Encrypted Archives and Passwords

The Archive Password Manager

BetterZip can collect all the passwords you enter and save them in a secure password manager vault. Whenever you open an encrypted archive, BetterZip can try these passwords and use the correct one automatically. Alternatively, BetterZip can display all the passwords in a list in the password panel, so you can easily choose the one to use. For security reasons, this feature can be disabled completely or the vault can be automatically locked.

To activate the password manager and modify the list of passwords, go to the tab Passwords in the preferences window. First, you need to set a master password that guards the password manager’s settings and passwords. To do this click the button Set Master Password (7) and enter your desired password twice. From now on you can click the lock (6) to gain access to the password manager configuration.

  1. 1 Choose what the password manager should do:
    • Disable the password cache completely
    • Don’t try passwords automatically, but use in password panel: The password manager offers a list of all your passwords in password panels, so you can choose from them instead of entering manually. Of course, the password manager must first be unlocked with your master password.
    • Automatically try passwords, except for RAR archives: Every time you open a protected archive, BetterZip will try your passwords to automatically unlock the archive. Only when the archive cannot be unlocked with any of your passwords, you will be asked to enter it manually. RAR is excluded in this option, because with this format it may be necessary to extract the whole archive before it can be determined whether the password is correct or not. You don’t want to try 20 passwords on a 10 GB archive. For zip and 7-zip archives password correctness can be determined immediately.
    • Always try passwords, including RAR archives (see above why this may not be a good choice).
  2. 2 Check this option to automatically add all correctly entered passwords to the password manager.
  3. 3 The list of your passwords.
  4. 4 Click the + button or press ⌘N to add a new password. Click the — button or press ⌫ to remove the currently selected password. The gear button has a menu with additional actions: Remove all passwords clears the password cache. Edit passwords as text opens a text editor sheet with all your passwords, one per line. In this editor you can modify your passwords conveniently, paste from an external list, or copy to store them externally, e.g., as a secure note in another password manager. Finally, the menu has a command to reset the password manager in case you forgot your master password. If you use this command, the vault will be deleted, all password manager settings including the master password will be reset, and and all passwords will be lost.
  5. 5 Configure when BetterZip should automatically lock the vault for you. If you don’t need any security for the passwords, you can leave all checkboxes unticked and your passwords will always be visible.
  6. 6 Click the lock to unlock the password manager and make changes to its configuration. The lock status is application wide: When unlocked the password manager will try your passwords when opening archives and offer them in the password panel lists. This lock button has the same effect as choosing BetterZip > Unlock Password Manager from the menu or unlocking it in a password panel.
  7. 7 Set or modify your master password. BetterZip uses it to encrypt the password manager vault. While the password manager is unlocked, the master password will be securely stored in the macOS keychain. When locked, it will be removed from there and you will only be able to access the vault by entering the correct password. Don’t forget it!
  8. 8 BetterZip can suggest strong passwords whenever you need to enter a new password. These suggestions will be displayed in a pop-up menu next to the password textfield. BetterZip tries to suggest memorable passwords with random words from the dictionary, but you can also switch it to be of the same format that Safari uses. To accept the suggestion, click the password in the pop-up menu and it will be copied to the password textfield. Choose Generate New Passwords and new passwords will be generated.