Lock and unlock your computer with a USB flash drive

By | May 27, 2011
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Did you know you can use a USB flash drive to lock your computer? You can. And unless someone has access to that flash drive, they can’t start or logon to your computer.  It will turn any USB flash drive into a key to your computer. So if you want to secure your computer so no one can access it when you’re not around (this comes in really handy for laptops) keep on reading.

There’s a small program called Predator that you can install on a USB drive that allows you to  use that USB drive to lock your computer. It does this by disabling your keyboard, monitor and mouse whenever you remove the special USB drive from your computer. Simply remove the flash drive and your computer is locked, until you return and insert the flash drive back into a USB port on your computer. So what Predator does is turn a USB flash drive into a key that locks and unlocks your computer. It’s really great if you travel and take a notebook with you or if you don’t want people snooping around your PC when you’re not home. EB? Is that you?

Here’s some details on Predator from the program’s developer:

“PREDATOR locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened. It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:

* you insert the USB drive
* you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
* you do your work…
* when you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive:
once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
* when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place:
keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.

It’s easier and faster than closing your Windows session, since you do not have to retype your password when you return.

Advanced Security Features:

* PREDATOR records all security-related events in a log file: start, alarms, stop. By reading this log, you will know if intruders have tried to use your computer while you have been away.
* PREDATOR can replicate this log on your Twitter account, allowing you to remotely monitor all access-control activity on your PC.
* PREDATOR frequently changes the security codes recorded on your USB drive. If an intruder manages to copy your stick, this copy will not work because the codes on your own stick will have changed in the meantime.
* PREDATOR disables the Windows task manager when you unplug the USB drive. Nobody can stop it with Ctrl-Alt-Del.
* PREDATOR lets you regain control of your computer if you lose your stick: when you start the software for the first time, you set a password that will unlock your session if your USB drive is not available.
* PREDATOR can sound an audible alarm if somebody enters an invalid password.
* And finally, PREDATOR can protect several PCs with the same USB flash drive, e.g. your home and office computers.

With PREDATOR, security is as simple as inserting or removing a USB stick !”

Great idea. Isn’t it? Predator is free for home/personal use. If you have a flash drive and you want to turn it into a key to lock your computer, then visit this page to learn more about Predator.

And did you know?

Our USB Bracelets are a great way to make sure you always have your flash drive with you and ready to use.  Read more here.

2 thoughts on “Lock and unlock your computer with a USB flash drive

  1. Ken Roberts

    Be very careful with this software you can wind up locked out of your own computer . I tried it and was locked out as the usb alone will not unlock it. be very careful with the password fat fingers can mess up the whole deal . if you do get locked out you can reboot and close the program and return it to the normal unprotected state. I must have hit a wrong key when making my pass word if you do the initial set up you can see the password but changing the password is dangerous as it is coded and you can’t see what you are typing,. my fat fingers is what locked me out I am fine now though. just be very careful how you set it up and read the instruction please. if this happens to you just reboot and close the predator fast as you can. It could only happen to me . nerd me nerd .

    1. infoave Post author

      The whole purpose of the program is to require a password and the USB flash drive to unlock your computer. It stands to reason if you don’t use the correct password you won’t have access to your computer. I guess we should have put a warning that if you use this program you won’t have access to your computer if you forget the password or lose the flash drive –

      Of course if all you use is a Windows password and no flash drive, almost anyone can access your computer if they have a little computer skill. So this tip was basically for people with laptops who may lose them or have them stolen. Without the usb key and the password no one could access your information. They could still use the computer – they could reinstall Windows and be all set. Or they could put in a new hard drive. Or if they were really good they could even get around the flash drive and password. But not many know how to do it.

      It was just a simple trick to help people make their computers a little more secure. Nothing is perfect in the computer world.


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