Don’t you hate having to type in your user name and password every time you visit Facebook, Gmail, or another website requiring login? Or maybe you have had it set up in the past that these sites would remember your email address and have it already entered for you, and you just had to put in your password – but for some reason that got changed, and now you have to type it all out each time. What a pain! But there is a solution.
The way to fix this problem really depends on which web browser you are using, since each one has its own configuration options and settings. HOWEVER… one thing to keep in mind is that the real solution to this problem is not changing your web browser to remember your stuff. More on that at the end. I am just answering this question because I get asked it sometimes – most recently by my friend Darla (you can hear her ask the question on my podcast today).
Whatever web browser you use, it has the built-in option to remember information that you enter into online forms. This can include your user name, your email (and for many websites, your email IS your user name), your password, even in some cases your actual name and address and other information.
This is only if the website allows it. You might notice some websites that don’t have a little check box that says “remember me”. This is usually for security reasons, so a lot of banking websites are like that. They don’t want Internet Explorer storing all of the information about how to get into your checking account, even though as a home user you might not have a concern about it.
I am going to cover the steps needed for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome since those are the 3 most popular web browsers.
Internet Explorer (version 10):
Click on Tools – Internet Options and under the “General” tab, UNcheck the box that says “Delete browsing history on exit”. Then click Apply.
Next, click on the “Content” tab. Find the “Autocomplete” section and click the Settings button. Here, you can choose what you want the browser to remember. You can see there is a specific option for remembering user names and passwords on forms. Check the appropriate boxes and click OK, then OK again to close the Internet Options box.
Firefox (version 19)
By default, Firefox will offer to remember your passwords. However, at some point you may have turned off that feature either for a particular website or just in general. The actual steps may be different, but the underlying process to fix this is very similar to what we did for Internet Explorer.
Click Tools – Options and then click on the Privacy tab. Look at the “Firefox will:” setting and use the drop-down menu to choose “Use custom settings for history”. Then in the new section that appears, make sure “Remember search and form history” is checked.
Before closing that window, look at the check box next to “Clear history when Firefox closes”. If it is unchecked, you’re fine. If it is checked, click on Settings and make sure in the new window that “Saved Passwords” is NOT checked. In other words, you will have Firefox clear your web browsing history but it will still keep your saved passwords.
Now for part 2 – click on the Security tab (in the Options window that is still open). Check “Remember passwords for sites”. If it is already checked, click on “Exceptions” and make sure none of the sites listed there are ones that you want to have it remember. Click OK to close out all windows.
Chrome (version 25)
Click on the Chrome icon in the top right corner (the 3 short horizontal lines) and in the new menu, click on Settings. Scroll down and click on “Show Advanced settings” and scroll down to the “Passwords and forms” section. Check the box that says “Offer to save passwords I enter on the web.”
Now click on “Manage saved passwords” and in the new window look in the “Never saved” list. If you want Chrome to remember the password for any of the sites listed there, mouse over the address and then click on the X at the right end of the line.
Now – having given you all those instructions for each of those web browsers, I will say once again that it is not ideal to have your web browser remember the login information for you.
The real solution is LastPass – a free program that remembers all of your website login information for you. Since it is web based, you can get your passwords from any computer with an internet connection. And LastPass will even generate STRONG passwords for you – so you don’t have to keep using the same weak password on all of your accounts. My general rule is this: if you can remember or pronounce your password, it’s too weak. If it’s difficult for you to remember, it’s difficult for the hackers to guess it. And LastPass will remember it for you anyway.
I wrote a full review of LastPass not long ago – you can read it here for more details.