Sometimes we load very valuable, confidential or sensitive information on a USB stick. For this reason, it is a good idea to protect the pendrive with a password and prevent someone from accessing your data. In this guide I will show you how to use BitLocker in Windows 10 to put a security key on your USB drive.
There are many programs to put password to the pendrive and to protect the stored files. Some manufacturers, such as SanDisk and Western Digital, include their own USB password password software. The problem is that most users format the pendrive or simply remove all the software before starting to use it.
In addition to the official software, there are dozens of third-party utilities available to protect the data on your USB drive. But why use one of these when you can password protect your flash drive without using other programs? If you have the Pro or Enterprise edition of Windows 10, you can use the built-in BitLocker To Go to set a passkey for your USB drive.
Password protect pendrive with BitLocker
# 1. Connect the pendrive or hard drive to your PC with Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise.
# 2. Go to This computer, right click on the pendrive or drive and choose the Enable BitLocker option .
# 3. Select the Use a password to unlock drive check box, Enter and confirm a password and click the Next button .
NOTE: for your password to be strong, you must use at least one uppercase letter, one number, one lowercase letter, and symbol.
# 4. BitLocker provides three ways to back up the recovery key, in case you forget the password:
- You can save the key in your Microsoft account (if you use one to log in),
- save it to a file, or
- print it out for physical storage in a safe place.
Choose the option that suits you best to back up the key, and then click the Next button .
# 5. Next you will see the Choose how much of the drive you want to encrypt window , with two options:
- Encrypt only used disk space
- Encrypt the entire drive
I recommend selecting the Encrypt entire drive option . Then click the Next button .
# 6. next you must choose which encryption mode to use. I suggest you select the Compatible Mode (recommended for units that can be moved from this device). Then click the Next button .
# 7. Click the Start Encryption button to start encrypting the drive. This can take a few minutes or hours, depending on your choice in step 5.
In this way your pendrive will be encrypted and protected with a password.
From this moment on, in order to access the content, you must enter the password you chose:
- Open This PC and double-click the icon of the protected pendrive or disk drive.
- You should now see a message asking you to enter the password. Enter the password and click the Unlock button to access the data on the pendrive.
After this the memory will be unlocked and you will be able to access your files as you normally would.
Disable BitLocker and unprotect pendrive
If you no longer want to protect your pendrive or disk drive with a key, you can easily disable the BitLocker block:
# 1. Connect the pendrive to the PC and unlock it as indicated above.
# 2. Next, right-click on the flash drive and select the Manage BitLocker option .
# 3. In the BitLocker Drive Encryption window , under the Removable data drives: BitLocker To Go section, click the Turn off BitLocker link .
# 4. Next, click the Disable BitLocker button to start decrypting and unprotecting your USB drive or USB stick.
Upon completion, you will see a message letting you know that the process has been completed. From then on you will be able to use the memory without any blockage.
What is BitLocker To Go?
BitLocker To Go is an encryption feature for removable drives, including USB flash drives, SD cards, and external hard drives. It supports the NTFS, FAT, FAT32, and exFAT file systems; meaning that a USB drive formatted with any of these file systems can be protected using BitLocker To Go.
Password protecting a USB or USB external hard drive using BitLocker is easy. Just follow the instructions below to password lock USB using BitLocker in Windows 10.