Technical FAQ - KeePass (2024)

Technical FAQ - KeePass (1)

Frequently Asked Questions about the usage of KeePass.

  • I've saved my options, but when I reopen KeePass Iget the old options. What's wrong?
Installation / Integration:
  • Why doesn't KeePass 2.x run on my computer?
  • Why does KeePass 2.x crash when starting it from anetwork drive/share?
  • Does KeePass 2.x use FIPS-validated algorithm implementations?
  • Why doesn't the CHM help file work?
  • Where can I find more application icons for Windows shortcuts?
  • How can I add more client icons for password entries?
  • Does KeePass support a mini mode?
  • Why doesn't KeePass lock after Auto-Type?
  • Why doesn't Auto-Type work correctly on Polish systems?
  • Why doesn't printing work in KeePass 1.x?
  • Why does KeePass try to connect to the Internet?
  • Does the GUI support dark themes?
  • How to change the GUI font (size)?
  • Is Auto-Type keylogger-safe?
  • Can Auto-Type locate child controls?
  • Could you add the ... encryption algorithm to KeePass?
  • Why doesn't KeePass lock while a sub-dialog is open?
  • Printing creates a temporary file. Will it be erased securely?
  • Why the estimated quality of a password suddenly drops?
  • How to store and work with large amounts of (formatted) text?
  • Can an e-mail address field be added?

Technical FAQ - KeePass (2)I've saved my options, but when I reopen KeePass I get the old options. What's wrong?

KeePass supports two different locations for storing configuration information:the global configuration file in the KeePass directory and a local, user-dependentone in the user's private configuration folder. Most likely you do not have writeaccess to your global configuration file.

For more details, seeTechnical FAQ - KeePass (3)Configuration.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (4)Why doesn't KeePass 2.x run on my computer?

Symptoms: When trying to run KeePass 2.x on Windows ≤ XP,an error message like the following is displayed:
"A required .DLL file, MSCOREE.DLL, was not found" or
"The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135)".

Cause: KeePass 2.x requires Microsoft .NET Framework ≥ 2.0.

Resolution: Install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher.It is available as a free download from the Microsoft website:Microsoft .NET Framework.Alternatively, you can install it throughWindows Update (the framework is an optional component).

KeePass 1.x does not require this framework.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (5)Why does KeePass 2.x crash when starting it from a network drive/share?

Symptoms: When trying to run KeePass 2.x from a network drive/share,you get an error message like the following:
"Application has generated an exception that could not behandled" or
"KeePass has encountered a problem and needs to close".

Cause: The strict default security policy by the Microsoft .NETFramework disallows running .NET applications from a network drive/share.

Recommended resolution: Copy/install KeePass 2.x onto a local harddisk, and run the copy.

Alternative, not recommended resolution:Configure the security policy to allow running .NET applications fromnetwork drives/shares. Ask your administrator to do this (administrativerights are required). If you have administrative rights and want to doit yourself, you can use theCode Access Security Policy Tool (Caspol.exe)that ships with the .NET framework (helpful instructions can be foundhere andhere).

Technical FAQ - KeePass (6)Does KeePass 2.x use FIPS-validated algorithm implementations?

KeePass uses many algorithms. This FAQ answer focuses on the algorithmsused for encrypting/decrypting a database file.Typically, KeePass primarily uses AES-256, SHA-256, HMAC-SHA-256 and SHA-512here (unless the user has specified a differentencryption algorithm or a differentkey derivation function in thedatabase settings).For these algorithms, the .NET Framework provides classes, and KeePassuses these.

Since version 4.8, the .NET Framework supports using FIPS-validatedimplementations of the algorithms above(see 'What's new in .NET Framework 4.8').

For compatibility with older .NET Framework versions, KeePass ignoresthe FIPS mode by default. If all your PCs have the .NET Framework 4.8 or higherinstalled, you can enable the usage of FIPS-validated algorithmimplementations by opening the 'KeePass.exe.config' file using a text editorand deleting the line'<enforceFIPSPolicy enabled="false" />'.

