Chrome OS: What about KeePass? [E]

Introduction

KeePass is a free open source tool that allows you to generate and manage passwords without an internet connection.

KeePass Professional on Windows 10 | Image: cyldx.com
KeePass Professional on Windows 10 | Image: cyldx.com

Already using it on Windows or macOS and wondering if you can use it on Chrome OS?

Yes, that’s no problem! 😉

I show you in this post how to install and use it. You can also synchronize your password database with your cloud storage, such as Google Drive. 🙂

Important Notes

Notes for beginners: My posts usually contain some basics that you can understand how to proceed. I partly repeat the basics in other posts, so you don’t have to jump back and forth all the time.

Here is the meaning of the abbreviations after the headings: [E] Everyone [A] Advanced [B] Beginner [P] Professional

If you still miss something, feel free to comment. The community will try to help you! 🙂

Notes for professionals: My posts usually have the form of a knowledge base entry and should be equally suitable for beginners, advanced users, and professionals. Just pick out what you need immediately. You can also find content specifically targeted to professionals. These are marked accordingly with [P] and other finger points.

Do you want to have more professional content on a topic? Add it to the comments 😉

Disclaimer of liability: As always on this blog, I warn you that all changes to your system mentioned in this post are at your own risk! It is theoretically possible that there are system or application errors that could lead to data loss and further problems!

The confusion with the versions of KeePass [A]

There are several versions, variants, and forks of KeePass.

I have had good experience with the fork KeePassXC, which I have been using on Windows for many years. It is also available for macOS and Linux.

I have had similar good experiences with KeePassDroid on my Android smartphones. Alternatives on iOS are, for example, Strongbox (Freemium) and KeePassium.

You see, you can use KeePass on all your devices and platforms, but what about Chrome OS?

I will now show you three alternatives and how to synchronize your passwords with your cloud storage automatically.

Using KeePassDroid as an Android app on Chrome OS [B]

The easiest way to use KeePass on Chrome OS is to install an Android-App like KeePassDroid from the Play Store.

Once this is done, you can find the KeePassDroid icon in the Chrome OS Launcher and launch it from there:

Looking for KeePassDroid in Chrome OS' Launcher and starting it from there | Image: cyldx.com
Looking for KeePassDroid in Chrome OS’ Launcher and starting it from there | Image: cyldx.com

That is what the launched app looks like:

KeePassDroid completely started as an Android app on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
KeePassDroid completely started as an Android app on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

Note: Sometimes, after Chrome OS updates, there are problems with this app. For example, I have had issues with the app crashing immediately after starting it or not being able to write to the database. However, these issues were resolved fairly quickly with further updates of the app.

After this note, I want to introduce you to what, I think, is the best and most stable version of KeePass on Chrome OS. It is also straightforward to install and set up on Chrome OS.

Update 01/26/2022:

Sync a KeePass Android app on Chrome OS with Google Drive

As I have always pointed out, this is still an issue at the beginning of 2022. Someone in my German community has come forward to say that all KeePass apps from the Play Store are not allowed to write to the database if it is on the Chrome OS file system.

First, a Linux share is not necessary for an Android app from the Play Store, which does not solve the problem.

I tested the current state. Neither KeepassDroid nor, for example, Keepass2Android allowed me to save changes to a database that resides in the Chrome OS file system. Neither app asks for the right to access the SD card that the Chrome OS file system is recognized as.

If you prefer not to use the Linux app KeepassXC as described by me later in the article, I have two ideas on how to conveniently and easily sync a KeePass Android app with your Google Drive:

  1. Install the Google Drive Android app from the Play Store on your Chromebook
    1. Click on the three dots to the right of the file icon and mark your kdbx Keepass database as “available offline.”
    2. Click on the three dots to the right of the file icon and select “Open with”
    3. then choose your KeePass app
    4. You log in to your database
    5. Then you should be able to save changes, and the Google Drive app will sync the database automatically
    6. Next time you can directly open the KeePass app and see the last opened database, which you can also set as default
  2. The Keepass2Android app can access Google Drive directly.
    1. So, you have to trust the app.
    2. For that, you need to be connected to the internet.

