Questions from someone brand new

Started trying Bitwarden yesterday to see if it’s a viable alternative to the other password managers I’m trying - Dashlane and Lastpass.
They both have deficiencies - Dashlane won’t log into local applications, for example. Lastpass has some oddities too…

Despite reading a ton of review and looking for “best of”, I hadn’t tried Bitwarden, but it was suggested, so I figured I’d add a third entrant. So far, I’ve hit a couple things I’m curious about.

Why, when I’ve opened and logged into the DESKTOP BW, do I have to login AGAIN for the web browser version? And AGAIN for the browser extension one? If I’ve logged in shouldn’t I be logged in EVERYWHERE?

I invited a user on another computer and BW complained about not being able to own more than one or manage more than one organization. Finally found a note somewhere that said I HAD to invite them as a USER… Is that adequate for doing everything needed by a “full” user/manager/owner?

Is there a bunch of stuff missing from the DESKTOP version or am I just not finding it? I can’t see how to invite a user. I can’t see how to import or export. I suspect there’s other stuff I can’t do that I haven’t found yet. Is the desktop version missing a bunch of functionality or am I not finding it? If so, where is the import/export for example?

Exporting a CSV – there’s NO point exporting json ‘cause I need to be able to actually see and read the export in a reasonable way… Gads. There’s a column for “Folder” but NO folders for any login. What’s the point of organizing things into folders if they’re going to be lost in the export?
And where are the Cards and Identities? They don’t appear to have been exported either.

When BW is supposed to be auto-filling the username and password for some site, and doesn’t, is there a way to have an icon in the fields or SOMETHING so I don’t have to go all the way to the extension icon, open it, then open the vault, then drag down ‘til I find the site, then click to it’ll populate? If BW finds multiple sites or something and can’t figure out which, is there a way to have it display the choices a LOT closer than having to go and open the extension to see the choices in the tab?

I haven’t even GOTTEN to the android tablet or cell phones (all version 9), but I hope at least one of ‘em works.

Hello @GracieAllen,
welcome to the forum. It seems you have quite some questions :slight_smile: . I will try to answer them as best as I can as a user of bitwarden and Software developer. I will give you short and long answer.

No, for security reasons.
Without giving detailed explanation, this kind of single-sign-on opens a new security attack surface that does not exist in it’s current implementation. For this kind of app, security goes over convenience. Example: The web version has no direct way of identifying your PC except for your IP and some browser information. That would require you to use Local Storage or save a Cookie. If I steal that, I don’t need your password as the next time you sign in, I am also logged in :grinning:.

Not sure If I understand you. If you need them to manage the organization, you need to give him/her permissions to do so.

Yes, there are some features missing on the desktop version.
Bitwarden is still under development. Until now, only the web version manages Organizations. I’ve also not found Import/export on the desktop version, do you think it should be different?

Web developers love json :slight_smile:
I can make my own backups in a mongodb without converting from csv to json. I personaly don’t know any password manager that imports json, but there could be one. That way you are free to migrate if bitwarden does not meet your needs.

To manage them in bitwarden.
You can ask for a feature request if you want it to be different. I guess they either have not added this feature yet or they did not because another password manager that you could migrate to with a (csv) file does not support it in that sense that the import will not work.

I don’t know.

Yes and No
If the site login input are not implemented correctly, you can’t do anything about the auto-fill. But you can add a link (URI) to the login so that it identifies the website and is the one to be suggested for log-in. I guess the problem in this case is the second one.

Not sure what you mean.
Do you first search for passwords then open the website?

I got bitwarden on:

  • Android 6.0.1: Works fine
  • Android 8.0.0: Works fine
  • Android 9.0.0 (another person): No problems reported
  • iOS: 13.5: Works ok, some minor bugs, but nothing that hinders functionality

Sorry, could not make it much shorter. Long question list, long answer list :slight_smile:. If some feature that you really want is missing, create a feature request, with many votes it will be implemented.