Implementations of other algorithms (such as ChaCha20 and Argon2) are notFIPS-validated. If Microsoft provides validated implementations of thosealgorithms in the future, we will consider using them.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (7)Why doesn't the CHM help file work?

Symptoms: When trying to open the KeePass CHM help file froma remote computer or shared network drive, it's not displayed correctly(navigation aborted, ...).

Solution: SeeMicrosoft Security Bulletin MS05-026.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (8)Where can I find more application icons for Windows shortcuts?

Application icons are icons in Windows ICO format. They can be used inWindows shortcuts and/or as file association icons. The KeePass executablecontains various application icons which can be used for these purposes.

Additional application icons are available from the "Ext/Icons_*"directories of the KeePass source code package.Most of them, shown at right, are slight variations of the main KeePass icon.

Even more, contributed icons (by users) can be found on theplugins page.

If you have multiple KeePass databases, you can use differently colored KeePassapplication icons in order to distinguish them.

These icons are not included in the binary distribution because this would makethe application file too large.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (9)

Technical FAQ - KeePass (10)How can I add more client icons for password entries?

Client icons are the icons used for password entries and groups within KeePass.Each entry can be assigned its own icon.

KeePass 1.x Only

These icons are built-in. You cannot add/import your own icons.

KeePass 2.x Only

You can import your own icons into KeePass databases. For this, click the 'Add...'button in the icon picker dialog.

Supported formats are BMP, EMF, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and WMF.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (11)

Technical FAQ - KeePass (12)Does KeePass support a mini mode?

KeePass 1.x Only

Yes, see KeePass 1.x Mini Mode.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (13)Why doesn't KeePass lock after Auto-Type?

KeePass 1.x Only

I have enabled the "Use alternative auto-type method (minimize window)"and"Lock workspace when minimizing the main window" options. Why doesn'tKeePass lock after auto-typing?

In this very special case, the window minimization only is a way to lose thefocus, i.e. the window below comes to the foreground. The minimization is notuser-initiated (it's only a side-effect of auto-type),nor a consequence of an external minimization command, thereforeit is not (and should not be) affected by the automatic workspace locking handler.

If you worry about having KeePass minimized and unlocked, enable the"Automatically lock workspace after the following number of seconds"option and specify a reasonable amount.

KeePass 2.x Only

This does not apply to KeePass 2.x.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (14)Why doesn't Auto-Type work correctly on Polish systems?

On Polish systems, the default auto-type hot keyCtrl+Alt+Aconflicts with a system command and is frequently used in typing.Therefore, auto-type is often executed accidentally.

The global auto-type hot key can be changed to a different key combinationin the KeePass options (seeAuto-Type for details).

Technical FAQ - KeePass (15)Why doesn't printing work in KeePass 1.x?

Symptoms: When trying to print a password list in KeePass 1.x,nothing happens after clicking OK in the 'Print Options' dialog.

Cause: KeePass 1.x uses the application associated with .htmlfiles to print the password list. If this application doesn't support the"print" shell verb (like Mozilla Firefox), nothing happens.

Resolution: Associate .html files with a differentapplication that supports the "print" shell verb (like Internet Explorer).

Alternative Resolution / Workaround:Click 'File' → 'Print Preview' in KeePass 1.x andmanually print the document in the application that just opened the file.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (16)Why does KeePass try to connect to the Internet?

KeePass has an option to automatically check for updates on each program start.In order to check for updates, KeePass downloads a small version informationfile and compares the available version with the installed version.No personal information is sent to the KeePass web server.

Automatic update checks are performed unintrusively in the background.A notification is only displayed when an update is available.Updates are not downloaded or installed automatically.

When starting KeePass for the first time, it asks whether to enableautomatic update checks (recommended). They can be enabled/disabled at anytime using the option in 'Tools' → 'Options' → tab 'Advanced'.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (17)Does the GUI support dark themes?

Yes. KeePass supports all system themes, including dark ones.

