Record Typing on any Keyboard with Tiny Device.

KeyPhantom USB Home (product code: KP-USB-301)

Product upgrade notice: This product has been upgraded to the "KeyCarbon USB Home Mini (KCU401)". The new product is superior; these pages are provided for customer support only.
USB keystroke recorder or logger
Video demo
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The KeyPhantom records everything typed on any USB keyboard.

Key Features

  • Tiny device records USB keystrokes at a hardware level. View hardware vs. software comparison.
  • Software free - plug'n'record. View demo.
  • Installs in seconds.
  • Installs even if the computer is switched off.
  • Record everything typed - protect yourself from data loss.

Compatibility

  • Any machine with a USB keyboard, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, DOS, OS/2, Solaris.

Storage capacity

  • 500,000 typed keys (512KB).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Any questions? The FAQ has the answers.

  • This FAQ has 5 years of product feedback.

Frequently Asked Questions for the KeyPhantom USB Home (KP-USB-301).

 

What is the KeyPhantom USB?

The KeyPhantom USB is a device used to log all USB keystrokes on a computer. It looks just like a USB extension cable. It installs in seconds on any PC or Macintosh with a USB port.
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How do I install the KeyPhantom USB?

Use the KeyPhantom USB just like a regular USB extension cable - unplug the USB keyboard, plug it into one end of the extension cable, then plug the USB extension cable back into the PC.
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How do I record keystrokes with the KeyPhantom USB?

Simply plug the unit in - the unit starts to record from the moment it receives power.
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How do I retrieve the keystrokes?

Keystrokes can be retrieved on any operating system, using a standard text editor.
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Can I record keystrokes on one computer and retrieve them on another?

Yes. The device uses non-volatile flash memory, just like a USB memory stick. The device does not need batteries to hold its memory.
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How do I change the password?

Go into the configuration menu, there is an option to change the password. [link: view demo]
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How do I reset the password?

It is possible to reset the password in the unit. This has the side effect of deleting the existing keystroke log. It also requires a fair amount of technical skill, and involves popping open the case of the unit and shorting two pins on the circuit board together.

Resetting the password for the KeyPhantom USB and KeyCarbon USB.

Can the KeyPhantom device be detected by special software?

No. The device is completely separate from the operating system.
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Does the KeyPhantom USB work on a PS/2 keyboard?

No. For a device that records PS/2 keystrokes, see www.keykatcher.com. If you are unsure which type of keyboard you have on your system, check the shape of the plug on your keyboard cable. If it is rectangular, then the KeyPhantom USB will work. If it is round, then you have a PS/2 keyboard - see www.keykatcher.com.
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What happens if the keystroke log fills up?

There are two options for this: either the oldest keystrokes are discarded, or the recording halts. This option is selectable from the configuration menu.
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Are the keystrokes are safe, even if device is unplugged?

Yes. The device is just like a USB memory stick, it does not lose its memory if it is unplugged.
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Will the KeyPhantom store non-printable keystrokes such as Alt, Ctrl, or Function keys?

Yes. Any non-printable character is converted into a series of printable characters. For example, the "escape" key is listed as "<esc>" in the log. F1 becomes "<F1>" in the log. Alt becomes "<alt>" in the log, and so on for every other non-printable keystroke.
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Does the KeyPhantom USB work with a USB hub?

Yes, however it is not recommended, as it may lower the entire hub speed to USB 1.1. It is recommended that the KeyPhantom USB extension cable is attached directly to the cable that the USB keyboard uses.
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Does the KeyPhantom USB work with any keyboard that has a built in USB hub?

Yes.
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Does the KeyPhantom USB work on a laptop?

The KeyPhantom USB will not record keystrokes typed on the laptops built in keyboard. The KeyPhantom USB will only record keystrokes typed on an external USB keyboard that is plugged into the laptop.
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Why would I want a KeyPhantom USB when I can use a keylogger program available off the internet?

There are many reasons why a software keystroke logger may not always be a the easiest option. If the PC is password protected, it will be almost impossible to install a software keylogger. The KeyPhantom device installs in seconds, onto any desktop PC with any operating system. The KeyPhantom device can be installed when the computer is switched off. It will also pick up passwords used to access the BIOS before boot up.
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How long can the password be?

