Master password

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Revision as of 06:35, 20 October 2007; view current revision
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A Master Password protects access to your stored passwords in the Password Manager. Stored passwords can include webmail and forum account information for browsers and e-mail server passwords for mail readers. By setting a Master Password, anyone using your profile will be prompted to enter the Master Password when access to your stored passwords is needed. You will also need to setup a master password if you wish to install S/MIME certificates.

A Master Password will not prevent others from reading locally stored e-mails, reading your browsing history, or from accessing sites the browser is already logged in to. A Master Password will also not protect any passwords that were stored before the Master Password was turned on.

Setting a master password

Firefox 1.5.x and Thunderbird 1.5.x can't store international characters in Master Passwords. If you use these versions and want to use Master Passwords, use only Latin (A-Z, 0-9) characters.[1]

  • Firefox 1.5: "Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Saved Passwords -> Set Master Password".
  • Firefox 2.0: "Tools -> Options -> Security -> Passwords".
  • Thunderbird 1.5: "Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Passwords -> Set Master Password".
  • Mozilla Suite: "Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy & Security -> Master Passwords -> Change Password".

Removing your master password

  • Firefox 1.5: "Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Passwords -> Remove Master Password"
  • Firefox 2.0: "Tools -> Options -> Security -> Passwords -> Uncheck "Use a master password". You will be prompted for your Master Password.
  • Thunderbird: "Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Passwords -> Remove Master Password"

If you have lost or forgotten your Master Password or you want to disable the feature, you can reset your master password. Upon resetting, you will lose all the stored information in the Password Manager as this is a built-in security feature to prevent people from simply resetting your Master Password to gaining access to your passwords.

  • Firefox: Enter "chrome://pippki/content/resetpassword.xul" in the Location Bar, press Enter, then click "Reset"
  • Thunderbird 1.5: "Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Saved Passwords -> Master Password -> Reset Password".
  • Thunderbird 2.0: Run the command "thunderbird.exe -chrome chrome://pippki/content/resetpassword.xul". That will open a dialog asking you if you want to reset your password. Or, on MacOS, substitute "thunderbird.exe" with "/Applications/".
  • For Mozilla Suite: "Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy & Security -> Master Passwords -> Reset Password".


Upon initial installation, Firefox sometimes believes it has a master password in effect and the user is unable to change it using "Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Saved Passwords -> Change Master Password" because the set master password is unknown to the user [2] [3]. This situation sometimes occurs when Mozilla Suite profile's passwords are imported into Firefox at install time. If this happens, remove your master password as explained above.