These days, criminals have become more cunning and creative in scamming unknowing PC users. Now, more than ever, it has become imperative for us to take measures in securing our online activities. One of the best ways to do so is by using USB security keys.

You may ask, “How does a USB security key work?” Well, they allow users to authenticate different components on a computer. Moreover, you can use them when logging into Windows 10. Because of the new developments in application programming interfaces for web servers and browsers, people are now able to use security keys for website authentication.

However, what if a USB security key has stopped working? Well, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. We understand how important it is for users to ensure their security. As such, we’ve put together this article to teach people how to fix the USB security key is not working issue on Windows 10.

It is important to note that there are various reasons for this problem. The integrity of the key may have been compromised. On the other hand, it is also likely that the issue has something to do with corrupted or incompatible drivers. Whatever the reason may be, you can use this article as a guide on how to fix the USB security key is not working problem.

Method 1: Changing the Security Settings via Internet Options

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+S.
  2. Now, type “Control Panel” (no quotes), then hit Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Select Network and Internet.
  4. On the next page, click Internet Options. Doing so will open the Internet Properties window.
  5. Now, go to the Security tab. You should see different zones, and by default, you will land on the Internet zone.
  6. Go to the ‘Security level for this zone’ section, then move the slider to the lowest level possible.
  7. Click the Local Intranet zone, then click Custom Level.
  8. Below the Reset Custom Settings area, you will see a drop-down list. Select Low, then click Reset.
  9. Click OK, and once you get back to the Internet Properties window, go to the Trusted Sites zone.
  10. Perform Step 6 for this zone.
  11. Move to the Restricted Sites zone, then perform Step 6 once again.
  12. Click OK and Apply to save the changes you’ve made.

After performing these steps, restart your computer and check if the USB security key is now working. Also, remember that once your work is done, you need to go back to the Internet Properties window and click the ‘Reset all zones to default level’ button. Neglecting this final step will leave your PC vulnerable.

Method 2: Reinstalling the Drivers

As we’ve mentioned, an incompatibility or corruption in the drivers can cause the security keys to malfunction. So, you need to uninstall and update the respective drivers to fix the issue. To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to your taskbar, then right-click the Windows icon.
  2. Select Device Manager from the list.
  3. Now, expand the contents of the Universal Serial Bus Controllers category.
  4. Right-click the USB security key, then select Uninstall from the context menu.

After removing the driver, you need to reinstall it. You can visit the website of the manufacturer of the security key to get the latest driver.

Pro Tip: The easiest way to deal with problematic drivers is to use a reliable tool like Auslogics Driver Updater. You can perform a scan, using this software program. It will find any corrupted, missing, or outdated drivers on your PC and fix them accordingly. All you need to do is click a button and all your drivers will be updated to the latest manufacturer-recommended versions.


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Method 3: Changing the Security Key’s PIN

Many users who experienced the same problem reported that they had been able to fix the issue by changing the security key’s PIN. This is plausible, especially if the PIN has been corrupted. So, to troubleshoot the issue, we also suggest that you reset the PIN. You should be able to do this by referring to the configuration utility of your security key.

Method 4: Disabling Your Antivirus

Your antivirus may be interfering with your security key’s operation. So, we suggest that you switch off Windows Defender temporarily, then check if doing so gets rid of the problem. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to your taskbar, then click the Search icon.
  2. Inside the Search box, type “Windows Security” (no quotes).
  3. Select Windows Security from the results.
  4. Go to the left-pane menu, then click Virus & Threat Protection.
  5. Now, move to the right pane and click Manage Settings under the Virus & Threat Protection Settings section.
  6. Toggle the Real-Time Protection switch to Off.

After following these steps, check if you can use your security key properly. Once you’re done with your work, make sure you switch your antivirus back on. On the other hand, if you want reliable protection against threats, we suggest that you switch to Auslogics Anti-Malware. This tool was created by a certified Microsoft Silver Application Developer. So, you can expect that it won’t interfere with common Windows processes and services.

Method 5: Troubleshooting Your Web Browser

Is the security key not working on a particular web browser? If so, then follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. The first thing you need to do is check whether your browser supports the security key. Usually, you will find the information you need on the browser’s official website.
  2. If your browser supports your security key, then you need to update it to the latest version.
  3. If the problem persists, you can try reinstalling your browser. You can also switch to a different browser—one that supports your security key.

Which of the solutions got the security key working again?

Let us know in the comments below!