A Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP desktop or
laptop computer with a USB port
We all like to think that our computer files will not be disturbed when we
walk away from them, but depending on who you work or live with, this might be
the impossible dream. Whether you require protection from a snooping co-worker
or from a meddlesome room mate, password protection may be the best way for you
to take a
break from your computer while enjoying peace of mind.
Brando Workshop offers a
USB Wireless Security Lock
that is supposed to put your computer into Lock Mode when you step away –
without the trouble of logging off. I have to admit that this is
not necessarily a product that I have a genuine use for, but I was game to give
it a try.
Included in the package was a mini-CD driver disk, a USB male/female adapter
extension cord, the USB Security lock wireless signal receiver, a wireless
transmitter fob, the cable to attach to the fob/keys, and a battery.
The wireless fob is supposed to transmit a signal with an effective range of
up to 6.5 feet (2 meters). After installing the battery in the fob, it is
necessary to run the software on the mini-CD. The following screen will
Hitting OK will install the software. Once completed, you will be
prompted to enter a password. The Software portion of set-up is now complete.
Now let’s take a look at the hardware. The Wireless PC Lock’s USB receiver
measures 2 5/8" long x 0.75" wide x 0.25" thick. The receiver’s exterior is
composed of translucent blue plastic with a green wireless indicator
light. The receiver is powered by the computer’s USB port.
The transmitter’s circular case is also composed of blue translucent plastic
with a large green plastic button in the center. The battery in the transmitter
is supposed to last for up to 2000 hours.
If nothing else, I like the colors of the hardware
The key fob loops through the two holes on the back of the transmitter…
…and the USB receiver simply plugs into a free USB port. If there isn’t a
front port available, then you can use the included male/female USB extension
cord to access a rear port.
Once all of the software and hardware are in place, you can test the locking
When the USB receiver is plugged in and the green center button on the key
fob is pressed, a green light will blink in both the fob and the USB receiver
showing that the wireless connection is made and the computer is unlocked. The
following icon will be displayed in the system tray…
This means that everything is operational, unlocked, and there is no password
If you would like to quickly lock the computer while you are within range,
then you can double left click on the wireless icon. This will immediately pull
up the password entry screen requiring the correct input before anything further
can be done on the computer. If you enter the password, you won’t be able to
access this quick feature again in the same manner as the computer is now
unlocked through password entry. You can however relock the computer by right
clicking on the wireless icon and selecting Password Locking.
At any time, if the wrong password is entered, then the entry screen will
just stay the same – neither confirming nor denying the improper entry, but
blocking access all the same. If the correct password is entered, you will be
returned to the last viewed screen, however within a couple of seconds you will
be required to re-enter the correct password again.
When the USB receiver is in place, but the wireless transmitter is not in the
area (or is not turned on) and the computer has been unlocked via an entered
password, then the following icon will be displayed…
Note how there is no wireless signal being represented in the
If the USB portion of the security lock is pulled from the port, then the
following "locked" icon will show…
I had expected the software to automatically lock the computer when the
receiver was pulled, but it did not. You have to right click on the icon and
manually set the lock. If the receiver is plugged back into the USB port and the
transmitter is not turned on, then the computer will remain unlocked. Briefly
turning the wireless transmitter on then off will cause the password screen to
appear. If the computer is reset, either with or without the USB receiver
installed, then the password screen will appear. No further computer access will
be allowed without the correct entry.
Well, to wrap it all up, the USB Wireless Security Lock is more than a bit
gimmicky. Seeing as you can password protect any Windows computer, and invoking
the protection is as easy as hitting Start/Log Off/Switch User, this isn’t
really a necessary item. However, if you happen to collect USB gizmos,
then this flashy toy may satisfy your inner magpie.
USB gadget collectors will like its gimmicky appeal
Expensive, unnecessary gimmicky item