  • On Windows 11, a (dark) theme can be selected in theWindows Settings → 'Accessibility' → 'Contrast themes'.
  • On Windows 10, a (dark) theme can be selected in theWindows Settings → 'Ease of Access' → 'High contrast'.
  • On Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, a (dark) theme can be selected in theWindows Control Panel → 'Appearance and Personalization' → 'Personalization'.

Example (Windows 11, 'Dusk' theme):

Technical FAQ - KeePass (18)

Option 'Choose your (default app) mode' → 'Dark'.
Windows 11 has an option 'Choose your mode' (on Windows 10, it is called'Choose your default app mode'), which can be set to 'Dark'.Note that this option applies to UWP apps only, not to regular Windows applications.Windows allows the UWP option to contradict the system theme(e.g. a light system theme may be active even when the UWP option is set to 'Dark').KeePass is a regular Windows application, not a UWP app,thus it follows the system theme, not the UWP option.This is the expected behavior; KeePass does not have anything to dowith UWP options.

Custom appearance.
If you want to change KeePass' appearance independent of the activesystem theme, you might be interested in theKeeTheme plugin.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (19)How to change the GUI font (size)?

KeePass uses the default graphical user interface (GUI) font that hasbeen specified in the operating system settings.So, if you want to change the font (especially the size of the font)that KeePass uses, change it globally.

  • On Windows 11, the font size can be changed in the Windows Settings →'System' → 'Display' → 'Scale & layout' →option 'Scale'.Restart Windows after changing this option.
    Technical FAQ - KeePass (20)Do not use the option 'Text size' (in theWindows Settings → 'Accessibility' → 'Vision'),because this option does not scale all texts properly.
  • On Windows 10, the font size can be changed in the Windows Settings →'System' → 'Display' → 'Scale & layout' →option 'Change the size of text, apps, and other items'.Restart Windows after changing this option.
    Technical FAQ - KeePass (21)Do not use the option 'Make text bigger' (in theWindows Settings → 'Ease of Access' → 'Display'),because this option does not scale all texts properly.
  • On Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, the font size can be changed in theWindows Control Panel → 'Appearance and Personalization' → 'Display'.
  • On Linux systems with KDE 5 or higher, the font can bechanged in the system settings → 'Fonts'.
  • On Linux systems with GNOME 3 or higher, the font can bechanged using GNOME Tweaks → 'Fonts'.

In addition to supporting these system settings, KeePass allowsto customize the fonts that are used in lists and for passwords(in the options dialog; these settings affect KeePass only,no other applications).

Technical FAQ - KeePass (22)Is Auto-Type keylogger-safe?

Is the Auto-Type feature resistant to keyloggers?

KeePass 1.x Only

No.The Auto-Type feature has been designed in a way that it's impossible fortarget applications to distinguish real keys from auto-typed ones. Thison the one hand has the advantage that the feature is really compatible withall applications out there. On the other hand, the auto-typed keys can ofcourse be logged by keyloggers.If you worry about keyloggers, you have to use one of the othermethods (drag&drop, copying to clipboard, KeeForm, ...).

KeePass 2.x Only

By default: no. The Auto-Type method in KeePass 2.x works the same as the one in1.x and consequently is not keylogger-safe.

However, KeePass features an alternative method calledTwo-Channel Auto-Type Obfuscation (TCATO),which renders keyloggers useless. This is an opt-in feature (because itdoesn't work with all windows) and must be enabled for entries manually.See the TCATO documentation for details.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (23)Can Auto-Type locate child controls?

No. Auto-Type only checks whether the title of the currently active top levelwindow matches.

Browsers like Mozilla Firefox completely draw the window (all controls)themselves, without using standard Windows controls. Consequently it istechnically impossible for KeePass to check whether a URL matches (methodslike creating a screenshot and using optical character recognitionare not reliable and secure). Also, it's impossible to check which childcontrol currently has the focus. These problems can only be avoided by usingbrowser integration plugins, i.e. not using auto-type at all.

