a username that is almost certain to not be used by anyone else - something not a word, or a word that contains special characters in place of certain letters (example: 'mikemybirthyear' instead of just 'Mike') - this will make using the 'Defaults' settings/Account much easier and more convenient.
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Another example is that some sites impose special limitations/requirements with respect to the number of and/or types of characters that are allowed to be used for Passwords which differ from what you specified in your 'Defaults' Settings. For these sites, you would have to define a Custom Account that reflects the different Settings needed to allow PASSWORDMAKER to work properly with that site. So, with that in mind:

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Use only lowercase letters and numbers for your 'Defaults' settings, with a lower number of characters - say, 10. Since you are only using the 'Defaults' settings/Account for non-sensitive sites, this will still give you reasonably secure passwords for your non-sensitive sites, while allowing you to not have to create Custom Accounts for most of them.
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Hopefully this is enough of an explanation of the 'Defaults' Account/settings vs. Custom Account/settings to allow you to make an informed decision on when - or even if - to use the 'Defaults' Account/settings, or to create a Custom Account, for any given site.


I'm new to pwm and this account stuff really puzzles me...

I admit that I probably started the wrong way, I created an account to prevent screwing up the default one  :rolleyes: ...

Like many others I have several usernames to login to different sites, sometimes it's a username, sometimes a [email protected], a username_country because username already existed etc...

What's the best way in pwm to deal with this common situation?

I may be wrong but I doubt that creating an account per unique username is going to save my bacon...

Regards and TIA.

Hi avander_be,

You don't *have* to create an account for each username, but you are actually on the right track.

One thing that is unclear to me - are you saying you have more than one username for each URL/site you are visiting? Or simply that you sometimes have to use a different username when registering for a particular site if, say, your desired username is already taken?

Creating a unique Account for each site/login (yes, you can have multiple usernames for a single URL/site - just create the accounts and put the different username for each one) allows you to make full use of the auto-populate functionality. PWM will automatically populates both the username (if specified) and password for you. Soon, you will also be able to specify arbitrary fields to be populated (and what to populate themn with), and eventually you will even have the option to auto-submit for certain sites as well, so you won't even have to click the login button.

You can do the same thing using the Defaults account, but obviously, you can only specify one username.

If you have multiple accounts for the same site/URL, PWM will prompt you for which account you want to use (since more than one matches the URL you are visiting) when it is invoked.

What I do is use the Defaults for my most used username, and create a unique Account for the others.

I also create unique Accounts for important logins - like, financial sites (bank accounts, etc), and change the Settings to something different. This is to make it more secure - because if someone wants to try to figure out my account password, they will need to know what my settings are for that account as well as the Master Password.

I also use different Master Passwords for different types of Accounts - for example, I use one Master Password for Forums (like this one), a different Master Password for Accounts that I manage for other Clients/Customers (a different Password for each Customer/Client), and a different Master Password for my important online Accounts (again, banks, etc).

Hope this was helpful, and feel free to keep asking if you need clarification.

PWM rocks!

Thank you for your answer tanstaafl!

If I have multiple accounts and right click on a password field to login, can pwm select to right account ( great) and if so how or do I have to select the account myself ( bummer)?


You're welcome :)

As for your the answer to your follow-up question...

This would depend on the answer to the question I posed in my previous response which you did not answer... so, I'll give you the two possible answers for this one...

1. If you have more than one Account defined for the URL you are visiting, then when you press Alt-~, PWM will prompt you for which Account to use, and then prompt you for your Master Password (MPW).

2. If you only have one Account defined for that particular URL, then PWM will simply prompt you for your MPW, after which it will populate your username and password fields.

The only other variations would be:

1. if you have elected to save your MPW to disk, in which case, it would *not* prompt you for your MPW, or

2. if you have elected to save your MPW in memory, *and* this is your first login for this browsing session, then you will be prompted for your MPW. All subsequent logins will *not* prompt you for your MPW, until you completely quit FireFox. Then, if you start a new Session later, you will again be prompted for your MPW the *first* time you log in to a site.


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