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macros for Windows

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Macro protection overview

Sometimes you may want to store your personal information inside a macro (e.g. this can be your password that you would like to paste on a hot key press) but you still want to keep this information private, so that no one except you can see and use it. In order to provide this level of security Hot Keyboard allows protection of desired macros with a password.

When you protect a macro with a password, any access to the macro later (i.e. executing, editing and even viewing it) requires you to enter the password to unprotect it.

Warning! Protecting a macro causes physical encryption of its data with reliable 128-bit strength AES algorithm. Therefore no one but you (and even Imposant, the Hot Keyboard manufacturer) can unprotect the macro if he or she does not know the password. Also, there is no way to recover the macro data in case you forget the password.

Hot Keyboard does not allow protecting any type of macro, just those which can theoretically have private information. Here is the list of macro types that can be protected with a password:

  • Open a file macro (to protect possible private command line switches and parameters, the start-in folder is not protected);
  • Launch web browser macro (to protect possible private parts of the URL);
  • Paste text macro;
  • Autoreplace text macro (only the replacement text is protected, the text to replace remains plain anyway);
  • Record/play keystrokes macro (the entire keystrokes and mouse events sequence is encrypted);
  • Reminder macro (to protect possible private reminder text);
  • Menu macro (to protect all macros inside the menu, please, see below);
  • Variable macro (to protect private variable values);
  • Extended replace macro (the entire set of rules is protected).

Protecting a macro

There are two ways to protect a macro. You can check the Protect this macro with password box while editing the macro, or select a macro in the macro tree, click the right mouse button to open pop-up menu and select the Protect this macro with password menu item.



Regardless of the way you choose, you need to enter a password to protect the macro.


Executing protected macro

When you try to execute a protected macro, Hot Keyboard asks you to enter the password to unprotect it prior to the execution:


If you enter the correct password, the macro will be unprotected in computer memory and then executed. The macro itself remains protected.

Also, Hot Keyboard asks you to enter the password when you try to edit a protected macro.

Unprotecting a macro

When you think that macro does not contain any private information you may unprotect it simplifying any further access to this macro. To unprotect a macro you can clear the Protect this macro with password box while editing the macro or select a macro in the macro tree, click the right mouse button to open pop-up menu and select the Unprotect this macro menu item. In the latter case you will need to enter the password to unprotect the macro (since in the first case you enter the password prior to editing the macro).

Protecting a menu macro

Protecting a menu macro slightly differs from protecting any other macro. When you protect a menu macro, you automatically protect all macros that this menu contains. Hot Keyboard maintains the following functionality: there cannot be an unprotected macro in a protected menu. If you try to unprotect a macro located in a protected menu, you will get an error message. Also, moving an unprotected macro to a protected menu causes its automatic protection (this may require you to enter a password to protect the macro being moved). But the reverse is not ensured - when you move a protected macro out of protected menu, it remains protected.

Any access to a protected menu requires you to enter the password. This includes executing or displaying menu and even expanding it in the macro tree. So, if you place a macro that cannot be protected (e.g. the Sound volume control macro) inside a protected menu, it will be hidden from unauthorized access.

Remembering a password

After you have protected a macro, you need to enter its password anytime you access it. If this seems to you inconvenient, you can make Hot Keyboard remember the password. To do this, check the Remember the password box while typing the password when you are asked for it and press the OK button.


Hot Keyboard memorizes the password and does not ask you to enter it again until you restart Hot Keyboard or manually reset the stored password with the Settings -> Reset macro protection and unprotection passwords menu item.

Warning! Hot Keyboard distinguishes the macro protection and unprotection passwords. So, if you want to remember a password that was used to protect a macro (to protect more macros without entering it again) you should check the Reuse this password when protecting other macros box when asked to enter password to protect a macro. But if you remember macro protection password, it is also automatically used to unprotect macros as well.

You may want to enter unprotection password early at Hot Keyboard startup in order not to bother yourself typing it in the midst of your work. To do so, check the Ask for macro password at startup box in the Hot Keyboard Options dialog.

Also, some kinds of macros may not work properly if interrupted for the macro protection input dialog. So, you need to remember the password before executing such a macro to avoid appearance of this dialog. To do so, click the Settings -> Enter password to automatically unprotect macros menu item, enter the password and press the OK button.

Changing a password

To change one macro password to another click the Settings -> Change macro password menu item. This brings out the macro password change dialog:


Old password - type in the password that you would like to change here.

New password and Retype new password - type in the new password here.

Change password in lets you select where (in which macro group) you would like to change password. Available options are: Local macros, Network user macros, Network shared macros and All macros.

Multiple passwords

Hot Keyboard supports multiple passwords. This means that each macro can be protected by its own password. Warning! Using multiple passwords is discouraged unless you fully understand what you are doing since forgetting a password causes unrecoverable data loss.

By default Hot Keyboard warns you in any situation when you are faced with multiple passwords. This includes protecting a macro with password that differs from the one you used before and copying or importing a macro with different password. In such a situation, the multiple passwords warning dialog is shown:


The first group box shows name of the macro you are protecting and name of a menu where it resides. The second group box shows macro that you have and that is protected with different password.

Then you must decide if you still want to use the new password (and thus have multiple passwords) or continue to use the same password that protects your other macros.

If you decide to use multiple passwords but find this warning annoying, check the Always allow multiple password in future box and Hot Keyboard will not show this dialog again. Also, you can disable (or enable) this warning with the Don't warn me if multiple macro passwords are used check box located in the Hot Keyboard Options dialog.

Notes on protected macros

  • Protection of a macro with password causes physical encryption of the macro data with 128-bit AES algorithm. The unique encryption key is generated based on password you enter, so protecting a macro with longer password is more secure.
  • There is no way to recover macro data if you forget a password. Even Imposant, the Hot Keyboard manufacturer cannot help you in such a case, so use passwords that mean something to you in order not to forget them.
  • Avoid using multiple passwords unless you are sure you need this feature. Using multiple passwords increases chances that you forget one of them.
  • When you export a protected macro from Hot Keyboard it remains protected. So, you can safely move such a macro from one PC to another (or even give it to your friend) without fear that its data can be viewed by unauthorized persons.
  • When protected macro is transferred from Hot Keyboard server to a client and vice versa, its data remains protected excluding possibility to be sniffed by a hacker.
  • Hot Keyboard does not store any macro password in a file, inside a macro or into the Windows Registry. When you tell Hot Keyboard to remember a password, it remembers it until restart. Then you need to enter it again.
  • Any access to a protected Hot Keyboard menu macro also requires you to enter a password. Placing a macro that cannot be protected itself (e.g. the Open folder macro) into protected menu already hides the macro from unauthorized viewing.

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