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Use a USB key to log in to your PC

(MoneyWatch)  Whether you work in a corporate office, small business or home office, you should employ a password to log into Windows. Without a password, you've made breaking into your PC insanely simple. Any criminal can steal your business, financial and personal data just by sitting down at your computer.

Of course, a lot of people avoid password-protecting their PC for convenience reasons. It's a pain to type in a password every time, and it's especially hard to enter a strong, hard-to-remember password. Tech blog MakeUseOf recently highlighted a simple way to password protect your PC without the annoyances: Use a USB key as a physical key that automatically unlocks your machine.

Rohos Logon Key Free is an authentication tool that turns any USB key into a password for your PC. Using it is simple. After installing the app to your PC, you configure a USB key by entering your Windows password. After that, using it is simply a matter of inserting the USB key in a USB slot and waiting a few seconds for the app to unlock Windows. And you can still use the USB key as you usually would; it doesn't re-format the memory or restrict the way you can use it in any way.

Not only is Rohos convenient, but it enables you to use a significantly stronger, more complex password, since you don't need to remember it. Though if you ever lose, forget or misplace the USB key, you're not out of luck -- you can still enter the password in the ordinary way.

While the app is free, you can upgrade to a premium version for $32. For the money, you get a few extra features, such as the ability to limit logins to the USB key (typing the password the ordinary way is disabled) and enabling two-factor authentication, in which you need to insert the USB key as well as type in a secondary passcode.

If security is a concern and you're looking for easier ways to secure your PC, Rohos is a great option. It's missing an important feature, though: The ability to automatically lock the PC when you remove the USB key.