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Windows 7: SysKey - Create USB Key to Lock or Unlock Windows

05 Aug 2015   #30
bhanukpr

windows 8.1
 
 
Startup key.key lost

Hi Sir,
I have created the "USB KEY" to lock my computer by using my pendrive. But now i have lost my Startup key.key file and now i am unable to open my laptop. Please help me " How to open my Laptop ? " or "how to recover my Startup key.key file ?". That pendrive was formated my friend unknowingly.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Aug 2015   #31
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello,

I'm afraid that if you don't have a backup of this StartKey.Key file to restore on a USB to unlock your PC, then you'll need to reinstall Windows.

If you have another computer, then you could connect the hard drive to it to backup any files that you may want first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2015   #32
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
If you have another computer, then you could connect the hard drive to it to backup any files that you may want first.
Noob question: I have always assumed that the process encrypts the disk, too, making it unusable if the key is lost even when the HDD is removed from the computer in question. So this process only protects your data as long as the HDD is not removed and connected to another computer? Protecting the computer instead of protecting the HDD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2015   #33
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hey Kari,

No problem. SysKey was meant to encrypt SAM to protect against offline password cracking attacks by preventing the possessor of an unauthorised copy of the SAM from extracting information from it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syskey

Today, it would be better to use BitLocker to encrypt the Windows disk to prevent any unauthorized access at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Aug 2015   #34
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Thanks for clearing this for an encryption noob
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05 Aug 2015   #35
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

De nada mate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2015   #36
russtee

Multi
 
 
A Couple of Questions

G'day!!

Thank you very much for the easy to read and follow tutorials!!

I just have a couple of questions:

Is there any advantage using a USB with the SYSKEY key on it to boot along with BitLocker or Truecrypt FDE? Just to store SAM access remotely; especially is the computer is left on and unattended in Windows 'Locked' mode for long periods (it runs services for the network).

How to you reissue the SYSKEY key on a regular basis; in order to maintain security in case of compromised USB key? I'm assuming anyone who has access to that USB for more than a few seconds will be able to copy it and decrypt the SAM db at leisure?

Also is there a windows (and/or Linux) USB solution where on removal of a USB with an encryption key on it the entire system is paralysed? So no CD, USB, BIOS, internal or external ports/slots/sockets (including RAM) can be modified? Some systems and services can be selected to continue while most can not and Firewall rules are modified to a Key In or Key Out rule sets? This would allow a computer to run however if physical control wasn't maintained there would still be a level of security from Evil Maid type attacks.

Once again, love your work and simple step by step instructions!

Cheers

Rustee
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2015   #37
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Rustee, and welcome to Ten Forums.

For what you're wanting, using BitLocker on all drives should work well. SysKey could be used for additional security, and used on the same USB for BitLocker. Yeah, you don't want anyone to have access to the USB except yourself since it'll whomever has it access.

You might also setup a BIOS/UEFI password. This way the PC will not boot until you enter the BIOS/UEFI password first.

You could also keep the computer in a locked secure room if you're concerned about a maid or someone in the house having physical access to it.
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 SysKey - Create USB Key to Lock or Unlock Windows




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