By the way, this is how I would sync the database of a KeePass Android app with Google Drive on an Android smartphone or Android tablet.

End of Update

Using KeePassXC as a Linux application on Chrome OS [A]

The software sources of Debian Buster, the distribution of the Linux of Chrome OS, already include KeePassXC.

I’ve described how to enable the Linux of Chrome OS in this post on my blog and here how to install and use a graphical app store: link.

That makes it easy to find KeePassXC:

Searching KeePassXC in a graphical app store for the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
Searching KeePassXC in a graphical app store for the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

Once you have opened the search result, you can now install the application with one click:

Installing KeePassXC via a graphical app store for the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
Installing KeePassXC via a graphical app store for the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

Professionals can also do so via the terminal:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install -y keepassxc

If you now restart your Chrome OS device and then start the Terminal or another Linux application, the KeePassXC icon should appear in the launcher in the Linux-Apps folder or by searching:

Looking for KeePassXC in Chrome OS' Launcher and starting it from there | Image: cyldx.com
Looking for KeePassXC in Chrome OS’ Launcher and starting it from there | Image: cyldx.com

In terms of appearance and operation, the application hardly differs from the Windows and macOS versions:

KeePassXC completely started as a Linux application on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
KeePassXC completely started as a Linux application on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

In the next section, I show you where you can store your password database best and automatically synchronize it with your cloud storage.

Synchronizing your passwords automatically with Google Drive [A]

Overview

There are several ways to synchronize your files to a cloud storage on Chrome OS. For example, by using onboard tools like the Files app or Android apps like Autosync for Google Drive | OneDrive | Dropbox, FolderSync Pro etc. and Linux applications like insync or Seafile.

Here I’d like to limit myself to the Files app of Chrome OS and two Autosync variants, which I already introduced in the blog. You can transfer the procedure described here to other solutions. I will post something about these in due course.

With the files app [A]

You can synchronize the folders of your Google Drive with the Files app by right-clicking and marking them as “Available offline:”

Marking Google Drive files as “Available Offline” for automatic sync with Chrome OS' Files app | Image: cyldx.com
Marking Google Drive files as “Available Offline” for automatic sync with Chrome OS’ Files app | Image: cyldx.com

The contents will then automatically be synchronized in both directions.

With KeePassDroid, you can then find the synchronized folders here:

Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassDroid on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassDroid on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

Update 01/26/2022: However, currently, KeePassDroid is not allowed to write to this database. I have added instructions above in the section about how it works, and the instructions here only work for KeePassXC at the moment.

If you place your password database there and open it from there, your changes will be synchronized as desired.

For KeePassXC you first have to share it with your Google Drive for the Linux of Chrome OS:

Sharing the Google Drive files with the Linux Mode of Chrome OS using Chrome OS' Files app | Image: cyldx.com
Sharing the Google Drive files with the Linux Mode of Chrome OS using Chrome OS’ Files app | Image: cyldx.com

Then you can access your files with the Linux application as follows:

Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassXC in the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassXC in the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

If you store your password database and open it from there, your changes are automatically synchronized as desired.

That is the easiest method, and it costs you nothing! 😉

With Autosync for Google Drive for another Google account [A]

I do have a private and an “official” (G Suite) Google account.

My KeePass database lies in the Google Drive of my private account.

Although the Files app allows you to access shared folders, you can’t fully access them. You can’t mark them as “Available offline” for automatic synchronization without restrictions. That is because this is read-only access.

In other words: That doesn’t help us!

So what do you do if you have logged on to your Chrome OS device with a Google account that doesn’t have direct access to the password database?

You can use Autosync for Google Drive to log in to another account and synchronize files as described in this post: link.

