You must have tried setting up strong password for your Windows to avoid unauthorized access. But don’t you think that your system is still not so much secured. There are a lot of password cracking methods. People can reset your password using a password reset disk or by using Windows installation disk. Some Bootable disks make it easy to reset passwords. Even without any third party software it is possible to crack your password.
So, what can you do to protect your PC from being hacked? Or how can you add an extra layer of security to your Windows PC? The answer is simple, by creating a Startup Disk. Now, question arises, what is this Startup Disk? A Startup Disk is a floppy disk that contains database for Windows User Authentication. User Authentication information is encrypted in “StartupKey.key” file but you need a floppy drive or Drive A to save this Startup Key Disk.
Now, problem is that computers don’t have floppy drives these days. So, how would we create a Startup Disk? As you know the drive letter for Floppy Drive is A, just like Drive letter for Windows partition is C. If we change the drive letter of our USB Drive to “A” anyhow, then Windows will recognize this USB drive as floppy drive and we would be able to use this USB drive to store Startup Disk and protect our Windows.
What do we need:
- A USB Drive of any size.
First we will change the drive letter of our USB drive to A:
For doing this, we will use Disk Management Utility. Press Windows Key + R to launch RUN utility, type in diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
This will launch Disk Management Utility.
In Disk Management window, right-click on your USB drive and select Change Drive Letter and Paths…
A popup window will open, which will have three buttons on it, click on Change… button.
Now, selected drive letter A from drop-down list and click OK.
You will see a warning message, just click Yes to continue.
You have successfully changed your USB drive letter to A. Now, Windows will recognize this drive as floppy drive. Let’s move to next step.
Again, press Windows Key + R to launch RUN utility, type syskey and press Enter.
You may see User Accounts Control Prompt, click Yes to continue.
A small window will open with name, ‘Securing The Windows Account Database’. Radio-button next to Encryption Enabled will be checked, leave it as it is. Click on Update button.
A new Startup Key window will open; check the box next to System Generated Password, if not checked already. And under this, there will be two options, Store Startup Key on Floppy Disk and Store Startup Key Locally. Check the box next to Store Startup Key on Floppy Disk and click OK.
It will ask you to enter a floppy drive into Drive A:
Just insert your USB Drive, Windows will recognize this USB drive as Floppy Drive (As we made it Drive A in Step 1 and Step 2). The Startup Key will be stored on your USB drive. Click OK to continue.
You will see a success message. Click OK to exit message.
Your Startup Disk is ready.
Now, time to check if it works or not. Unplug your USB drive from your PC and restart your Windows.
On startup Windows will ask you to enter the disk that contains Startup Key.
Just plug your USB drive into your PC and click OK, it will show you logon screen.
You can login now using your credentials.
How To Disable Startup Key Disk Feature?
If you want to undo this, just follow the same method and this time check the box next to Store Startup Key Locally and click OK.
You can’t even lead to logon screen without inserting this Startup Disk into your PC. If anyone can’t see logon screen, he can’t login. Even if someone knows your password, he can’t login because he will not see Login screen.