Internet Explorer - AutoComplete Passwords

  • From: "Registry Answers" <regtips@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Registry Answers" <regtips@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 13:00:55 -0500

Registry Answers
March 15, 2004 - Issue 5

This was composed using simple html with Arial point 10 font and is best viewed 
in html
If anyone has any problems reading this, please let me know.

Todays question deals with AutoComplete passwords in Internet Explorer only 
(not other
AutoComplete passwords - such as
those in Outlook or Outlook Express which are controlled differently)  Note 
that most
sites use cookies to remember you.
Autocomplete, on the other hand does not depend on any cookies. AutoComplete is 
REGISTRY controlled..

Internet Explorer  -  Web Login AutoComplete Passwords

Question:: I'm using Internet Explorer and usually when I login in to a new 
site, I get a
popup box asking  if I want Windows to remember
my password..  I usually answer Yes, but on one site I mistakenly clicked No, 
and now I
don't get asked anymore. Is there any way to
make Windows ask me again? Is there some place these passwords are stored?

Answer: To be clear, the dialog box we are talking about here is the one that 

"Do you want Windows to remember this password so that you won't have to type 
it again
next time you visit this page?"

Also on the box is a checkbox : "Don't offer to remember anymore passwords" 
(which is to
disable the appearance of the dialogue box completely)

If you answer NO to having your password remembered at a certain site,  you 
will have to
enter it each time you login to that site, and you will not be prompted to save 
it again.

So what to do if you click NO and change your mind later

In most cases you can get the box back easily -  without having to enter the 
registry - by
simply removing the particular user name from the login
form.  Just double-click inside the form field where you normally enter your 
user name.
This will bring up a dropdown list showing all your saved
AutoComplete user names. Point (not click) to the one you want to remove, so 
that it is
highlighted, and then hit the Delete key.
Once gone, login in again.  You should now get the prompt back asking you if 
you want
Windows to remember your password.

Registry Settings

If that doesn't work, then it's time to explore the registry and delete the 

First, you should realize that all of this involves the registry whether you 
know it or
For example, if you check the box  "Don't offer to remember anymore passwords" 
and then
change your mind, all you have to do to get it back
is open Internet Explorer and click:

Tools>Internet Options>Content>AutoComplete

There you will see the option:  "Prompt Me to Save Passwords" and simply 
checking it will
bring the prompt back at most web logins No sign of registry
involvement there at all,  but in fact, what you are really doing when you make 
choice is editing this string value in the registry:

"FormSuggest PW Ask"

When you check the box, you are setting it to YES:

"FormSuggest PW Ask"="yes"

If you uncheck the box, you are setting the value to NO

"FormSuggest PW Ask"="no"

and you will never be prompted to save your password ever.

The main key that holds this value is here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

Just look in the right hand pane for the value "FormSuggest PW Ask" which will 
be set to
either yes or no. If you prefer you can manually
change the value right there rather than via Internet Explorer by just double 
clicking the
value and changing it to yes or no yourself.
This value can even be deleted. It will get recreated next time a choice is 
made in IE or
at the prompt.


So what happens when you click Yes to have your password remembered?
Again, a registry change occurs.

The password is stored at the SPW key (which stands for Saved PassWords).
The location is here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms\SPW

In the right hand pane of the SPW key you will see all your saved AutoComplete 
However, you won't recognize them because they are encrypted, looking something 
like this:


Secret - encrypted passwords and autocomplete info can be easily decrypted by 
special password revealing utilities like Advanced Password
Recovery for IE, IE Password Revealer, and others.

If the non registry method doesn't work to get a lost prompt back, you can try 
deleting the password associated with the particular login giving
you the problem, but chances are you have more than just a few passwords stored 
there so
you can't really tell which one is which. In that
case, the most obvious and easiest way would be to to delete all the encrypted 
but if you have a lot of them and dread the thought
of having to enter your passwords again at each site where you previously used 
to login to
automatically, then the best way is to back them up first,
then delete them like this:

1. Select the SPW key, click File>Export and then save it as a reg file (ie 
spw.reg) to
your desktop or wherever you find convenient.
2. Once exported, right click the SPW key in the registry and choose Delete.
3. Login to the site that was your problem and enter your user name/password.
This time the dialog box will come up and you can choose Yes to remembering 
your password.
4. Double click the reg export you made to merge it back into the registry.


But it was "NO"-  do NOT remember my password, that I mistakenly checked!

Secret - it makes no difference whether you chose YES or NO. Your password is 
saved at the
SPW key regardless of your choice.
Saving your password is not the same as remembering it to Windows. When you 
click NO, the
password has to exist so that Windows
will know what action to take with it (offer to remember it or not)  To 
remember or not
remember is controlled by more complex binary
values hidden deep under the Protected Storage..  key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider
where all your AutoComplete info is held and though it is possible to hack 
these values,
it is not something you can just turn on or off with
a simple yes or no.

If anyone is interested to know more about this, you can send an email to the 
address below and the request will be considered.


For other Windows tips, you may also want to subscribe to my Wintips&Tricks 
More info here:

If you are new to registry editing and find all this confusing, then I suggest 
for Newbies
which is the best newbie ebook for learning the registry from ground up in 
plain english

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