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Trend Micro Password Manager review: Basic and a little buggy

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Trend Micro Password Manager review: Basic and a little buggy

If Trend Micro’s generically named “Password Manager” product sounds rudimentary, you’re onto something. “Keep it basic” seems to have been the guiding principle behind everything from its bland interface to its limited feature set. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but one would expect a product this simple to work flawlessly. Unfortunately, I encountered some functionality hiccups throughout my test drive that make it hard to recommend against many of the other password managers in our buying guide.

Note: This review is part of our best password managers roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Trend Micro Password Manager offers baseline features like password capture and autofill, password generation, and a secure protected “vault” to store your credentials in. But it lacks many features that are essential in today’s risky online environment like two-factor authentication and secure password sharing.

Trend Micro’s password manager works entirely in your browser. It installs a launcher for Windows or Mac that opens a web portal, called the Management Console. The first time you open this portal, it prompts you to create an account, install the Password Manager browser extension and create a strong master password to lock down all your credentials and other data.

trend micro password manager extension Michael Ansaldo/IDG

The Trend Micro Password Manager browser extension prompts you to save login credentials, but it didn’t work on every site.

The browser extension primarily captures your passwords, automatically logs you into websites, and generates passwords for new accounts. The web app—which you can launch from the extension by clicking a Management Console link—can do this as well, but it additionally lets you enter and save form filling information and secure notes.

Whenever you log in to a secure site, a small pop-up window asks if you want to save your login credentials, skip it for now, or never save them for that particular site. If you choose to save them, they’re added to your password vault and can be launched directly from the browser extension.

One of Password Manager’s many limitations is evident here. In some managers, including LastPass, you can substitute a memorable nickname for the captured login record and assign it to a folder right in the browser extension. The ability to do this at the point of capture makes it far more likely you’ll keep your passwords organized. To do the same thing in Password Manager, you have to go to the Management Console and edit the record there. You’re probably not going to do that each time you save a new login, so odds are greater that you’ll at some point have to go in and tame an unwieldy catalog of credentials.

Trend Micro Password Manager can also import passwords stored in your browser; it supports Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer, but not Safari. Importing passwords from another password manager, though, isn’t nearly as easy. According to Password Manager’s support documents, it can only import from LastPass and Kaspersky Password Manager Version 8. That’s a drag if you already have a big database of logins in one of Password Manager’s many other competitors, because you’re going to have to enter them all over again, one by one, either through automatic capture or by hand.

When you return to a site you’ve saved in Password Manger, it offers to fill in your login data. If you have multiple logins for a site, it will let you choose the one you want from a drop-down menu. Alternately, you can launch a site directly from a sortable list of saved entries in the browser extension.

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