The developers have limited time in the day (24h) and limited founding (they don’t charge like others). I try to help them by doing some development.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for the reply… It helped quite a bit… And I empathize with the developers…
OK, so I’m going to have to log in to every “vault” - desktop, browser, browser extension. I’m not sure if there’s anything special in the desktop version that isn’t in the web browser (other than hopefully it’ll stay alive when I close the browser), so I don’t see the desktop getting used a lot here (unlike Dashlane).
I’m FAR from knowing much about security or cookies and risks, so if the answer is "for security we’re going to make you log into every instance every time you start, restart or change browsers, that’s cool. I’m just trying to find out if this is the intended behavior…
If I open a browser, I have to log into the browser extension. It now knows I’m me. Go into Settings, down and hit “Bitwarden web vault”. I’m already logged in and starting the web vault from the logged in extension. Doesn’t seem reasonable to have to log into ANOTHER vault when I started it from a logged in “vault” in the browser extension.
Similarly, if I go into the extension settings Security and specifically SET a value other than “On Browser Restart” - say 4 hours or NEVER, should it be making me log back in again if I restart the browser? It hasn’t been 4 hours, and certainly hasn’t been never…
My problem is a tidy spouse. She opens the browser, does whatever, then closes the browser. At the moment, she’d open the browser, have to log into Bitwarden, open Facebook, do whatever after Bitwarden logs her in, then closes Facebook and the browser. 20 minutes later (or 40 or 3) she repeats this. Having to log into Bitwarden every time to get credentials to log into a website isn’t going to happen. And yeah, she KNOWS she could minimize the browser. Wants/insists on an nice, clean, tidy screen.
Inviting a user.
On computer A I have Bitwarden set up. It has an organization and default collection, and a few logins. I install Bitwarden on computer B using a different account (I’m testing before I put this in front of the wife). I invite that user to join my organization as an Owner. On computer B when I respond to the invite it throws and error and says the user on computer B can only be the owner of one organization. So I CHANGE the invite on computer A to have the invited person be an Admin. Get the same/similar error. Went out and looked for why, and found an entry somewhere that I HAD to invite the person as a USER, couldn’t be anything else. So I did. Once accepted, I don’t see any way to change a “user” to a manager, admin or owner. What do I need to do differently to invite a user as an admin or owner?
It would be nice to have all the versions of the vault look the same (at least similar) and work the same. If I’m using the desktop version I should be able to do anything I can do in the webs version - import, export, organizations, whatever…
As far as folders… “To manage them in bitwarden” isn’t useful. I create a bunch of logins. If I want them in folders, I have to create the folders and assign the logins. I export the whole vault to a csv file. At some point I have to import that csv back into bitwarden. When it comes back I’d like to have everything go back into the collection they came from and into the folders to which they were assigned.
At this point, having done a couple exports and imports, I’ve got MULTIPLE sets of folders - it appears that imports don’t use the existing folders, they create new ones, and NONE of my logins are in the Default Collection. I’ve had exports that didn’t contain folders, but contained a collection, others that contained folders but no collection, at least one with neither I believe. At the moment I’ve got 120+ logins folders that are all duplicates, none of them are in the default collection, and I can’t see an obvious way to bulk get rid the folders so I can manually add the collection in the csv file and reimport everybody so bitwarden can recreate the folders and hopefully get everybody into some collection.
Does no one else use folders? Is it abnormal to export for a backup and want to recreate the complete environment when importing?
I’ll let the whole issue of it being inconvenient to tell bitwarden which login to use when there’s more than 1 option for the moment, ‘cause depending on the answers to the stuff above it may not be an issue. Thanks again for the reply…

Hello @GracieAllen,
it seems there is some simplification for signing in, is on the Roadmap (soon this year).

Quite Right, I see no problem in implementing that. Maybe there is a solution comming (as said above).

That sounds to me more like a bug. In my case I invite them by clicking “Invite User” (up-right) on this menu.

After confirming that the User is the correct one (You need to accept them), you can also edit their rights on the organization like this (click on the email of the User) :

In my case I have one user as an Owner, and another as an Admin (both me :slight_smile: ).

I agree, and it should be possible

Expected behavior, if not I would report a bug.

I tried to export in .csv, I personally got passwords that are in Folders inside folders and those in Collections only in Collections (not in folders). I expected that as, they move from the user to the organization, when they are shared. If you want them to be visible on multiple folders, then maybe you would like this feature request (Tagging items in vault).

I think this is a bug.

I got 25+ Folders containing also subfolders ( I use “folder/subfolder” when creating one.

Maybe this could be a feature request, make an account as main when multiple accounts are available for a website :grinning:.


Thanks for the reply…

It sounds like I need to sit back and wait to see what improvements show up on some of these things… I can’t imagine I’m the first person to hit so many oddities, but it is what it is.

There was an awful lot in this thread so far, so apologies for not responding to everything. I’ll offer a few opinions, though:

  • If you are looking for synced, seamless interfaces between web, web extension, and desktop/mobile apps, Bitwarden is not for you (at least not right now). But why would you need that anyways? I have all three installed, but I basically only ever use the web extension - it does basically everything, and as Pulsar states above, you can minimize your security risk by reducing your footprint to one interface.

  • Yes, you can export from the desktop apps (from menu, File --> Export). Exports to JSON are not meant for transfer between platforms - it just allows you to fully store all the information in your BW vault in one file that can recreate your vault if needed (e.g., accidental delete of your account), including things like your folders. To import, go through the web interface.

  • I believe CSV exports are meant for cross-platform migration, not Bitwarden-to-Bitwarden backups. Since every software company has a different way of handling folders/collections/etc., I don’t think you are going to find universal support for restoring your vault structure from CSV files (see my previous comment).