The user must make sure that the focusis placed in the correct control before starting auto-type.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (24)Could you add the ... encryption algorithm to KeePass?

KeePass 1.x Only

AES (Rijndael) and Twofish are supported.There are no plans to add more algorithms for the following reasons:

  • Compatibility: If new algorithms are implemented and used, older KeePassversions and ports will not be able to read files encrypted with the new algorithms.
  • Security: Some people are not well informed aboutencryption algorithms and may choose a weak algorithm such as TEA, if implemented.This would compromise the security of passwords managed by KeePass.
  • Size & Functionality: KeePass is a secure password manager, not aSwiss army knife of algorithms.

KeePass 2.x Only

AES (Rijndael) and ChaCha20 are supported.There exist variouspluginsthat provide support for additional encryption algorithms,including but not limited to Twofish, Serpent and GOST.

If you'd like to implement an algorithm, have a look at the ArcFourCipher sample plugin.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (25)Why doesn't KeePass lock while a sub-dialog is open?

KeePass has various options to lock its workspace automatically(after some time of inactivity, when the computer gets locked or the useris switched, when the computer gets suspended, etc.).However, the workspace is not locked automatically while a sub-dialog(like the 'Edit Entry' dialog) is open.

To understand why this behavior makes sense, it is first important to know what happenswhen the workspace gets locked. When locking, KeePass completely closes the databaseand only remembers several view parameters, like the last selected group, the top visibleentry, selected entries, etc. From a security point of view, this achieves the bestsecurity possible: breaking a locked workspace is equal to breaking the database itself.

Now back to the original question. Let's assume a sub-dialog is open andone of the events occurs that should automatically lock the workspace.What should KeePass do now?In this situation, KeePass cannot ask the user what to do,and must make an automatic decision. There are several possibilities:

  • Do not save the database and lock.
    In this case, all unsaved data of the database would be lost. This not only applies tothe data entered in the current dialog, but to all other entries and groupsthat have been modified previously.
  • Save the database and lock.
    In this case, possibly unwanted changes are saved. Often you open files, try something,having in mind that you can just close the file without saving the changes.KeePass has an option 'Automatically save database when KeePass closes or the workspaceis locked'. If this option is enabled and no sub-dialog is open, it's clear what to do:try to save the database and if successful: lock the workspace. But what to do withthe unsaved changes in the sub-dialog? Should it be saved automatically, taking away thepossibility of pressing the 'Cancel' button?
  • Save to a temporary file and lock.
    This appears to be the best alternative at first glance, but there are several problems withit, too. First of all, saving to a temporary file could fail (for example, there could be toofew free disk space, or some other program like a virus scanner could block it).Secondly, saving to a temporary file isn't uncritical from a security point of view.When having to choose a location, typically the user's temporary directory on the harddisk is chosen (because it likely has enough free space, required rights for access, etc.).KeePass databases could be leaked and accumulated there.It's not clear what should happen when the computer is being shutdown or crashes while beinglocked. When the database is opened the next time, should it use the database stored inthe temporary directory instead? What should happen if the 'real' database has been modifiedin the meanwhile (a quite realistic situation if you're carrying your database on anUSB stick)?

Obviously, none of these alternatives is satisfactory.Therefore, KeePass implements the following simple and easy to understand behavior:

KeePass doesn't lock while a sub-dialog is open.

This simple concept avoids the problems above. The user is responsible for thestate of the program.

Note that opening a sub-dialog is typically only required forediting something; it is not required for usingentries, as the main window providesvarious methods for this.

Locking when Windows locks.On Windows XP and older, the Windows service 'Terminal Services'should be enabled. If this service is disabled, locking KeePasswhen Windows locks might not work. This service isn't required on neweroperating systems.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (26)Printing creates a temporary file. Will it be erased securely?

KeePass creates a temporary HTML file when printing password lists and showingprint previews. This file is securely deleted when closing the database.

You must wait for the file being printed completely before closing KeePass(and close the print preview before closing KeePass), otherwise it could happenthat the printing application blocks KeePass from deleting the file.

