Explained: Is Roboform 8 Free or Not? (Yes - with a few caveats)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Gail S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

On April 26, 2017 I received an email about the new Roboform 8 release. I have been running Roboform 7 (desktop) for a few years, and have only paid a single fee to register the program. I did not want to upgrade to Roboform 8 because I wasn't sure if it was free or not. That said, the following week I received a notification from Roboform 7 that an update was available - I chose to download it. During the setup I was warned that the update was irreversible. Afterward, I realized that I had actually installed Roboform 8! I clicked 'Help -> About' to see the the license status and it indicated I was in 'trial mode'. At this point, I decided to uninstall Roboform 8 and go back to version 7 using a backup. I was very unpleasantly surprised to find that the upgrade caused my Roboform 7 license to become invalid, and now I'm stuck using the 'free' mode. Now Roboform 7 keeps asking me to register the program. I have searched and searched online to find the answer to this question - what happens when Roboform 8 ends the trial mode? Is the upgrade to Roboform 8 free or not? "

My response:

I had pretty much the exact same experience as you - I decided to try Roboform 8 to see what it was like, only to find out that the upgrade invalidated my Roboform 7 license. This was rather unexpected and sneaky - and to be quite frank, upset me. Since my paid license for Roboform 7 was now invalid, I decided to run Roboform 8, anyway. I then emailed the company and asked if Roboform 8 is free or not (as per your question) and there are a few issues you need to know about.

Explained: Is Roboform 8 Free or Not? (Yes - with a few caveats)

The short and simple answer is that Roboform 8 is indeed free. With that said, I'll assume the majority of people reading this article will want to apply for the free upgrade - as such, I'll discuss a few hurdles I had to go through.

  1. First, backup your Roboform passcards in case you want to go back to Roboform 7 (for any reason), as the upgrade translates your existing passcards (logins) to the new Roboform 8 format, and is therefore irreversible. Once that is done, download and install the latest Roboform 8 from Roboform servers. Roboform will ask for an email address during the installation procedure. This email address will be used to identify your account and to sync your passcard data to Roboform servers.
     
  2. Assuming that you intend to keep using Roboform 8 without paying for a license - you will need to shut off the Roboform 8 sync feature - otherwise, Roboform simply won't work beyond the "trial mode". To disable the syncing: go to your tray bar and right click the Roboform icon, click "Options...", go to the "Data and Sync" menu, then remove the check mark "automatic sync".
     
  3. Roboform 8 will pester you every day that your "trial period is about to expire / has expired" and that you "need to register the program." Nothing could be further from the truth - and I have verified this with Roboform staff using their trouble ticket system. The fact is, Roboform 8 will continue to work if you ignore these daily reminders AND if you disable the sync feature.
     
  4. Upgrading Roboform 8.3.3.3 (the original executable I downloaded) to Roboform 8.3.5.5 caused my Roboform browser icon to stop working in Firefox, leading me to believe that I had no option but to pay for the license in order to continue using it (and also because my "trial" had ended). Whether or not this was a truly a Roboform bug or meant to confuse users into purchasing a license is not yet clear, but I have gone through through the 8.3.3.3 to 8.3.5.5 upgrade twice after my trial ended and had the same result. In order to fix this issue, simply reboot the machine and your Roboform browser icon will start working again.
     
  5. If you have multiple computers on a network, it is possible to share your Roboform passcards (logins) without the need to "sync" the data to the Internet (which would then require a paid subscription to Roboform). All you need to do is create a folder network share, map that folder to each machine on the network, go into the Roboform "Options..." menu -> "Data and Sync", click the "Advanced" link at the bottom, click "Select data folder" link, and specify the network location of your data. In Roboform 7, this was not so well hidden.
     
  6. Based on my experience, Roboform will nag you daily to register the program, though once you get passed a week beyond the "trial", the nags don't come quite so often. With that said, there is no indication that Roboform 8 will remain free forever - other than what I was told by their staff. Let's hope it stays that way, especially if you don't intend to use the Sync feature. Personally, I don't want my logins and passwords stored online the Internet, even if they are encrypted.
     