  • Finally, you might be expecting too much to assume that Bitwarden will integrate all the features of all its popular, commercialized competitors that have offered their products for many years at much greater cost than Bitwarden. I see a lot of people upset that Bitwarden doesn’t implement their favourite minor feature from software X or some feature behaves differently from the manager they are familiar with. In my opinion, that’s an unrealistic expectation - each password manager has its advantages and disadvantages, behaviors, and pricing scheme, so you have to weigh all of those. If you find that BW doesn’t suit your needs, that’s not a flaw of the software, it just means its not for you, I guess.

Since this is my first foray into password managers I don’t have any history of the great features of some others. But, I have learned, from my wife, a few things that will be a problem…
I have a tidy wife. She opens a browser, does what she needs then closes it. 20 minutes later, repeat. When I showed her Bitwarden and logged into the extension, she said “ok, but where do I…” So I opened the web vault. And had to log in again. That didn’t go over well.
Went to a website. One that had passwords for both her and me. And had to go to the far corner, hit the icon and see whether Bitwarden found the logins (it did) and select one. Not having the options popup automatically in a convenient spot also didn’t go over well.
And when I shut down the browser and restarted it, and began to log in again, she said… “No.”

She wants a Password Manager she logs into when she boots the system and never has to touch it again until the NEXT time she boots the system. It should autofill information for any site she uses that it’s aware of, without drama, and with minimal inconvenience. And certainly no logging in every time she starts a browser.

Anyhow, you’re right that other companies have been around for a while, and I had high hopes that Bitwarden would be a great fit for a simple tool that does one job - manage secure information. Didn’t care about scanning the dark web, or having a VPN in the pasword manager. Didn’t care about a bunch of other features not of interest. Just want a bullet-proof tool into which I can easily put passwords, addresses, payment cards and all the other minutiae that needs to be available but kept secure. And get it out to automatically log the user into whatever site is desired, and to fill whatever forms need filling. A bonus would be the ability to have the tool log into local applications like Adobe Creative Cloud or Skype, but not many do that.
For basic users like us, a consistent, intuitive user interface is critical. One that doesn’t have glitches or “bugs” that replicate information or lose it. Or display cryptic error messages that have little meaning.

Support at any of the companies I’ve looked at has been virtually non-existent. Dashlane has chat, but it’s glacially slow and virtually impossible to get a good answer to questions on substantive issues. Lastpass is far worse, having nothing but email (a regular source of virulent criticism by reviewers). They do, however have a forum that is somewhat responsive. Bitwarden, through this forum. has been more responsive than the others.

Should the difficulties with Lastpass and Dashlane prove more than they’re worth, I may end up back at Bitwarden, hoping that improvements will occur in the near future that make it more viable for basic users like my wife and me.

1 Like

Good luck on your hunt for a suitable password manager. Given what you have said above, I am surprised you are going to pass on Bitwarden. It can essentially do all of this, if you take a minute or two to adjust your default settings.

Why, when I’ve opened and logged into the DESKTOP BW, do I have to login AGAIN for the web browser version? And AGAIN for the browser extension one? If I’ve logged in shouldn’t I be logged in EVERYWHERE?

There are at least 2 feature requests for this feature:

You are allowed to vote for both of them and let’s hope that this feature will be (may be optional) implemented. :wink:

Perhaps true. But, if so, unfortunately, I’ve found nothing that thoroughly documents what has to be done. Actually, I didn’t find a lot of current, cohesive documentation. I found snippets and blogs and topics in here, but when I did find documentation it wasn’t always current, so the instructions weren’t intuitive enough for a basic user to interpret.

I understand Bitwarden isn’t charging what some others are, and I presume it’s a small-ish development group that can’t address the small, niggling, inconsistencies and/or bugs. My problem is the longer I fiddled with it the longer my list of questions got… Multiple sets of folders, things not going into collections, and on and on. I had enough previous questions open in here I didn’t want to keep adding to the list.

Have you looked at

Yes, I’ve intermittently been into the help looking for specific answers. I"m not saying the information ISN’T in there, only that I didn’t find it. Sometimes what I find (anywhere) is good, sometimes not so useful, sometimes so out-of-date it’s not usable at all. Which is true for most every product.

These changes might decrease security a little its worth considering if you feel like there are too many roadblocks.

  • You can unlock the extension with a PIN. (Settings -> Unlock with PIN)
  • You can set the Vault timeout to a decent length (It’ll still need un-locked if the browser is closed, the exception is to set Vault timeout to Never. This will basically save the vault as open on the PC, which is a slight risk if anyone were to access your PC, but it will allow access without having to constantly login.)
  • Autofill is turned on under Settings -> Options -> Enable Auto-fill On Page Load
  • Use the web vault to make Folders, then you can tick the checkboxes and back at the top, click the cog and then move them all into a Folder.
  • There is no good reason to use the desktop app. Get the extension for your browser and do it from there.
  • Ctrl+Shift+L is the hotkeys for Autofill as well.

Hopefully, these tips might help get you on board.