Windows Credential Manager is a Windows feature that, both due to its user friendliness and popularity, was brought over to Windows 10. Since its debut in Windows 7, Credential Manager has helped users store both their web and Windows credentials in one convenient location which can be managed with just a few clicks.
This article will detail how to use Credential Manager in Windows 10, including an introductory explanation of Credential Manager, security concerns associated with Credential Manager, how to add new login information, how to edit login information, how to delete login information, how to back up credentials and how to restore credentials.
A little about Credential Manager
Windows Credential Manager is a digital locker that stores your saved login credentials — passwords, usernames and addresses. It is a carry-over from previous Windows versions and allows users to better manage this very sensitive and very useful information.
These login credentials fall into one of two categories, which are explored below.
The Credential Manager’s web credentials are login information which are stored in Windows, Edge, Internet Explorer, Skype and other apps. This credential categorization first appeared in Windows 8.1 and puts the proverbial hustle in storing your web credentials — those that use the internet frequently will be surprised to find just how many web credentials they use (which will still be dwarfed by the Windows Credential count for most).
The other categorization of credentials in Credential Manager are Windows credentials login information. This category of login credentials is used by (and only by) Windows services and applications to automatically log you in.
Despite the usability and convenience of Credential Manager, it is not the most secure as many have noted.
Most of these concerns stem from the fact that an elevated process can easily access these credentials: simply put, if an attacker or hacker accesses an elevated process (as they normally do in a successful attack campaign), your credentials are as good as theirs. Any additional security measures users take, including encrypting the contents or storing values pre-hashed, remove Credential Manager from the simplicity and ease it was designed for.
For those that have not been scared away from Credential Manager by my slightly doomsday analysis of its security prospects, let’s take a look at how to accomplish some common, useful tasks with it.
How to add new login information
The most basic task you can complete with Credential Manager is to add new login information. This process is the same whether the login information is a Web or Windows credential.
First, you will need to navigate to Credential Manager on your Windows 10 system. To find it, either navigate to the Control Panel (it is in the alphabetized list of Control Panel selections) or search Credential Manager in your Windows 10 search bar. Double click on it once you find it.
Within Credential Manager, you will see a window labeled “Manage your credentials” with two icons below it for Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. Double-click on the credential you want to add to proceed — for this example, we will use Windows Credentials.
On the right-hand side of the window, you will see “Add a Windows credential.” Click on it. You will be presented with a window with text entry boxes for the internet address, username and password for the credential. Enter the information and click OK. The new login information has been saved.
How to edit login information
Editing login information is most useful when you have changed a credential (for example, when your password changes) and need to update it. Within Credential Manager, click on Windows Credentials. Within Windows Credentials, you will see a list of all Windows Credentials saved to Credential Manager.
Click on the credential you want to edit. This will expand the credential to show the address, username and password that is saved for the credential. Below this information (on the left-hand side), you will see Edit. Click on it, replace your old credential information with the new information and click OK. This will save your edit.
How to delete login information
Deleting login information is made easy with Credential Manager. To delete a credential, click on the credential you want to delete. Under the credential information next to Edit, you will see Remove. Click on remove and voila — the login information has been deleted.
How to back up credentials
A solid functionality that Credential Manager comes equipped with is the ability to back up your credentials. This only applies to Windows Credentials.
To back up your credentials, click on Windows Credentials. Under Windows Credentials, click “Back up credentials.” You will be presented with a window asking you where you want to back up your stored login credentials to. Click browse, navigate to your desired location and specify a name for the backup file, which will be saved as a .crd format file. Click Save and then Next.
Credential Manager allows you to password-protect this file (which is definitely recommended for security). Use the Ctrl+Alt+Delete shortcut to bring up this option, set your password and click Next and Finish. Your credentials are now backed up and password-protected.
How to restore credentials
Unsurprisingly, Credential Manager also lets you restore the credentials you have backed up. To restore, click on Restore Credentials. In the next window, click Browse. Locate the .crd file you want to restore and click open. Now, click next.
At this point, you will need to enter the password you set for the file. Use Ctrl+Alt+Delete and enter your password. Click Next, then Finish, and your credentials have been restored.
Credential Manager is a feature available in Windows 10 to help users better manage their web and Windows login credentials. It allows users to easily add, edit, delete, back up and restore their credentials. Credential Manager makes managing these credentials easy from a usability perspective, but it must be noted that this is at the expense of security.