Passwords by Mask 2.08
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Review & Alternatives
"Generate random passwords by mask."
Nowadays most people end up having to choose passwords for numerous different websites, email addresses and so on. Although many tend to use the same password for everything, the truth is that this isn't the most secure option and neither is using passwords that consist of words.
Passwords by Mask is a simple password generator that can help create custom randomized passwords based on criteria that users can set themselves.
Installing the software should take just a matter of seconds and is extremely straightforward. It is compatible with pretty much all versions of Windows from 95 onwards, including Windows 98, XP, Vista and 7.
The interface of Passwords by Mask is not pretty. It looks fairly dated and consists of numerous buttons that may appear daunting to first time users. Once you realize that each button simply allows you to customize what sort of letter, number, or symbol belongs in that 'key' of the password however, it starts to make a little bit more sense.
Bottom line, although the interface could use a little bit of sprucing up - it suffices for its purposes.
The advantages of this password generator is that it is very lightweight and resource friendly, and does its job well.
Users are able to select whether each 'key' should be a capital letter, small letter, number, or special symbol. Alternatively they can even select a specific symbol, letter or number if they like.
Password lengths can be varied as well up to a maximum of 20 characters.
In the trial version, up to 2 passwords can be generated simultaneously. Granted this is a bit of a hassle if you intend on generating multiple passwords with the same settings, but for most users it shouldn't be a big deal.
Needless to say, the aforementioned interface is the biggest drawback of this software.
Appearances aside however, the one other area that will undoubtedly confuse anyone who is inexperienced with random number generators is the 'seed' option.
Unfortunately, no effort is made to explain what seeds are and how setting a custom seed works. This may not be necessary to use the password generator, but it will raise several question marks and cause users to wonder what they should do with it.
Among the other password generators (see our reviews) that are widely used, over time people tend to favor alternatives such as Simple Password where only a single master password needs to be remembered and multiple unique passwords can be generated based on it.
That being said, there are security issues attached to that approach and so the level of customization in Passwords by Mask is still preferred by some.
It may not be have the classiest looks but beneath its craggy exterior Passwords by Mask is actually very reliable, useful and highly configurable. With a little bit more polish and slight improvements to make it more user-friendly, it could actually be a very good software indeed.
As things stand, it still is worth looking into - just be warned that you might find it a bit of an eyesore.
What's new in this version: minor update
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