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How to Password Protect Flash Drive Windows 10

Jean updated on Nov 16, 2020 to Todo Backup Resource | How-to Articles

PAGE CONTENT:
Windows 10 BitLocker program
EaseUS free file encryption software

How do you safeguard your USB flash drive with a password? To tell the truth, there are lots of USB password tools available to meet your demands. For example, you can use official SanDisk SecureAccess utility to password protect SanDisk USB flash drives. Likewise, WD Security software is used to password protect Western Digital external hard drives. What if you prefer only free methods to encrypt, lock or password protect a flash drive along with files and folders in Windows 10? This article is worthwhile reading.

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How to Password Protect Your Flash Drive with BitLocker

BitLocker is an encryption feature in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise edition, which supports to encrypt local hard disks and removable drives with either a password or a smart card PIN. As long as your USB flash drive has been formatted with NTFS, FAT, FAT32 and exFAT file systems, go ahead with the following guide to put a password on the flash drive and restrict unauthorized access from others.

Step 1. Correctly connect your flash drive to a Windows 10 PC running Pro or Enterprise edition. Make sure that your flash drive appears in This PC in File Explorer and shows up as removable drive G: or other drive letters.

Step 2. Right-click on your flash drive and you'll be presented with an option called Turn on BitLocker. Click it and continue.

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 1

Step 3. On the popped up window, you can freely set a password to protect the drive now. The password should contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, spaces, and symbols to make it strong. The password you've just entered is the only passage to unlock this BitLocker encrypted drive the next time. Click "Next".

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 2

Step 4. Now you're given a kind suggestion to backup the recovery key with three options, including "save to your Microsoft account", "save to a file and print the recovery key". Choose a preferred backup way and click "Next".

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 3

Step 5. Decide how much of your drive to encrypt. Read the explain texts carefully to learn the difference between the two options: "Encrypt used disk space only" and "Encrypt entire drive". The latter option is highly recommended. Click "Next".

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 4

Step 6. You'll be then welcomed by two encryption modes: new encryption mode or compatible mode. Since you're trying to safeguard a flash drive, you'd better choose the compatible mode. Click Next.

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 5

Step 7. Finally, you're arriving at the last step. With some warnings carefully bared in mind, click "Start Encrypting". BitLocker will immediately work and encrypt your flash drive with a set password.

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 5

Step 8. If the prompt message Encryption of X: is complete, you're successfully done. You can disconnect your flash drive now.

use bitlocker to password protect flash drive in windows 10 step 7

How to Password Protect Files & Folders on Flash Drive with Software

Being different from BitLocker's way to password protect an entire flash drive, there is another free way to protect your USB flash drive contents from being exposed to other people except those who have a password. It's by using a third-party free backup software with file encryption feature on it.

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Furthermore, if you're unfortunately not a Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise user, it's good to know such encryption software and make use of it for enhanced data security. All you need to do is to download EaseUS Todo Backup Free on your Windows 10 PC and take some minutes to start encrypting.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup. On the home menu, you can choose to go with either "Disk/partition" or "File".

Disk/partition backup allows you to create a full backup image of an entire flash drive data and then encrypt.
File backup allows you to encrypt only the selected files or folders on the flash drive and then encrypt.
For full protection of the flash drive, you're suggested to choose Disk/partition backup.

Password Protect Files and Folders on Flash Drive

Step 2. Select the disk or partition to back up. Choose a destination to store the backup image, and enter a "Plan name" or "Description" to the backup image so that you can easily find it when trying to unlock.

Password Protect Files using disk partition backup

Step 3. In the lower part, click "Backup options". This is where you're going to encrypt the backup image with a unique password.

Step 4. To protect images with a password, click on "Encryption option" and check Set Password box. The password adopts the AES256 algorithm, which should be less than 15 characters. 

click backup options

Note: keep your password confidential. If lost, data cannot be recovered. So, make sure the password is properly saved. EaseUS is unable to get encrypted images decrypted.

Step 5. After confirming the password, click "Save". 

Step 6. Click "Proceed" to complete the backup task, by then you'll make the encrypted backup with a password in success. 

After this, you can completely delete your files off from the flash drive and leave only encrypted backup image there. Without your permission, no one could open or view your backups.

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