There is no way around the temporary file in the current printing system.If you want to write a plugin that directly sends the data to the printer, you canfind a plugin development tutorial here:KeePass 2.x Plugin Development.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (27)Why the estimated quality of a password suddenly drops?

For estimating the quality/strength of a password, KeePass not only usesstatistical methods (like checking which character ranges are used,repeating characters and differences), it also has a built-in list ofcommon passwords and checks for patterns. When completing a common password or arepetition, the estimated quality can drop.

Details can be found on thePassword Quality Estimation help page.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (28)How to store and work with large amounts of (formatted) text?

KeePass 1.x Only

There is no direct support for storing and working with large formatted texts.

KeePass 2.x Only

KeePass has a built-in editor that allows working conveniently withlarge amounts of (formatted) texts.

To add a large text to an entry, import the file as attachment(or click 'Attach' → 'Create Empty Attachment').The built-in editor supports *.TXT (simple text) and *.RTF (formatted text) files.

In order to edit an attachment, right-click onto the entry in the main window,point on 'Attachments' and click 'YourFile.*'. Alternatively,if the text fileis the only attachment, you can open it by just double-clicking ontoit in the main window (enable showing the attachment column in 'View' →'Configure Columns' → 'Attachments'). Alternatively, it's also possible to click the name ofthe attachment in the entry details view in the main window.

For TXT files, the built-in editor supports standard operations like cut,copy, paste, undo, word wrap, etc. For RTF files, additionally standard formattingcommands are available: choosing the font, font size, bold, italic, underline,strikeout, text and background colors, align left/center/right, etc.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (30)Can an e-mail address field be added?

A few times it has been requested that a standard entry field for e-mail addressesis added (on the main tab page in the entry editing dialog).The short answer: an e-mail address field will not be addeddue to usability reasons. Now the long answer.

First of all, let's assume that most of the entries stored in KeePasscontain information for logging in to websites.When you register an account for a website, you often have to specify auser name as well as an e-mail address. When you regularlylog in later, you usually only need to provide either user name + passwordor e-mail + password (never user name + e-mail + password).Here the first part (which is either user name or e-mail) serves asidentification: you tell the website who you are.The second part (password) provides authentication: you prove to thewebsite that you're really the one who you claim to be.

There are various methods how KeePass can transfer data toother applications. All of these methods by default assume that the contentof the user name field is used for identification. For example,the default auto-type sequence ofan entry is{USERNAME}{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}, the defaultKeeFormconfiguration uses the user name, etc.Now on the one hand some websites require an e-mail address insteadof a user name. On the other hand we want the default data transfer configurationto work for most websites (such that the work that the user has to putinto the configuration is kept minimal and only needed forwebsites using special login forms).

The solution is simple: instead of interpreting the 'User Name' fieldstrictly as a field containing a user name, users should rather interpretit as a field in which the data required for identification is stored.This data can consist of a user name, an e-mail address or something else(e.g. an account number for an online banking website).By handling it like this, the default data transfer configuration will work for mostwebsites, i.e. zero amount of work needs to be put intothe configuration.If you had to provide both a user name and an e-mail address atregistration time, the other information (which isn't requiredon a regular basis) can be stored e.g. inthe notes field or a custom string field of the KeePass entry.

Now assume a separate e-mail field would be added.When users store both a user name and an e-mail address,KeePass cannot know which of the two is required for identification.So, in order to setup data transfer for the entry, users would be forcedto choose which of the two fields should be used.

So, adding an e-mail field would be a step back in usability,because it forces users to put additional time into data transfer configuration.The current system ('User Name' containing identification information,without a separate e-mail field) doesn't require this, and thus isthe better solution.

For users that are willing to manually configure the data transfer for eachentry, there are multiple ways to get a separate e-mail address field.After switching to the 'Advanced' tab in the entry editing dialog,an e-mail address field can be added as custom string.If the field should appear on the main tab page of the dialog, theKPEntryTemplates plugin can be used.

Technical FAQ - KeePass (2024)


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