Up to 20 characters long. The number of combinations for in a password 20 characters long is 26 to the power of 20 - over 19,000 million million million million. Yes, thats over 19,928,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This number is quite large, it is likely that noone would ever be able to guess your password.
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During downloading of the keystroke log, can I stop the download half way through?

Yes. Pressing the escape, enter, or space bar keys will halt the download.
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I am using Microsoft Word 2003 - how do I fix the double numbering in the menu?

Go into "Tools ... Autocorrect ... Autoformat as you type" and switch off 'automatic numbered lists'.
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I enter the menu - but it exits immediately, and goes into "recording mode"?

The reason that the menu is exiting immediately into recording mode, is that by default any unknown key will exit the menu.

Do not press "enter" after the password, or press keys any extra keys before the menu has been completely displayed.

This weakness in the product has been fixed in firmware v1.13 and above, available by downloading the KeyPhantom USB Home Firmware Upgrade Utility.
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Does the device show up in Windows "Device Manager" or the "Unplug or Eject Hardware" box?

The device does not show up in the Windows "Unplug or Eject Hardware" dialogue box.

The device shows up in Windows "Device Manager" as a generic USB hub. This generic USB hub has no ID marks, and is indistinguishable from the generic USB hub found in 90% of all USB hubs, 90% of all Macintosh USB keyboards, and 30% of all IBM-PC keyboards.

If any software (such as a virus scanner) attempted to detect this generic USB hub, it would also flag warnings on 90% of USB hubs, 90% of all Macintosh USB keyboards, and 30% of all IBM-PC keyboards. In short, there is no way to detect the device via software.

When the menu is displayed, the device shows up in Device Manager as a temporary external USB keyboard. This temporary USB keyboard is completely removed from Device Manager once the menu is exited.
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What if someone else types in the access password by mistake?

For a random 20 character password, there are over 19,000 million million million million combinations. That number is over 19,928,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This is the same chance as someone trying to find a single grain of sand, somewhere in the Sahara. In short, there is no chance that someone else would type the access password by mistake, if you choose a password of sufficient length.
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Do you have any hints for choosing a password?

Do not use a password or subset of a password that you are using elsewhere on your system.

A password should be a consecutive set of characters that would never be typed, except by someone who knew the password.

The password should not be a string of characters that would be typed in normal usage. Examples of poor password choices would include the words father, avenue, and your pet's name. Some good password choices would be tabatha, gbefhome, and ghureee.
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Where can I download the user manual for the KeyPhantom USB?

A printed manual is included with the KeyPhantom USB. Download the KeyPhantom USB Home User Manual.
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Firmware upgrading

 

How do I perform a firmware upgrade for the device?

See the KeyPhantom USB Home Firmware Upgrade Utility.
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I attempted a firmware upgrade - but now my device is not responding. What do I do?

Although this situation is possible, in theory, we have never encountered it. The bootloader used to upgrade the firmware has been thoroughly tested over the past few years, with close to zero failures. It could occur, in theory, if the PC lost power during a firmware upgrade.

Firstly, try power cycling the KeyPhantom USB. To do this, briefly unplug the KeyPhantom USB cable from the PC. Execute the "KeyPhantom Firmware Upgrade" utility.

Secondly, if this does not work, open up Wordpad, then enter the menu using the password. The default password is "phxlog". Select menu option "Firmware Upgrade". This puts the device in "Firmware Upgrade mode". Execute the "KeyPhantom Firmware Upgrade" utility.

Thirdly, if this does not work, unplug the device, then open the casing on the device using a flat bladed screwdriver. Locate the two holes on the miniature motherboard that have the text "EB" (short for "Emergency Bootload") written next to them. Using a bent paper clip or a piece of wire, connect these two holes, creating an electrical circuit. With the wire still connected, plug the KeyPhantom USB back into the PC. This forces the device into "firmware upgrade mode". You can now remove the wire, leaving the device in "firmware upgrade mode". Execute the "KeyPhantom Firmware Upgrade" utility. Although this procedure may sound complex, it is very quick (less than 1 minutes work) - and is guaranteed to work.
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