Sometimes we wish that instead of password protection for locking down your Windows PC, it should have had a physical lock-key mechanism. Anytime we wanted to lock the PC, we would have just locked the PC with the key and taken the key with us – just as we do in our automobiles. While the security experts might snort at the idea, it is actually possible to use any ordinary USB memory stick as the key for locking down your Windows PC. For this, you can use the free USB Raptor program which creates a locking file on your USB memory stick so that you can lock your PC just by removing the memory stick.
The USB Raptor program is a portable application and you can start using it without having to install it on your system. Just plug in a USB memory stick into one of the USB ports of your PC and then launch the USB Raptor program. You will have to supply a password for encryption, choose the target USB drive from the list and click on the Create K3y file button. This will create the lock file on your memory stick and after this, you can select the checkbox Enable USB Raptor to start the USB Raptor monitor your system for the missing memory sticks.
Alternatively, you can also right-click on the USB Raptor system tray icon and choose Enable USB Raptor from the context-menu. As the USB Raptor starts to monitor for missing USB memory stick key, a notification to this effect appears near the lower-right corner of the Windows screen.
After USB Raptor is armed, you can test it by removing the memory stick from your PC. It locks your system instantly and a simple screensaver like screen takes over your Windows desktop. You can re-attach the memory stick to your PC or enter the password to unlock your system.
If you check the Advanced configuration checkbox in the USB Raptor window, many of the advanced options appear. Here you can choose for the USB Raptor to auto-start with windows, choose a lock mode (USB Raptor lock or Windows lock), choose various USB Raptor lock options, choose to identify the memory sticks by their serial numbers and more.
Conclusion: USB Raptor is an easy way to lock and unlock your PC without having to enter any password. It makes use of any regular USB memory stick as the locking or unlocking device for your Windows PC. It also offers other ways to unlock your PC, in case you lose the armed memory stick.
You can download the USB Raptor software from http://sourceforge.net/projects/usbraptor/.