Be careful in creating passwords


October 23, 2003|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I registered with my credit card company so I could view my transactions online, but I typed in the wrong password and checked the "remember my password" box. Now when I try to get to the credit card information, it is grayed out, and the Web site rejects me.

The help desk tells me they accept only passwords that are typed in physically while a customer is logging on, and I can't do that because the password entry box is grayed out. The help-desk people cannot tell me how to cancel this "automatic Windows" feature; however, they say once I find it somewhere in my PC, it can be canceled. So what am I looking for, and where do I find it?

I can only wonder why the financial institution, which you don't name, didn't have somebody tell you that there is a command to clear all of these stored passwords for admission to Web sites built into the Microsoft Internet Explorer software you are using to access that account.

It's part of a dual command set that also shuts off the auto-completion feature, where past Web sites and search terms and other data used repeatedly get learned and then typed automatically when you start entering letters.

But the main focus for you is the Clear Passwords feature listed alongside.

To get these tools, click on the Tools item in the Internet Explorer display and then pick Content and AutoComplete. Click Advanced, and you'll find the Clear Passwords button that will eliminate the bad data and let you enter fresh information.

You don't need me to tell you this after all of that frustration, but be sure you type in the password correctly and keep away from that "remember password" click box as though it were a box full of scorpions.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing Newspaper. Contact Jim Coates via e-mail at

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