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Backup or Restore Saved Network User Credentials in Windows Vista

Whenever you enter user credentials into Internet Explorer, map a drive to a remote server, or connect to a Windows domain, you are given the opportunity to save your password. What you may not realize is that you can backup or restore the list of those credentials using a mostly hidden control panel utility.

To open up this utility, type control userpasswords2 into the Start menu search box and hit enter.

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On the resulting User Accounts screen, click on the Advanced tab and then click the Manage Passwords button.

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You’ll see the list of your stored network credentials here. For instance I’ve got saved credentials for all the remote desktop sessions that I use. (I don’t have any web credentials in here because I use Firefox) You can click on the Add/Edit buttons if you feel like editing the items in the list.

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To backup the list of user logon credentials, just click the Back up button, and a wizard will pop up.

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Click the Browse button and choose a name for the file. Make sure it’s something memorable. After you click the Next button you’ll be taken to a somewhat strange screen.

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That’s right, you have to hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete to actually backup the credentials, and you’ll be asked for a password to secure the file. Make sure it’s something memorable or else you won’t be able to restore the credentials later.

If you want to Restore the credentials from your backup, just click the Restore button, choose the backup file and then you’ll be prompted to Ctrl+Alt+Delete again.

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You’ll be asked for the same password you created earlier, and the credentials will be restored.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/27/07

Comments (5)

  1. Albert Bedway

    I lost all my passwords that I had saved in mail saved on my PC. Is there any way of retrieving it?

  2. Albert Bedway

    I am using AOL

  3. Stephane Papp

    you can user either “control keymgr.dll” directly from windows+r instead of “control userpasswords2″

  4. DaCeige

    You can also simply,
    Control Panel -> User Accounts -> Manage your network passwords (on the Task bar on the left)

    But, it took your instructions for me to find it. (curiousity asked what was ‘control userpasswords’)

  5. ted

    thanks for the info on passwords worked a treat!!

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