Using KeePass Portable

KeePass stores your passwords in an encrypted database. This database consists of only one file, so it can be easily transferred from one computer to another, and is available as a Portable App.

I have since moved on to the online password safe LastPass, and no longer maintain these notes. I retain them here in the hope they will be useful to someone.

Version 1.x of KeePass runs on Windows and is available as a Portable App. Version 2.x is not available as a Portable App, but runs on both Windows and Linux (requires Mono).

These notes will help you do the following:

  • Install and use KeePass as a Portable App (for example, running on a USB stick)
  • Share KeePass’s database with KeePassX on your desktop computer running Linux

Install KeePass Portable as you would any Portable App.

Open Tools – Options and set your preferences as desired. I set:

  • Security: Lock workspace when minimizing the main window
  • Security: Lock workspace when locking Windows, switching user, or sleeping
  • Interface: Minimize to tray instead of task bar
  • Advanced – Integration: Copy URLs to clipboard instead of launching them (TODO: Make Opera portable the default browser for KeePass, then disable this setting)
  • Advanced – Start and exit: Remember last opened file
  • Advanced – Start and exit: Automatically open last used database on startup
  • Advanced – Start and exit: Automatically save when closing/locking the database
  • Advanced – Backup: Disable “Save backups of modified items into the backup group”
  • Advanced – Backup: Delete all backup entries before saving the database
  • Advanced – Advanced: Disable save button if the database hasn’t been modified
  • Advanced – Advanced: Disable “Use local date/time format instead of ISO notation”

The KeePass window is divided into two panes: on the left are your password groups, and on the right are the entries in the selected group. By right clicking on any column header in the right pane you can customize the columns that appear. To save space, I usually hide all columns except Title, Username, and URL.

TODO: Document how to make Opera Portable the default browser. See Launch URLs in Firefox Portable, Globally changing the URL behavior, and the files KeePassPortable.ini and Readme.txt in the \PortableApps\KeePassPortable\Other\Source in your KeePass Portable installation. The file KeePass.ini is found in\PortableApps\KeePassPortable\App\DefaultData. When KeePass is running, a copy is in \PortableApps\KeePassPortable\App\keepass; it disappears when the application is closed. The file KeePassPortable.ini is found in \PortableApps\KeePassPortable\Other\Source.

TODO: Document how to store the database on the cloud and configure both KeePass and KeePassX to use it. Mention the security risk of doing so.

Alternatives to KeePass Portable
KeePass 2 isn’t portable, but has more features and runs on Linux (requires Mono) as well as Windows.
KeePassX is a cross-platform password safe that began as a Linux port of KeePass. It can read and write the databases of KeePass Portable, but not those of KeePass 2.
More open source alternatives to KeePass on Linux.


About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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2 Responses to Using KeePass Portable

  1. Pingback: Using LastPass | A maze of twisty little passages

  2. Pingback: The KeePass Family | A maze of twisty little passages

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