Linux/Windows Password Manager “pass”

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

I have been using pass for about over a month now, and I think it’s a great terminal password manager. It uses gpg to encrypt your passwords into physical files in an organized folder system. And yes, the images below are all on WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) on Windows. It is a simple process to use Linux on Windows; Type in powershell in your start menu, run as admin, and run this command: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

After it restarts your pc, just go to the Microsoft Store and install Ubuntu (or a listed distro of your choice). It is a pretty painless process to gain access to Linux on Windows.

If you don’t have a gpg key gpg --list-keys , then you need to generate one. If your gpg version is over 2.1.17+: run gpg --full-generate-key , else run gpg --gen-key (check your man gpg incase it is not this flag). Remember your passphrase for this key, as you will need it to decrypt the passwords you store. Skip to Step 2 if you already have gpg.

Step 1, GPG: See if you have any gpg keys. If not, check the version of gpg you have and refer to the above on which command to run:

Next, follow the prompts. I personally use and recommend RSA 2048, if you’re into future proofing, then go with 4096:

Be sure to remember your passphrase:

This is what you use to unlock your passwords. The idea here is that you don’t need to remember long complicated passwords, instead you use a simple passphrase to unlock and use it.

Step 2, Installing pass: Check out passwordstore to see how to download and install it for your system. I use personally use Manjaro and Ubuntu, so it is sudo apt-get install pass and sudo pacman -S pass for me.

Pass init: Now you want to hook up that gpg key to your password-store, so run gpg --list-keys , copy pub key (long capital letters and numbers string under pub in the image above), and then run pass init "YOUR_PUB_KEY" .

Once you have your gpg key linked, now you can create your passwords. Create a single password: To add a key, run pass insert FOLDER/CONTENT and then type in your password.

Create multiline passwords: Sometimes you might want to store more than 1 password. Maybe you want to store a user and pass, or a user, pass and API key. Pass is able to do that with pass -m insert Folder/content:

Access your password: You can run pass -c FOLDER/CONTENT and type in your passphrase. The -c flag copies your password to your clipboard for 45 seconds, then erases it from your clipboard.

You will need to pipe clip.exe on WSL instead of using the -c flag in order to copy your password to your clipboard on Windows.

Remove a password: You can use the rm method to remove a pass file, just enter which Folder/application you want to remove:

The folder system should be easy to visualize, but you can see below to try to imagine it better:

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Software Engineer living in Tokyo | Linux | Cats | https://github.com/kai-dg | https://haruspace.dev | https://ko-fi.com/harukai