“I have hundreds of private photos and some confidential documents stored on my USB flash drive. How do I set a password for my USB drive to protect my data? I use a Windows 10 computer.”
If you are looking for ideas on how to password protect a USB drive on Windows 10, BitLocker is positively a good option. However, it’s worth noting that Windows 10 Home Edition doesn’t support BitLocker. In spite of this, there is no need to worry as there are other alternatives. This article shows you how to password protect a USB drive with or without BitLocker.
How to Password Protect USB Drive with BitLocker
BitLocker is the preferred method to password protect a USB drive on a Windows computer. It is a drive encryption feature built into Windows so that you don’t need to download any third-party software. BitLocker encrypts and locks an entire USB drive so that the user needs to unlock the USB drive with the correct password in order to access the data in it.
Step 1: Go to This PC, right-click on the USB drive you want to protect with a password, and then select Turn on BitLocker from the context menu.
Step 2: Windows 10 is starting BitLocker to initialize your USB drive. This takes about a minute.
Step 3: Choose “Use a password to unlock the drive”, enter the password you want to use to protect the USB drive in both fields, and then click Next.
Step 4: Windows will automatically generate a BitLocker recovery key for your USB drive in case you forget your password. So, in this step, you need to back up your recovery key. For convenience, you can choose Save to a file to save the recovery key to a notepad file, and then click Next.
Step 5: Choose “Encrypt used disk space only” or “Encrypt entire drive” depending on your own needs, and then click Next.
Step 6: Choose Compatible mode, which is suitable for encrypting removable drives, and then click Next.
Step 7: Click the Start encrypting button and BitLocker will immediately start encrypting the USB drive.
Step 8: Keep the USB drive connected and wait for the encryption to complete. This will take 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the data to be encrypted.
Once the USB drive is protected with BitLocker, every time you plug the USB drive into a Windows computer, you need to unlock it with the correct password in order to access the data in it. Of course, if the target computer doesn’t support BitLocker, the USB drive can’t be unlocked and used and all you can do is formatting it.
If you no longer need to protect the USB drive with a password, just go to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption > Turn off BitLocker to remove BitLocker protection from the USB drive.
How to Password Protect USB Drive without BitLocker
BitLocker on your computer stopped working, or your Windows doesn’t have BitLocker? Never mind, here is how to password protect a USB drive without BitLocker. All you need is the powerful and yet easy-to-use USB encryption tool called iSumsoft USBCode.
iSumsoft USBCode is a tool specially used to password protect USB drives, including flash drives, USB sticks and external USB hard drives. The tool makes it easy to encrypt, lock, unlock and decrypt a USB drive on any version and edition of Windows 7/8/10/11, and it is more secure than BitLocker.
Step 1: Download and install iSumsoft USBCode on your Windows 10.
Step 2: Launch iSumsoft USBCode and it will show all USB drives connected to your computer.
Step 3: Select the Encrypt option on the left, select the USB drive you want to protect, enter the password you like, and then click the Encrypt button.
Step 4: iSumsoft USBCode will start encrypting the USB drive with the password you set. This takes some time, depending on the size of data to be encrypted. Don’t worry, it will be faster than BitLocker encryption.
Step 5: When the Encrypted Successfully prompt pops up, it means your USB drive has been encrypted and locked with a password.
Then, every time you plug the USB drive into a computer, you need to unlock the USB with the correct password in iSumsoft USBCode before you can access the data in it.
Tips: If you forget the password and can’t unlock the encrypted USB drive, you can format the USB drive to regain full access to it. Or, you can contact the iSumsoft support to help remove your USB encryption password without losing any data.
When the USB drive is encrypted by iSumsoft USBCode, you can still open and use the USB drive on any computer without having to unlock it. However, you can’t see any files in the USB drive until you unlock it with iSumsoft USBCode. This is because all existing files on the USB drive are stored in an encrypted and invisible directory that users cannot directly access.
iSumsoft USBCode encrypts USB drives very differently from BitLocker. A USBCode-encrypted USB drive contains two containers, one is encrypted and invisible, and the other is unencrypted and visible. iSumsoft USBCode builds an encrypted and invisible container that users cannot directly access, and puts all existing files in the container. You can still write data to the visible space, but for that encrypted, invisible space, you need to unlock the USB to access the data inside it.
After you unlock the encrypted USB drive using iSumsoft USBCode, the encrypted directory on the USB drive becomes visible and is mapped to a new drive, and you can manipulate data on the new drive. If you add new files to the new drive, they will be automatically encrypted.
The above is how to password protect a USB drive on Windows 10 with or without BitLocker. BitLocker works on non-home edition of Windows, while iSumsoft USBCode works on any edition of Windows. Although the encryption methods of the two software are very different, they are both secure. Just choose the method that works best for you.