What Can’t I Do Without?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008, 12:58 AM – Tips and Hints

I’m putting together a presentation for a group of PC users – they want an overview of how Macs work. I love it!

I was discussing it with a friend in our Mac users group, CapMac, (www.capmac.org), getting his advice on what technical stuff I should mention in passing since that isn’t exactly my forte. That is a polite way of saying I don’t know squat about it.

We got through that topic and then we were talking about all the things that are built into the Mac operating system and how we come to depend on them. He asked me what was the one I valued the most,

I really didn’t have to give it much thought. The answer that popped into my head was Keychain. I use it every day for one thing or another and I would not like to have to give it up.

That was reinforced for me a few months ago when I accidently threw all my Keychain files away. Fortunately, I was able to use Time Machine to retrieve them. You can read the whole sordid tale if you are interested, in the column I wrote about it. Time Machine is much to detailed to cover in this blog. You can find it . here

What is Keychain

Keychain is a built-in utility that can store all of your passwords for applications, servers, and Web sites; or even sensitive information unrelated to your computer, such as credit card numbers, or personal identification numbers (PINs) for bank accounts. It is password protected.

Some information is automatically added to the Keychain by your system and at other times you will get messages asking your permission to add something to your Keychain. This is in addition to anything you choose to add yourself.

To access your Keychain:

Choose Applications > Utilities > Keychain
Open Keychain Access and click Show Keychains.
Select the Keychain that you want to see.
Select an item in the list to see more information about it.
Click “Show password” to see the password for the item, or click “Show note” to see the contents of a stored note.
When asked, enter the keychain password to see the password or note contents.
To add your own listing click on the + sign at the bottom left corner of the window and a new window will open, allowing you to create a new entry.
It is your option on any entry in your Keychain file to require a password to view the registration code, password, etc.

So, all I can say is that Keychain happens to be my thing. Probably has to do with the fact that I prefer the security of having all that information safely stored in the same place and know that it is getting backed up every night to an external hard drive as well. I also back it up to a CD once a month.


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