You may safeguard your data by purchasing an encrypted flash drive. You may also get a comparable degree of security by using free applications.
In this post, we’ll teach you how to password lock a USB drive and encrypt individual files and folders.
1. Rohos Mini Drive: Create an Encrypted Partition
Many technologies are available to encrypt and password protect your data. Most, on the other hand, need administrator privileges to execute on any specific machine. The Rohos Mini Drive, on the other hand, works whether or not you have administrative privileges on the target machine.
The free version may create a secret, encrypted, and password-protected partition on your USB flash drive of up to 8GB. The tool employs on-the-fly encryption with an AES 256-bit key length.
You won’t require encryption drivers on the local system thanks to the portable Rohos Disk Browser, which you install straight to your flash drive. As a result, you may access the secured data from anywhere.
From the Rohos Mini Drive start panel, choose Encrypt USB drive, then pick the drive, enter a new password, and click Create disk. On your external drive, this will establish a password-protected and encrypted partition. You may also encrypt just a certain folder on your USB drive to create an encrypted container.
By selecting the Rohos Mini.exe icon from the root folder of your USB thumb drive, you may access the protected partition or container. The Rohos disk will mount as a separate drive when you input the password, and you may access it through File Explorer.
To disconnect from your Rohos partition, right-click its icon in the Windows Taskbar notification area and choose Disconnect.
Download: Rohos Mini Drive for Windows or Mac (Free)
2. VeraCrypt: Encrypt Your Entire Flash Drive
TrueCrypt was succeeded by VeraCrypt. It is delivered as a portable software that may be executed straight from your flash drive. However, VeraCrypt does need administrator privileges to function. It employs AES 256-bit encryption on the fly. The free version is restricted to 2GB disk capacities.
VeraCrypt supports on-the-fly encryption using 256-bit AES, Serpent, and TwoFish encryption algorithms, as well as combinations of these. It, like the Rohos Mini Drive, may produce a virtual encrypted drive that mounts as if it were a physical disk. However, you may encrypt whole partitions or storage devices.
Install VeryCrypt Portable on your USB device after downloading it. The portable app will display all accessible drive letters when you open it. Select one and press the Create Volume button.
The VeraCrypt Volume Creation Wizard will be launched. Select Encrypt a non-system partition/drive and click Next to encrypt your whole USB flash drive.
Following that, you may choose between a Standard or a Hidden VeraCrypt volume. Using a hidden volume decreases the possibility of being forced to give your password. If you wish to create a Hidden VeraCrypt volume, you must format the whole USB device.
We’ll start with the VeraCrypt Standard volume. In the following box, choose your detachable disk, confirm with OK, and then click Next.
Select Encrypt partition in situ and click Next to encrypt the whole USB disk. VeryCrypt will remind you that a backup of the data is required in case anything goes wrong during encryption.
You may leave the Encryption and Hash Algorithm settings at this point. Then you’ll be able to configure your Volume Password. The cryptographic strength of the encryption will be determined by your random mouse movements in the next stage.
Now, choose your Wipe Mode; the more wipes you use, the safer you are. To begin the encryption, click Encrypt on the last window.
Download: VeraCrypt Portable for Windows (Free)
Toucan, a portable program that allows you sync, backup, and protect your information, is an alternative to VeraCrypt Portable. You can encrypt your disks using BitLocker if you’re running Windows 10 or Windows 11 Professional, Business, or Enterprise.
3. How to Encrypt Your Flash Drive on a Mac
You don’t need a third-party program to encrypt your USB flash drive if you’re using a Mac.
First, format the flash drive using Apple’s HFS+ file system. It should be noted that this will destroy all files saved on it, therefore you should back them up. Select your flash drive in the Disk Utility software and click Erase. In the popup box, pick Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the file type, and then click Erase in the bottom right to format the drive.
After you’ve completed the above procedures, you’re ready to make an encrypted flash drive. Simply pick Encrypt and enter a password when you right-click the disk in Finder. The operation begins immediately and might take several minutes, depending on the size of your USB stick. You’ll have an encrypted and password-protected USB device in no time.
4. Cryptsetup: Encrypt Your USB Drive on Linux
Cryptsetup is a free function that allows you to create cryptographic volumes using AES 256-bit encryption. It may be found in the standard Linux repository.
Please keep in mind that you should not use this program if you want to utilize the encrypted files outside of Linux. Furthermore, accessing your encrypted flash drive necessitates the installation of Cryptsetup.
To encrypt your USB stick on Linux, use sudo apt-get to install both the Gnome disk tool and Cryptsetup. It should already be installed if you’re using Ubuntu. Then, from the desktop, start Disks, locate your flash drive, and choose to format the disk or a single partition using the encryption option.
You’ll also choose a password at this stage. It is important to note that you must replace all existing files.
Download: Cryptsetup for Linux (Free)
5. Save Individual Files With a Password
As previously stated, you cannot password protect the whole USB stick without utilizing encryption. However, if you just need to safeguard a few files, you may simply save them with a USB password. Many applications, including Word and Excel, enable you to save encrypted files.
In Word, for example, when the document is open, go to File > Info and expand the Protect Document option. Then click on Encrypt with Password.
After completing the preceding steps, enter your password and confirm it to safeguard your document. Finally, save your document and remember to include the password.
PDFTK Builder, which is also available as a portable tool, may be used to password secure PDF files on your USB flash drive.
Archive software like 7-Zip may also use AES-256 to encrypt and password protect your data.
6. Use 7-Zip to Create a Password-Protected Archive
Install and launch 7-Zip, then right-click a file or folder on your USB device and choose 7-Zip > Add to Archive. Select the Archive format and provide a password in the Add to Archive box. To begin the archiving and encryption procedure, click OK.
WinRAR is a free file archiver that works with the Windows operating system. It, like WinZip, comes very helpful for compressing big volumes of data.
Download: 7-Zip for Windows, Linux, or Mac (Free)
7. Password Protect Your USB Drive With WinRAR
You may, however, utilize it to secure your data. This is especially true if you want to encrypt certain files or folders rather than a whole USB drive.
Select Add to archive from the context menu of the folder you wish to encrypt. Set the name of the new file in the General tab of the next window, choose RAR as the archive format, and click Set password. Set a password, check the Encrypt file names radio box, then click OK in the following window.
Your new RAR will be produced shortly and will need a password to access.
You now know how to password-protect a flash drive on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Hopefully, this little method has assisted you in password guarding your USB stick. If you’re concerned about your USB stick becoming corrupt and losing all of your work, try backing up your papers using cloud software as well.
Download: WinRAR for Windows, Linux, or Mac (Free)
USB Drive Password Protected and Encrypted
Now you know how to encrypt a flash drive with a password on Windows, Mac, and Linux. And hopefully, this short guide helped you in password protecting your USB stick. If you’re worried about your USB stick corrupting and that you’ll lose all of your files, consider backing your documents up with cloud software too.
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