Windows 7 introduced a feature called as the Credential Manager. This is not exactly a new feature and is similar to technology in past versions of Windows like Vista or XP, in the sense that it stores your passwords, which you can access & manage easily. However, in Windows 7 Microsoft has added the ability to back up & restore your passwords, and give it a nice user interface. This has been improved upon in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 as well.
These Credentials are saved in special folders on your computer called vaults. The default storage vault for the credential manager information is referred to as the Windows Vault.
Windows Credential Manager
You can use the Windows Credential Manager, a part of Authentication Services, to save credentials like user-names & passwords so that you can easily log onto websites or secure computers. You can access the Credential Manager through the Control Panel.
To access Credential Manager, type ‘credential manager’ in start search and hit Enter.
From the Windows Credential Manager, you can :
- Add edit or remove a Windows credential
- Add a generic credential
- Add a certificate-based credential
- Backup the Windows Vault
- Restore the Windows Vault
All are self-explanatory and easy to operate.
Credential Manager not working
If you find that your Credential Manager is not working, type services.msc in start search and hit Enter to open Services Manager. Here make sure that the Credential Manager service and its Dependencies are started and working properly. For more troubleshooting steps, see Credential Manager is not working.
Additional resources at MSDN here and here too. Click here to find out how to Add, Backup, Restore User Credentials using Windows Vault.
Web Credentials Manager in Windows 10/8
In Windows 10/8, you will also see one more type of credential, called as the Web Credentials, which help Internet Explorer to store your web passwords. Go here to learn how to manage passwords in Internet Explorer using Credential Manager and here if you find that Internet Explorer does not save credentials for a website.
VaultPasswordView lets you decrypt passwords stored in Windows Vault.