As you go about your day logging into various websites in your browser or accessing protected file shares on the network, Windows stealthy works in the background and may or may not store your credentials in various locations within the operating system.
These usernames and passwords may end up in the registry, within credential files, or within the Windows Vault. The credentials are stored in encrypted format, but can easily be decrypted using your Windows password. In this article, I’m going to show several tools you can use to view these hidden passwords on your system.
Windows Credential Manager:
To get started, let’s talk about the built-in tool called Credential Manager that is in Windows. Click on Start and type in credential manager to open the program. You’ll notice there are two categories: Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. The web credentials will have any passwords from sites that you saved while browsing in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. Click on the down arrow and then click on the Show link.
You’ll have to type in your Windows password in order to decrypt the password. I was surprised to see quite a few passwords from various accounts even though I use a password manager and turn off saving passwords in the browser! Also, I had several passwords from other people who I had allowed to use my computer to check their email, etc., and their passwords got saved.
So that’s something you should know when you login to an account while using another person’s computer, even if they are someone you trust. You may not want them to know your login credentials.
In the same vein, I’ll also mention how you can view Google Chrome saved passwords. Basically, each browser has the same feature, so you can do the same thing for Firefox, Safari, etc. In Chrome, click on the three dots at the top right and then click on Settings. Scroll down and then click on Show advanced settings.
Under Passwords and forms, click on the Manage saved passwords link next to Offer to save your web passwords. Here you’ll see a list of all the passwords that you have stored in Chrome. The list may be quite long if you have the save password feature enabled. If you click on Windows Credentials, you’ll probably see fewer credentials stored here unless you work in a corporate environment.