Creating a Free USB Key for your Windows PC

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Using a USB as a security key can be an easy and cost-effective way to secure your PC. With no passwords to log in, it also makes accessing your PC easier. Stick the USB stick in – and boom – your PC is unlocked.

Pull out the USB key, and your PC will lock itself up. There are some commercial solutions, like YubiKey, Rohos LogonKey or Predator key, but luckily there is also a completely free option; an open source project called USB Raptor that can create a decent USB key to keep Windows 10 tightly locked until the key is plugged in.

With these small steps you can create your own USB key. Just keep in mind, that should you lose your key, or should it be destroyed, it may be impossible to get back into your PC. So, be careful to not to lock yourself out.

  • Find the USB Raptor from SourceForge
  • Click Download and save the USB Raptor zip file
  • Extract the contents (and run a virus check, just to be sure.)
  • Double-click the USB Raptor Application (there is no installer here, just an .exe)
  • Accept the license agreement and plug in an empty USB stick
  • Type in a good password — and don’t forget it.
  • Choose the USB drive as key target and generate the keyfile
  • Finally check the ‘Enable USB Key’ checkbox and you are done

You can set up the USB Raptor to launch at startup to ensure that even rebooting will not let someone in without the key.

This is as simple as it gets – without any effort, you’ll be able to create practical endpoint security. Try to unplug the USB key – you’ll find that USB Raptor immediately triggers and locks the computer.


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