If you have a password manager, you know that forgetting your master password will lock you out forever.
This is why it’s okay to write down your master password.
Then a new question comes up, how do you keep from losing your master password? Here is a list of ways to store your master password so you don’t lose it.
Master Password Tip!
Before we get into how to hide your master password, check out how to make a good master password here.
No point in hiding your master password if it’s bad.
1. Put It In A Safe
Write down your master password and put it in a safe (Ad) you keep in your home.
The bigger the safe, the better.
A portable safe is not the best, but sometimes it’s your only option, and it’s better than nothing.
You want a big safe as it’s harder to steal and will be easy to find in case of a natural disaster. For bonus points, put the paper in a fireproof document bag (Ad) and keep that in the safe.
2. Tape It To Something Large
Write your master password down and tape it to something large.
- Washing machine
- Back of a wall clock
- The underside of your computer table
- Under your TV
- Inside your entertainment center
- Inside your vacuum cleaner
- Inside your toolbox
- Under your bedframe
- Inside your dresser
If you live by yourself or trust the people living with you, this is a super-effective way to keep from losing your master password.
The bigger the object, the harder it is to lose. When was the last time you lost your washing machine? Probably never, so why not tape your master password to the side of it?
Taping your master password to something large has been a huge hit for anyone suffering from ADHD. “It’s really hard to lose a wall“
If you’re worried, you can put the master password in a security envelope (Ad) and tape the flaps with packing tape so that the only way in is to destroy the envelope.
3. Store It In Another Password Manager
If you have a spouse or someone else you trust 100%, store a copy of each other’s master password in their password manager.
You don’t even need to make it obvious; give the item a different name. Call it Home Depot if you want.
You may find yourself doing this for family and friends. We all have that one family member who will never remember their master password, so why not keep a copy in your password manager for them?
Many password managers even offer emergency access with a time delay. This is great, but I would not make this the only thing you have.
4. Hide It In A Book
It can be a cookbook all the way to that one book you’ll never finish.
It could even be a password book (Ad)!
5. Burn It To A CD
If you have a CD or DVD collection, you can burn your master password to a disk and hide it with your collection.
Name the CD or DVD something that is not obvious, like “’80s rock mix”.
Or don’t burn it at all, write the master password directly on the disk. Seeing “1987 Dark Veal Rust Best Of” on a disk doesn’t stand out but makes for a great master password. This is one of those situational master passwords we talked about at the top.
6. Keep A Copy In A Safe Deposit Box
Most banks will have safe deposit boxes that allow you to store valuables.
This is great for storing a copy of your master password.
It’s not perfect as you can only get the paper when the bank is open. But it is away from your home in case of fire or other natural disasters.
7. Hide It In Your Car
Your car is large and much harder to lose. It also has locks and often an alarm on most modern vehicles.
You probably know your car the best and know of little hiding spots.
When you store your password, avoid writing down what it’s for or the email address.
8. Under Your Keyboard
This one is frowned upon, and for a good reason.
Keeping your passwords of any kind near your computer, especially at work, is a big no-no.
But if it’s you living by yourself or with people you trust, then keeping your master password written down under your keyboard is not that awful of an idea.
I rather someone do this than get locked out of their vault forever because they forgot their master password. The threat model is anyone who can get access to the underneath of your keyboard, and for most people, that threat is minimal.
The goal of a password manager is to keep people from reusing/bad passwords. To achieve this goal we let the user store their master password under their keyboard, then so be it. I rather have someone using all random passwords for every account and keep the master password under their keyboard than someone to reuse the same password for everything.
9. False Bottom Drawer
You can create a false bottom inside anything that has a drawer like a dresser or a nightstand.
This video does a great job of showing you how to do this.
10. Password Book
A password manager is not an all-or-nothing thing.
If you want to keep specific passwords out of it and use a password book for the rest, you can. Just make sure all passwords are unique and never reused.
It’s okay to keep a password book around and also use a password manager. The book can be more for important passwords like your master password.
The password manager is for everything else as it makes it easy to log in and manage than a book full of passwords. Trust me, once you start using a password manager, you’ll find 100’s of passwords you never thought you had. Managing 100’s of passwords in a book is not as easy as a password manager app.
If you need to get a password book you can find them here (Ad).
11. Even More Ideas!
The internet is full of ideas of hiding things that will also work for storing your master password.
Here are just a few videos showing you places where you can hide your master password.