USB drives are a great way to share information from system to system when alternatives like email simply wonât work. Theyâre also perfect for storing large amounts of information, again, when email might not be able to accommodate your demands. But with this convenience comes elevated risk. Though USB drives are extremely easy to transport because of their small size, this also makes them extremely easy to lose or have stolen. Because of these factors, itâs absolutely necessary that you lock your USB drive with password protection. Continue reading to learn how.
Password Protecting Your USB Drive with Windows
Windows makes it extremely easy to password protect and encrypt the contents of your USB drive. Once you insert your USB drive into your computer, find the icon for it in Devices with Removable Storage. Right click on it and choose Turn on Bitlocker. After youâve done this, Wizard will open, and youâll see Use a password to unlock the drive with a box next to it. Check that box. Type in whatever youâd like to use for your password and click next.
When this is done, youâll be given several options for backing up recovery keys. Choose whichever you like. Wizard will then ask you if your drive was already in use or if itâs brand new. Finally, youâll be asked how much of your drive youâd like to encrypt. Your options are to encrypt the entire drive or just the disc space being used. The former is best for drives that have already been used, but it will take longer. Your second option is fine for new USB drives and will go much faster.
After you make your selection, encryption will run, and, upon completion, no one will be able to access your information without a password.
Password Protecting Your USB Drive on a Mac
Protecting your USB drive on a Mac is also rather simple. Start by connecting your USB drive to the computer and then temporarily removing any information you currently have on it. Simply store it in a folder on your desktop until the process is complete.
Go to Launch Disk Utility and find your USB drive. Click the Erase tab. Next, choose Mac OS Extended from your Format menu and pick a name. Then click the erase button at the bottom. This is why itâs important to save your information, as anything on the drive will be deleted at this time.
When your USB drive has been cleared, give it a name and then look it up in the Where menu. With the next window that comes up, youâll have to pick a custom size for the USB drive. Type something just below the maximum. Get as close as you can, as this will be all the encrypted space youâll have. You should then select create. The next screen will be where you choose your password. The Password Strength indicator will let you know how strong your choice is. When youâve picked a strong one, click OK, and your USB drive is now safe.
Given how important it is to protect the data on your USB drive and how easy it is to do for both Mac and Windows, donât put the process off. A few minutes will be all youâll need for peace of mind and extra security.