How to Find Cached Passwords
By Colin Cronin
Updated September 28, 2017
In Internet browsing, a cache is a temporary data storage space. The password cache refers to temporarily saved copies of your password. By storing data internally, you can retrieve that data more quickly in a future request. Browsers store password information so that you do not need to type in your password every time you visit a site. By default, most systems will save your passwords during a session. While some browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome offer a built-in way to find and view your cached passwords, Internet Explorer requires additional applications.
Firefox and Chrome
Open the "Preferences" menu in either Firefox or Chrome. In Firefox, open up "File" or "Firefox" (Mac) to find "Preferences." In Chrome click the "Tools" menu (represented by the wrench symbol on the top-right), and select "Preferences."
Select the "Security" tab in Firefox or "Personal Stuff" in Chrome. These tabs are found in the "Preferences" menu.
Select "Saved Passwords" in Firefox or "Show Saved Passwords" in Chrome. This will bring up a list of all the logins saved on the browser. You may need to click on an option within that list that says "show passwords" if they are not already available for viewing. On Chrome for Macs, some versions of the browser require you to select an individual's login information first before revealing the password for that specific login.
Download Protected Storage Password Viewer or Internet Explorer Password Viewer (see References). These are free applications which will allow you to view Internet Explorer's password cache. They download as .zip files.
Run the .zip file for the application you downloaded. Right-click the .zip file, and select "Extract All."
Run the program to view your saved passwords in Internet Explorer. Protected Storage Password Viewer can also find saved passwords in Microsoft Outlook and MSN Explorer.
Although saved passwords can make browsing faster and more convenient, your cache is vulnerable to hacking and password theft. Clear out your cache often for non-sensitive accounts, and always keep sensitive logins (such as email, bank accounts, government accounts, etc.) clear of saved passwords.
Colin Cronin began writing professionally in 2008. In addition to his personal blog Tabris' Corner, Cronin has written for a number of publications and sites, including e-International Relations, The Bygone Bureau and Saint Anselm College's journal "Global Topics." Cronin has a Bachelor of Arts in political science and music performance from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.