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Copyright (c) 2003-2007 Rony Shapiro <ronys@users.sourceforge.net>.
All rights reserved. Use of the code is allowed under the Artistic
License terms, as specified in the LICENSE file distributed with this
code, or available from
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/artistic-license.php
Managing configuration options in PasswordSafe
----------------------------------------------
1. Introduction:
PasswordSafe has many options that may be configured by users to
values that differ from the default values. This note describes how
user configuration options are stored and managed as of version 3.05
of PasswordSafe.
2. Requirements:
2.1 Scope: Some options are relevant to a particular database (such as
the default password length), while others are common across
databases, and specific to a given user on a given machine (such
as the use of the system tray icon). The preference mechanism
should support both in a user-transparent manner.
2.2 Footprint: Traditionally, the Windows Registry has been used to
store preferences. This is not always desireable, however, as some
users may not have rights to access, or wish to leave traces in
the host machine's registry. Such a user typically runs
PasswordSafe off a disk-on-key, and all configuration information
should be available from there.
2.3 Migration: The solution should detect preferences stored by
previous versions and transparently import them.
2.4 Transparency: All the above should be supported without getting in
the user's way, that is, without distracting the user from using
PasswordSafe to store and retrieve her passwords.
3. Solution:
3.1 Database-specific preferences: All non-default preference values
are stored in the database as described in the formatv3.txt
document.
3.2 User/Host application preferences: All non-default preference
values are stored in an XML file, pwsafe.cfg, currently assumed to
be in the same directory as the pwsafe.exe executable. The file
has a section per host, and each host has a per-user section,
allowing the same file to be shared across hosts and between
different users. Alternately, application-specific preferences may
be stored in the registry, as described in the following section.
3.3 Footprint: By default, PasswordSafe will try to use pwsafe.cfg in
the same directory where the executable is located. If the file
does not exist, or if the user doesn't have read-write access to
it, PasswordSafe will use the registry, under
"HKCU\Software\Password Safe\Password Safe" If the user has only
read access to the file or registry, then changes to application
preferences will not be saved. Note that this includes the list of
recently opened databases, as well as the size and position of the
application's window. If, in addition, the user has no read access
to either, then the default values will be used.
In such cases (where PasswordSafe was unable to save application
prefernces in a file OR in the registry), user will be notified at
application exit time of the problem, and prompted to save the
pwsafe.cfg file elsewhere (Save As...).
3.4 Migration: Previous version of PasswordSafe wrote
database-specific preference values both to the database and to
the registry, and application-specific preferences only to the
registry. The location in the registry, however, was under
"HKCU\Software\Counterpane Systems\Password Safe". Therefore,
PasswordSafe should check for this location upon invokation, and
import the preferences found there, UNLESS an "imported" key is
found, which will be written upon the end of the import process,
to ensure this is a one-time process. If the "imported" key
cannot be written, then (and only then) shall the user be notified
of a problem, with the suggestion that the administrator remove
the Counterpane Systems tree.