How to Put a Password on Any USB Flash Drive or External Hard Drive?

Password Protected Flash Drive and external hard disk

Almost all of us use usb memory and external hard disk. These devices sometimes get lost or stolen. For this reason, the information in the hands of others may cause great problems.

It is usual to leave it plugged into a computer, keep it in a pocket, or even forget it when you print it on a photocopier. It is possible to store single class notes, end-of-class assignments, bank details, office documents, and personal photographs and videos. In order not to disturb you when you leave the data of a USB key or an external hard drive exposed, it is possible to protect them with a password.

A simple encryption method for usb memory and external hard driver can save us from big problems.

Several programs allow it. One of them is VeraCrypt, a free encryption software compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. Although the process required to put the password may seem a little technical at first glance, it only takes 10 minutes to do it by following the steps below.

How to install Veracrypt?

The first place where you need to download and install the program. To do this, you need to search for “VeraCrypt” in Google and select the appropriate download option depending on the operating system of your computer. Once downloaded and installed, you must connect the USB drive or hard drive to the PC and open the program. To make the process easier, it is recommended to do it with the completely empty USB key. In other words, make another copy of the files you want to keep on another device.

Then click on “Create Volume”, select the option “Encrypt Partition / Secondary Unit” and click “Next”. In doing so, a pop-up window will ask for permission to perform encryption. After accepting this request, the user must click on the “Common VeraCrypt Volume” and “Device Selection” options. Then, a window will open with the available devices. In the list of removable disks, we must choose the external memory that we want to protect with a password.

In the next tab, you are asked if you want to format the USB key before encrypting it. You must choose the first option (“create an encrypted volume and format it”). There is no need to worry about data loss because, before executing the process, we made a copy of it on another device. Then, it is advisable to keep the default encryption algorithms. That is, the AES and SHA-512 and click “Next”.

At this point, you must enter the desired password and click on “next”. The “Volume Format” tab will open, in which the mouse will be asked to move on the same window to increase the cryptographic strength of the encryption keys. This step makes it more difficult for third parties to access this USB key without a password. As the mouse moves, a bar at the bottom of the window is populated, called “randomness obtained with mouse movements.” When done, click on “format” and “quit”.

After executing this process, the external memory will already be encrypted with a password. To reopen the USB key, it is necessary to install the program on the computer (a process that only takes a few minutes) and to have connected the device. Once the program is open, click “auto-mount”, enter the password and click “Accept”.

Then the connected USB drive will appear in a list. By double-clicking it, the device will open and you will be able to view, add or delete the files it contains. Finally, to disconnect the USB, you must click on the “unmount all” option that appears in the window of the program VeraCrypt. To remove the password, simply right-click on the USB shortcut and choose the “format” option.

Passwords for a USB key on Mac OS and Linux

Although this program is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux, the last two operating systems make it easier to do without having to download a program. In the case of Mac OS, you must right-click the shortcut that appears on the desktop when you connect the external memory. Among the options that appear, you must choose the option “encrypt” and enter the password.

In Linux, you must also right-click the shortcut that appears in the left sidebar of the screen and choose the “Format Volume” option. In the next window, the “encryption” option is displayed to put a password in the external memory.

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