KeePass for Windows and 7Pass for Windows Phone 7

[sc:software-category ]Password management has always been a challenge and over the years the password vault has come a long way.  Currently KeePass is my vault of choice as it is open source, support for multiple platforms and is actively developed.

But I use KeePass to store more than just my computer account information, I store any important passcodes I have in it, including phone backing details, credit card pass codes and pretty much anything else that is sensitive.

However, like all vaults, sometimes you don’t have direct access to it.  This can be because you are off site at a clients, on vacation or at a friends house.  This is when a portable version of KeePass comes in handy and fortunately there is a number of ports for most major mobile OS’s.

When I had my Windows Mobile 6.5 device, I had a port of KeePass installed and used it infrequently but it provided a value service and a handy backup of my database at the same time.  Moving to Wnidows Phne 7  knew I’d be losing this but low and behold when I went to upgrade my local KeePass installation, two separate WP7 apps support KeePass files.

KeePassWP which seems to have stalled and 7Pass.

7Pass has one big limitation, its read only at the moment, but that is not a showstopper for me.

Installing 7Pass from the Marketplace was simple and the “Trial” version is actually fully functional with a simple nag notification on startup.  It otherwise uses the standard interface conventions of WP7 and provides a straight forward interface to the user.

Unlike Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 does not support any kind of user access to the file system, so getting a KeePass database on the phone is not quite as straight forward as it might otherwise be.

To get around this limitation, 7Pass support two options:

  1. Web Server Location
  2. DropBox

I don’t use DropBox (no other reason than I’ve never had a need for it) and while I believe KeePass has a secure file format, I see no reason to test that theory as I have a webserver I can use to host the database.

7Pass has little in the way of documentation (it’s a young project,  don’t blame it Winking smile) and nothing on how to configure the web server to support it.  7Pass does support user authentication on the web server and has fields for username, password and domain name.  So, I created a folder on my internet accessable webserver (II7), configured SSL as a requirement, and set authentication to basic, digest and Windows.  Dropped a copy of my KeePass database in the folder and pointed 7Pass to it.

If only it were so easy Smile.  7Pass came back with a file not found error.  Using IE on the phone worked without an issue (though it didn’t know what to do with the file).

Looking through the IIS logs it became apparent that the username/password were not being passed to the webserver from 7Pass, having been whacking at SharePoint and Windows Phone 7 a few weeks ago (which is still not working by the way) I remember a few posts I had found around what authentication modules were supported by Windows Phone 7 and most seemed to indicated Windows Auth was not one of them.

Take a stab in the dark, I left basic and digest on and turned off Windows.  7Pass promptly found the file but complained about it not being a valid KeePass file.

One step forward, one step backward Sad smile.

I found one reference on the 7Pass site about the issue, but no resolution.

Now I’ve had my KeePass database for quite a while, since early version 1, and it’s been upgraded to 2, I figured it might be something in the older version that did the conversion that might be the culprit, so in KeePass I exported the database to a new file and tried that.

Hazzah!  7Pass promptly loaded the file successfully and I was then prompted for my database password.

I don’t know if it’s a bug in 7Pass or a limitation/bug in WP7 but either way it works now.

The Good:

  • Trial version fully functional
  • Clean WP7 interface
  • Support for KeePass databases
  • DropBox support
  • Webserver support

The not so bad/not so good:

  • Cheap to get rid of the nag screen

The Bad:

  • Little documentation around webserver setup
  • No editing at the moment


Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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