How to lock and protect your PC with a USB key?

How to Lock and Protect Your PC with a USB Drive

Last updated: July 16, 2022

Everyone has already watched a spy movie in which a technician uses a USB key to connect to a computer to access a top-secret database. We think of "Mission Impossible" for example, between stunts and deployment of high-tech gadgets. Awesome isn't it?

The interest of connecting with a USB key also exists on a daily basis, for obvious security reasons:
prevent an unwanted peek when you're away from your desk.

Predator is a free tool that can be used to lock your pc when you go away but still maintain the session Windows running.

Installation and configuration of Predator

  1. First, download and install Predator.
  2. Now insert a freshly formatted USB drive.
  3. Then, go to the window " Preferences of the tool. Now you can configure it according to your needs or check the following screenshots for references.
The main Predator settings screen

Don't forget the advanced options tab...
  1. Once you have correctly configured the Predator preferences, go down to the "USB key" section which is in the " Main Options of the utility. Now click on the button " Create a key to create the new security key. You can see the " Creation in progress... during the process and the Creation completed » when completed
Create your security key

How do I activate Predator protection?

Once everything is set up correctly, you will be asked to restart Predator to enable monitoring (needed only on first run).

After restarting the utility, you will notice a green bubble (animated) in the notification area. You may notice that the bubble sometimes flashes red, notifying that the key has been accessed. That's it, you're ready to use Predator.

How Predator works

Remove the USB drive now and wait a while for theyour PC screen goes completely black. It means that your PC is now locked.

You can go for a walk and take your lunch break (without worrying about your boss checking your PC for your secret job applications, or your social media activity 🙂 or your colleague just trying to peek at your project folder ).

Make sure to keep the USB drive safe in your pocket.

Once you're ready to connect, insert your USB drive and wait. A login screen flashes in which a timer (20 seconds) is running and a password field is present.

Enter your password that you used when creating the key and press Enter. If the password is correct, you will be logged into your PC with all windows (you were working on) minimized.

How to deactivate the lock with USB key?

Fortunately, the operation is very simple. All you have to do is right-click on the notification area icon and select " monitoring break (pause monitoring) and you will notice that the bubble has turned yellow (steady).

Enable or disable monitoring
WARNINGS : To use this option, you must first activate the pause in the tool « Preferences ". To do this, open " Preferences », go to the tab « Advanced options And tick the box " Activate pause ».

Useful when you have children

Predator allows you to limit the time your children spend on their computer:

  • You define the times of day each user can access the computer with the built-in scheduler.
  • You can set specific rules for each user and each day of the week.
  • Outside the authorized periods, you can either lock the desktop, log off the user or turn off the computer.
  • You can also, if necessary, remove the USB security key to permanently deactivate the computer.

Precautions to take with the use of Predator

Two points are to be taken into account in Predator:

  • Make sure you remember the password. You can disable password verification if you tend to forget the password. Open " Preferences ", go to the Main Options tab and uncheck the box " Always required under the "Password" field. Disabling it doesn't mean the protection isn't there. The security USB key is still valid, i.e. without the USB, the computer is still inaccessible.
  • We noticed that our laptop's keyboard didn't work when we had to enter the password to log in using the USB drive. The problem was solved thanks to a USB keyboard thanks to which we were able to enter the password. It is possible that this is an isolated problem, but it was necessary to warn you if necessary.