In this article, we have prepared the step by step guide, which will help you to encrypt your USB Flash Drive or folders whether it’s on Mac, Windows, Ubuntu & Linux.
All of these methods easy to use and free!
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Almost every computer user today has at least one USB flash drive. These handy storage devices are often found in pockets or used as keychains. Unfortunately, their small size makes them easy to misplace or lose.
When you lose your USB drive, there’s always a risk of someone finding it and going through your personal files. So, to truly protect your data, make sure your USB flash drive is secure.
You can easily do this with your Mac computer, which allows you to put a protective password on your data. To do so, you can use your Mac to create an encrypted disk image of your USB drive; the disk image becomes a container for your data and only authorized users who know the password can open it.
Tutorial: How To Encrypt A Flash Drive In Mac:
There are many ways to encrypt USB Flash Drive in Mac, also you can use many tools to encrypt your files or full disk, but in this tutorial, we are going to use Mac Internal Encryption program which is highly recommended.
Another method: We are creating another folder inside your USB drive which is encrypted and contain your sensitive data in it. This is the best way because you don’t need to enter the passcode each time when you are accessing the files other than the Encrypted Folder.
- Insert your flash drive into a USB port on your Mac. Copy all files on the drive and paste them into your Desktop. The USB drive has to be empty during the encryption process. All files can simply be copied back onto it after the completion of the encryption process.
- Once the flash drive is empty, open Disk Utility, which is found under Applications in your Finder menu.
- You will see a window with a list of devices towards the left portion of it. Choose your flash drive from the list.
- Go to the Erase tab and click on Format to open the corresponding menu. From the choices, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled). You will be asked for a name, which you can freely choose.
- Click on the Erase button at the bottom of the window to delete all data on the drive. Wait for the process to be completed.
- After the process, open the File menu and click on New, then tap on Blank Disk Image.
- Save Location should be your USB Drive Name.
- Choose the size closest to the full capacity of your USB drive; make sure the size is smaller. As for the Encryption menu, choose either 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption. As for the Partitions, choose Single Partition.
- Go to Image Format and click on Read/write disk image. Finally, click Create.
- A small window will appear where you will be asked to provide a password. Don’t lose your password as you will not be able to access your data without password.
- Paste all your old files onto the drive; place them on the DMG disk image file. If you don’t save them in that file, they will not be password protected.
Tutorial: How To Encrypt A Flash Drive In Windows:
Windows 7 and above versions have an internal feature called BitLocker, which is used to encrypt internal and external drives. Unfortunately, Password protection is not available as a built-in feature in Windows XP, 7, 8 or even in 10. But there are few third-party tools available for password protection.
There is another tool called “TrueCrypt” which is now moved to BitLocker, was previously used for the same purposes.
In this section we’ll show you:
- How to Encrypt Folders & Texts Files in Windows
- How to encrypt Full USB Drive in Windows by using BitLocker.
- Method to encrypt particular folder inside your USB
How to Encrypt Full USB Encryption With BitLocker:
Plug the USB drive and move your data from it. Once it’s done! format the USB by NTFS Format.
Right Click on your Flash Drive and Click on ” Turn On BitLocker”.
Check mark the first option, that enables the password Fields, Enter your desire password and hit next.
In this step you need to save your “private key” in somewhere safe location. Just in case you forgot your password, it is recommended to save your password to your cloud or online drive. After that, Click on Next. It will take a little time to process, depending on your Flash Drive Storage as well as your PC Performance. Usually It takes about 1 minute per 1 GB.
Once it’s done! Unplugged the Flash Drive and Plug it again, when you reconnect your USB Flash Drive it will ask you for the password to get in there.
How To Encrypt A Folder In Flash Drive:
In this tutorial, you will see how you can encrypt particular folder inside your Flash drive. This is the best way to encrypt and protect your Folder data, it’s also best because; you don’t need to insert the password each time you want to access other files on your USB.
Unfortunately, there is no built-in feature available for Windows users for that specific task. But you can use third party tools like Lacie Free Encrypted Tool to Encrypt your Folder.
Here Are The Simple Steps to Encrypt Folder In Flash Drive:
You need to download ZIP Files From Lacie website. Download and extract the files.
Copy All Extracted Folders and paste into your USB Flash Drive.
Remember “this folder should be copied and pasted into root, it shouldn’t be inside any subfolder, otherwise it won’t work”
Paste all the Extracted Folder inside your USB Flash Drive.
Go to the extracted Folder and find the private-public.exe file and run it.
This is where you can give a size to your folder, in my case i’m just using 500mb for demonstration. After giving the size of your folder simply click on “Next”
Now Create a password for that folder: choose the password and click next.
Hit Next and process will start in few seconds, it also depends on your data and PC performance, usually it takes 1 minute per 1 GB transfer.
When it’s done, it will take you to disk mounting process. Here, you just need to put your created password in the fields.
It’s almost completed, if you go to “my computer” you can see there are some other drive pop-ups! which you have created. Put all the sensitive data in it and it will automatically save into encrypted folder inside Flash Drive.
Now all of your data in that encrypted drive is protected through encryption and once you disconnect the USB Flash drive, the encrypted drive will go away from sidebar or in “My Computer”.
When you reconnect your Flash Drive, it will not going show you the encrypted folder which you have created, because it’s hidden. In order to retrieve that you need to go to your USB storage and again run the private-public.exe, and this time it will just ask for a password.
Tutorial: How To Encrypt A Flash Drive In Ubuntu Or Linux Operating System:
As like other operating systems, there are encrypted tools available, which is called third party tools which are perfectly compatible with both Linux & Ubuntu.
In this Tutorial we will see how you can encrypt Flash Drive by using Disk Utility.
The first step is to plug in your USB Flash Drive and Copy All the data Somewhere else.
Go to the dashboard Home and type Disk Utility
Find your Flash drive and click on it
Click on unmount the Volume so you can format the disk before encryption
Now Hit Format Drive and be patient
Now here you can encrypt full disk or create a partition of encrypted storage.
Check the “Encrypt underlying device” and create the drive
Now Create New password for your encrypted folder and hit “Create”
Now when you disconnect your USB and Reconnect Your USB you will see the dialog box asking for the password.
Finally, the encryption of your folder or drive is complete. Here is the Video Tutorial if you want.
Are There Any Risks Of Encrypting Flash Drive?
When we think about encryption, it always seems beneficial which is mostly true. However, in encrypting a flash drive, there are some issues to which a user is still prone.
The password could be the greatest issue as the whole encryption process depends on keeping a strong password. If your password is easy to guess or doesn’t contain strong characters then there are chances that it could be revealed.
Most people write down the password to remember it which produces the chances of losing it. Also, if the encrypted flash drive is entered into a compromised device with key logging software then you may lose the password while entering it.
However, the most probable risk is the loss of the password if you forget it and there is no chance to decrypt USB data without password. But, there are the ways to recover password such as BitLocker’s recovery key or a clue or to store it securely.