  7. Something very important to consider is that Roboform 7 is no longer supported. If you are currently using Roboform 7, you will likely want to upgrade to Roboform 8 soon because web browser programming often changes, which then prevents Roboform from working. Put another way: at some point in the not so distant future, Roboform 7 is going to stop working. If that happens, you will have no other choice then to upgrade to Roboform 8 in order to continue using the program, and to have access to your passcards. If you require assistance for the upgrade - I am more than happy to help using my remote desktop support service, described next.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If you need help backing up your Roboform 7 data and plan to upgrade to Roboform 8, I can help with this transition. I can also help setup a 'centralized Roboform database' so that you can use Roboform 8 on multiple computers in the home (or office) so that they all share the same Roboform data. If anyone reading this article needs help upgrading to Roboform 8: simply contact me briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Comments

dan_2160's picture

Great article, Dennis (as I write after flawlessly logging in using Robform 8 free.

I haven't had any difficulties maintaining my Roboform 8 free, upgraded from Roboform 7 free. No trial notifications; no nuttin'. But my wife's computer which had the Roboform 7 trial on it a few years ago; which I had uninstalled; and on which I have installed Roboform 8, continues to tell her the trial is over (sync is off). But Roboform 8 still runs just fine.

Regarding Roboform 8 not launching in Firefox -- I've got this problem on my computer, but not on my wife's. There's an easier solution than rebooting. I've found that if I go into my Firefox Add-ons and disable Roboform and then immediately enable it, the Roboform login window opens just fine. One can also log into Roboform from the icon in your system tray. This behavior started either with a Firefox upgrade or Roboform upgrade -- I didn't pinpoint the exact time it started. I originally thought it was just an aberration, but I am comforted that it's not just my computer encountering these difficulties.

Otherwise, I've got to report that I have tried two or three other password managers (Sticky Password being the worst) and I'm most comfortable with Roboform (I readily admit that as with most applications, it's mostly a matter of personal taste). Also, please note that Roboform now imports and exports your data with Dashlane, LastPass, KeePass, 1Password, Norton Internet Security, Xmarks, and comma delimited text files (csv).

Keep up the good work!

pdriddell_4818's picture

In view of the unexpected and sneaky behavior of Roboform, this time, have you checked out
Lastpass.

Rusty's picture

Though Roboform could ultimately turn out to be the best product for me too, I am growing increasingly frustrated by it. My experience with this sneaky Roboform 8 upgrade is just part of it. I have long had the mentioned issue of the Roboform toolbar not working in Firefox. I finally figured out on my own the same thing that dan_2160 did: that disabling and then immediately re-enabling the Roboform add-on is a workaround. I spent a great deal of time and effort trying to get Roboform's support department to come up with a solution. They led me to believe that I was pretty much the only user that had reported the issue. They persisted in suggesting that something was corrupt in my specific Firefox installation. They never once suggested this workaround. I passed it on to them and got nothing in the way of appreciation. After reading here of two other users encountering the exact same thing, I am now more convinced than ever that it is a known issue that for whatever reason Roboform doesn't want to admit. I do sync Roboform and therefore my upgrade will indeed result in my having to pay for it. As I understand it, the fee is a subscription that's billed annually. I'd actually feel much safer not having the data synced to the cloud, but I use Roboform on my phone and tablet (iOS and Android) too. I am guessing a centralized local database that Dennis could create would not be usable cross-platform. I will monitor to see if Dennis replies to this; if not, I'll probably email him directly to ask. I'll add that I have had a new issue ever since upgrading to Roboform 8 of any passcards that I modify no longer being accessible with my master password. The prompt states that the entered password cannot open the passcard. Nothing Roboform has said to me about that issue makes any sense to me. It's especially disturbing because it seems like it could well involve a security flaw. I am getting more and more serious about trying out other password managers and I would welcome recommendations. Thanks.

Dennis Faas's picture

It may be possible to do this by storing all your passcards on Google drive, then reference this path on all your devices that use Google Drive. I have not tried this, however the 'single database' I was referring to was for Windows machines on the same network and not a mix and match of different operating systems.

