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Password Protect and Encrypt USB Drives : No Software Needed

USB drives are portable storage devices that carry your data wherever you want. To protect the data stored in the usb drives you need to lock the drive by installing a password. After installing a password the unauthorized access to your data is restricted. In this tutorial I will teach you to encrypt and password protect any USB storage device like pen drives, micro SDcards, external hard disk, and internal hard disks and you can do this without any software. To password protect any USB storage device we can use ‘BitLocker Drive Encryption’ which is built in Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows 8.

lock pen drive

BitLocker is a drive encryption application developed by Microsoft for Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows 8. The Bitlocker uses AES encryption method which is very difficult to break. The Bitlocker also generates a 128 bit or 256 bit backup key in case you forget your password then this key will unlock the encrypted drive. You don’t need any additional software but a Windows 7 or Windows 8 pc and a USB storage device like pen drives, flash drives, and external hard disks (portable HDDs).

How To Password Protect Any USB Storage Device With Bitlocker Drive Encryption

  • Connect the USB drive to pc. Right click on it and choose ‘Turn on BitLocker’.
  • Let bitlocker to identify the drive.
  • Now check ‘Use a password to unlock the drive’.

  • Type the password two times in both the fields.
  • Click ‘Next’ to proceed.
  • In next step click ‘Save the recovery key to a file’ and save it wherever you want. It’s a text file so you can take a print (hard copy) of it and put it somewhere in a safe location. If you forget the password then this key is the only way to unlock your usb storage device.
  • Now click ‘Next’ then click ‘Start Encrypting’.
  • Wait for few minutes till the encrypting process finishes.
  • Now remove the usb drive and plug it again. This time you will need to enter password to unlock it and access the data.

Now your USB storage devices are password protected and encrypted with AES encryption done by bitlocker drive encryption and you haven’t used any additional software like truecrypt, usb safeguard.

Manage Bitlocker Drive Encryption

1. Change Password : To change unlock password right click on the drive and choose ‘Manage Bitlocker’. This will only work when the drive is unlocked. After clicking ‘Manage Bitlocker’ choose ‘Change password to unlock the drive’. Now enter the new password and click “Next”.

2. Auto Unlock On Any Computer : When ‘Auto Unlock’ is enabled for specific computer then you will not be asked to unlock the pen drive. But this will work only on the computer on which is enabled. To enable auto unlock go to Bitlocker manager as in step one and choose ‘Automatically unlock this drive on this computer’.

3. Turn Off Bitlocker For Any USB Drive : If you no longer want to use bitlocker then you can disable it forever. To do this first unlock the pen drive with password and go to ‘Bitlocker Drive Encryption’ in control panel. Choose ‘Turn off BitLocker’. A popup will open and choose ‘Decrypt drive’. It will take some time to turn off bitlocker. To immediately turn off bitlocker just format the USB storage, this will remove bitlocker instantly, but also this will delete all the files in the pen drive and can’t be recovered. So do this only if you no longer want the files.

Now you have successfully password protected your USB drives, external hard disks and micro SDcards.

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