Since the “Open File dialog” of KeePassDroid displays the same content as the Files app, you can access the files automatically synced with Autosync, including your database:

Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassDroid on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassDroid on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

For KeePassXC, you also need to share the folder with the Linux of Chrome OS in the same way as described in the previous section. Once this is done, you can use the application to access your files as follows:

Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassXC in the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
Opening a KeePass password database with KeePassXC in the Linux Mode of Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

With Autosync for OneDrive [A]

Autosync for OneDrive is a variant of Autosync that allows you to synchronize your OneDrive files on Chrome OS.

In this post, I have explained how: link.

You can access your KeePass database in the same way as with the Google Drive variant I described in the last section.

How to use KeePassXC on Chrome OS without installing it? [A]

That is possible with the help of providers who make applications available online on a platform. A good example is the provider rollApp.

rollApp currently offers you a selection of 340+ applications (as of June 2020), which you can use immediately in your browser with the usual range of functions without installation. One of them is KeePassXC:

KeePassXC  in the cloud via rollApp.com on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com
KeePassXC in the cloud via rollApp.com on Chrome OS | Image: cyldx.com

You can save your KeePass database, e.g., in Google Drive, if you link it to your profile in the rollApp settings.

Cloud access to an unrestricted Windows 10 or macOS instance is also possible on Chrome OS if that is not enough for you. How this works with Windows, I have described in this post: Link and with macOS in this post: Link.

These services can sometimes be quite expensive. However, this is to get over, if you are a professional and don’t want to do without your favorite tools, which are not yet available on Chrome OS without restrictions. With KeePass, however, I don’t see these limitations.

Conclusion

You can use KeePass in a variety of ways on Chrome OS and automatically synchronize your passwords with your other devices via cloud storage!

So, that’s one less reason not to switch to a Chrome OS device! :D

Have fun with it! 🙂

Updates

01/26/2022: A community member on my German site has described the problem that the Android apps from the PlayStore are not allowed to write to the database from the Chrome OS file system. Thus, the member cannot sync changes to the KeePass database to Google Drive through Chrome OS either. I can confirm this. I’ve added the new section “Syncing a KeePass Android app on Chrome OS with Google Drive,” where you can find instructions on how to do it comfortably and easily anyway.


Words in italics may be registered trademarks or companies! Examples: Google, YouTube, and Android. Or they are technical terms from the IT world, which are described in various locations in the blog.

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Marcel aka Ravolos

Hey! 😀 I started this blog in 2018. Fitting the blog, I want to describe myself as a true “Google Sheep,” incredibly addicted to travel and open-minded. I've been traveling the world as a digital nomad since October 2021, creating digital content on Chrome OS, travel, and mobile work.

Marcel aka Ravolos has 47 posts and counting. See all posts by Marcel aka Ravolos

2 thoughts on “Chrome OS: What about KeePass? [E]

  • January 1, 2022 at 7:01 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for the article. Very helpful!

    Managed to get it installed.
    However, as the browser is running in ChromeOS and keepassXC in Linux on Chrome, I guess that’s the reason why browser integration is not working?
    “Key exchange not successful”

    After installing Chromium on Linux on Chrome, I can use the browser integration there. However, google sync seems to not be able to work and I prefer the Brave browser. For which I use keepassXC on both Windows and Mac. Would be great to have it on ChromeOS as well.

    Reply
    • January 4, 2022 at 5:23 am
      Permalink

      Thank you!

      If Chromium works for you, you may try Google Chrome for Linux. It has sync integrated.

      Yes, the Chrome of Chrome OS is in a different mode than KeePassXC in the Linux mode of Chrome OS. No access is possible.

      I can’t help you with the Brave browser. It either works or not. The Brave or KeePass Support need to help. This is not a pure Linux blog.

      With KeePass, I always used the clipboard way, but I switched to 1Password and used just a few Linux apps.

      Best Regards
      Marcel aka Ravolos

      Reply

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