Phil's picture

I've been using eWallet (from iliumsoft) since the days of the PocketPC (later renamed Windows Mobile and then discontinued in favor of the completely incompatible Windows Phone). eWallet now runs on Android and iPhone, and on Windows and Mac, and has free maintenance updates every few months, once you've bought it.

It lets you save its data file to your dropbox or other cloud storage site. That way you have your synch without it being on a site with a big target painted on its back.

It has all kinds of templates for everything from website passwords to credit cards, bank accounts, health info and simple free text cards. (All of the templates also have free text fields.)

The password cards can try to log you on to a site if you include the url, but this often is tripped up by the lack of standardization in website pages.

Rusty's picture

Thanks a lot for the info, Phil. I'll definitely look into eWallet.

ghostwriter's picture

I'm currently using Roboform 7.9.28.8. When I check for a new version it responds that I am using the latest version. It makes no reference to Roboform 8. I did , however, try Roboform 8. It has one big problem. You can only have your RoboForm Data in your documents folder and it can't be moved anywhere else. I have my Roboform Data, and all other data in Drive D because I re-image my C Drive a lot. So far everything works OK.
I will only upgrade when I have to.

Rusty's picture

That may partly explain my mysterious issue with Roboform 8. I too have my documents library in my D Drive, which is an SSD. Yet, this doesn't seem to explain why modified passcards would be inaccessible on mobile platforms too. I wonder if the Roboform folder can be moved out of Documents and back to my C Drive. This could be an unmodifiable default. I get weary dealing with the smugness I get from Roboform support!

ghostwriter's picture

Make an image of your C Drive before doing anything.Try backing up your D drive to another removable drive so as not to mess up your Roboform 7 passcards. After you remove your D Drive uninstall Roboform 8 then reinstall Roboform 8. After installation look in your documents folder to see if your Roboform Data is there. Try making a new passcard. After making a new passcard try to copy one of your old passcards to your roboform data on your C drive. If that works copy the rest of your passcards. I hope this works for you.

Dennis Faas's picture

All my Roboform data is on my D drive (and always has been) - so I'm not sure what issue you're having. In any case, you an always make a symlink to the D drive from within any C drive folder. Example: "mklink /y c:\my documents\roboform d:\roboform" via an administrative command prompt would effectively refer c:\my documents\roboform to d:\roboform and therefore allow you to bypass the hurdle you're referring to.

dan_2160's picture

Rusty,

With Roboform 8 you can place your Roboform data anywhere you please. You just have to dig a bit within Roboform Options.

Just to into Roboform "Options".
Go to "Data & Sync".
Click on "Advanced." Two new choices will appear. You want the one called "Select Data Folder."
Click on "Select Data Folder"
Then navigate to where you would like to place your Roboform 8 data. I set up a specific directory on my "D" drive. If I recall correctly, Roboform moved my data to this directory all on its own.

David's picture

Since I am the only one to have access to my home pc, I have the "Don't ask for Master Password" checked, and unchecked the automatic logoff. This cleared up a lot of the issues I had with Roboform and Firefox not playing well together.

Dennis Faas's picture

That would be a major security issue if your computer ever gets infected and the hackers have remote access to the machine. They would then have access to any website login, including your PayPal (for example).

SeaSteve's picture

First, I have not read every post here, I just scanned.

Instead of pulling out my hair to "re-invent the wheel" for free...I pay the $20 a year for RoboForm Everywhere. I use it almost daily without any issues on iOS, Android, and all versions of Windows. A change in one place is automatically updated everywhere. The support from RoboForm has been excellent and, thus far, RoboForm data hasn't been hacked.

astro46_9817's picture

syncing rf folders between my windows computers is easy enough. And since the Windows phone rf app is junk and most functions, including sync, don't work, I mostly don't need an RF Everywhere account. Except perhaps for syncing to my Android tablet.

Some research has indicated the rf data in android is integrated into the app executable. I don't find a folder on the android containing the .rfo passcard files. So, will there be no way to sync between my windows computers and android tablet? Has anyone figured out a way to do this?