Old School Password Creation and Storage

if you're not using a password manager

Create Secure Passwords the Old School Way


We at Rent A Nerd Consulting highly recommend using a password manager such as KeePass or LastPass for password generation and storage.

We also realize that not everyone can or will do this, so for those who don't use a password manager, we'll help you create and store passwords in the best way possible using the original password manager: a pocket notebook.

Step One: A Good Notebook

Start off on the right foot. A good notebook should be small enough to carry with you in a pocket and easily hide in a drawer or under a piece of furniture, and durable enough to handle frequent use.

Do not mark what the notebook is for or label it in any way. Choose a color or specific style, and stick with it. Maybe even buy an identical spare, just in case it wears out over time.

Keep the color and style unique from any others you may have, so you can easily pick it out from the pile if you keep it in a junk drawer.

Step Two: Make Two Keys

Determine the order you'll write your entries in, and the information you'll need, eg:


Website or company name. Netflix, NewEgg, etc

Username or login

Shift alternation pattern. Eg: 2nd shift would mean every second key is entered in combination with the shift key, so that if the second key is an 'a', it's an 'A'

The shape or pattern you'll create on the keyboard

The starting key on the keyboard

The number of keys in each section of the pattern, and their direction

The total number of characters in the password, designated by a specific letter, such as 'T'. Do not use a letter that would be used in the beginning of directions, such as 'L' (Left), 'R' (Right), 'U' (Up), or 'D' (Down)


In this example, the key would read:



Shift count




Total count


Write two copies of this key on small pieces of paper or note-cards, with no label or indication of what it's for, and put one in a separate location from the notebook. Store the other in something you'll keep with you, such as a wallet or purse, for when you travel and take your notebook with you.

This should keep everything sufficiently cryptic and seemingly unrelated, so any casual thief, nosy relative, or house guest who gains access to one or both would need a degree in Cryptography to figure it all out.

Step Three: Create Your First Password

Grab one of the keys you made earlier, and get started. Lets do an example using the example key format given earlier, an email address of foo@bar.com, and Netflix, since that's what first came to mind.

Some sites use your e-mail address as a login, others your username. To keep things simple, but still as secure as possible, use your email address without the @bar.com for your username, with a few extra characters, noting this in the login entry. Eg, the login entry for foo456 would be: email - site + 456

For this example, we'll assume that you're setting up a new account, and that you'll be using a username instead of an email account as the login. If you're updating a password for an existing account, use whatever your current login is in your entry.


Example Entry:


email - site + 456

3rd shift








Translated Example Entry:

Service: Netflix

Login: foo456

Every third key, press shift + the key

Type a Z pattern on the keyboard

Start with the 3 key

4 to the right

3 down

3 to the right

The password is 10 characters long


The password would be 34%6tFcvBn

Step Four: Repeat as Needed

The above method will certainly take a little getting used to, but it should help you create strong passwords, and keep your records of them secure.

Remember, strong passwords are a user's primary safeguard in most cases, and can help keep your personal information safe.

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