What is hardlock?

Hardlock.sys is a Windows driver. A driver is a small software program that allows your computer to communicate with hardware or connected devices. This means that a driver has direct access to the internals of the operating system, hardware etc. The free file information forum can help you determine if hardlock.sys is a Windows system file or if it belongs to an application that you can trust.

Run a free scan to check for hardlock drivers in need of updating

Hardlock.sys file information

The process known as Hardlock Device Driver for Windows NT or Sentinel Hardlock Device Driver for Windows NT belongs to software Hardlock Device Driver for Windows NT or Sentinel LDK by Aladdin Knowledge Systems ( or SafeNet (

Description: Hardlock.sys is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. Hardlock.sys is located in the C:\Windows\System32\drivers folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 676,864 bytes (17% of all occurrences), 685,056 bytes and 15 more variants. 
The driver can be started or stopped from Services in the Control Panel or by other programs. The program is not visible. There is no detailed description of this service. The hardlock.sys file is not a Windows core file. The file is a trustworthy file from Microsoft. hardlock.sys appears to be a compressed file. Therefore the technical security rating is 23% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: The software vendor offers the option to look for help on the website or uninstall the program using the Control Panel ⇒ Uninstall a ProgramSentinel LDK.

Recommended: Identify hardlock.sys related errors

Important: Some malware disguises itself as hardlock.sys, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32\drivers folder. Therefore, you should check the hardlock.sys process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

HardwareProtection Driver 4
  Max Meyrs   (further information)
hardlock sys. f53682ac base at f531booo date stamp 40f4f96c
A driver for biometric access systems, by Alladin Knowledge Systems
  M. Dooley, IT Director, NSDCAR   (further information)
couses the hibernation tab in the power managment to disappeare
Device driver. Installed by dongle-protected apps that use the Aladdin system. Required to run the app, but may interfere with normal comp op - V.3.40 caused BSOD on boot, among others . Activated by running the flexlm license manager. Also accesses during boot.
This kernel mode driver is only installed via Windows Update (if a USB Hardlock is connected) or by software which requires an Aladdin HASP or Hardlock protection device.
  Andreas Lange   (further information)
hardlock.sys is a driver for the Aladdin Knowledge Systems HASP DRm application. It is not part of or needed for Windows. It is needed to access SW app's that are protected with Aladdin HASP encryption. It is NOT dangerous or spyware or a trojan.
  Tom Stone  
Required to run dongle protected software
System32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs
is hardlock a hardware
support for installation of older softwaretongles

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of hardlock.sys: based on 10 votes with 11 user comments. 5 users think hardlock.sys is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's probably harmless. 3 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 3 users don't grade hardlock.sys ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving hardlock issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with hardlock. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using cleanmgr and sfc /scannow, uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using msconfig) and enabling Windows' Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the hardlock.sys process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: Security Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

hardlock.sys [all]