Many of us are heavy users of USB drives - we depend on these portable devices to hold our important work files and data, and because USB drives are so versatile, we can use them not only to store and backup our digital documents but to also share our files with other people.
This file-sharing feature of USB drives however raises a USB security concern, “How secure are the files in your USB drive?” To ensure that your important files are secure and kept safe from the wrong hands, it is essential that you password protect your USB drive. This article will guide you on how to password protect your USB drive or USB stick.
If your USB drive holds very important files, it is necessary to take precautionary measures to ensure that your files don’t get erased or corrupted, and if your files are private, it is necessary that you password protect your USB drive to prevent unwanted access to your documents. Write protecting a USB stick is a vital USB security measure to put in place when you don’t want anyone making a change to your files or overwriting them.
One of the biggest risks of backing up files to a USB drive is the potential risk of losing your data. Things can suddenly go wrong and files become erased without a trace. In such scenarios, it is necessary to have a data recovery tool to restore lost files. One such tool that can help you restore lost data is the Wondershare Recoverit software.
Wondershare Recoverit software is an easy-to-use application that you can install on your computer to scan and restore lost files of various formats on your computer or external devices, including USB flash drives. To get started with restoring your lost or deleted files, follow the steps outlined below.
You can download the software from the official website. It is available for Windows and Mac computers.
Attach your USB flash drive to your computer’s port and ensure that your computer detects the attached USB drive.
Open the Recoverit software and click ‘External Devices’ as the location you want to recover files from. You should see the name of your plugged-in USB drive. Select your USB drive and click ‘Start’.
Once you click ‘Start’, an automatic scan will commence on your USB drive and you can either wait for the scan to complete or you can start browsing through the results for files you want to recover.
Once the scan is complete, toggle to ‘File Type’ and browse through the found files. Select the files you want to recover, then click on ‘Recover’ and save the files to a new and different location. Do not save files to the path where you lost them.
There are different approaches you can take to password protect a USB drive. You can choose to encrypt the entire USB drive or password protect specific folders or files on the USB drive. Below, we have outlined different methods to guide you on how to password protect your USB stick and keep your data safe.
With the WINRAR software, you can compile the contents of your USB drive and encrypt them in a password-protected folder. WINRAR is a piece of software that allows you to compress files and also encrypt them. Files encrypted with WINRAR have the extension ‘.rar’. To encrypt and password-protect the folders in your USB drive, follow the easy steps outlined below.
To use WINRAR, you have to download it from the official website. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. Install WINRAR once the download is complete.
Plug your USB flash drive to your computer and decide on the files or folders you want to secure. If you want to password-protect all the files in your USB drive, it is a good idea to put them all into one folder, and then encrypt the folder.
Once all your files are now in a single folder, right-click the folder and select ‘Add to archive’.
A pop-up window will be displayed. In the ‘General’ tab, you can set a new name for the encrypted folder from the ‘Archive name’ textbox.
Select ‘RAR’ as the archive format and click ‘Set password’. A pop-up window will be displayed. Enter your desired password in the textbox and reenter it in the verification box. Click on the checkbox that says ‘Encrypt file names’, then click ‘OK’. An archive file with the ‘.rar’ file extension will be created. This is your encrypted data. You will be required to enter a password whenever you want to access the contents of the archive file.
You may choose to password-protect only individual files on your USB drive and not an entire folder. If your file is a Word document or any other Microsoft Office file, you can set up password protection for the file right inside Microsoft Word or the file’s corresponding Microsoft application.
To password protect a Word document, open the file in Microsoft Word and click ‘File’. On the ‘Info’ tab, you’ll see the option to ‘Protect Document’. Click the option and select ‘Encrypt with Password’. You can follow this procedure for other Microsoft office files.
However, if your file is not a Microsoft Office file, you can still password-protect the individual file on your USB using WINRAR. Simply right-click your file, select ‘Add to archive’ and follow the process for encryption using WINRAR outlined above.
Rohos Mini Drive is a tool that you can use to create a secret encrypted container of your files on your USB drive. Think of this secret container as a virtual partition that secures your private files under a secret password. With this tool, you can password-protect up to 8 GB of files in your USB drive. Follow the steps below to set up a hidden partition on your USB stick using Rohos Mini.
Head to the official website, download and install Rohos Mini to your computer. It is available to Windows users. Only 8 GB of files can be encrypted when you download the free version of the software.
Once installed to your PC, click the Rohos Mini icon to run the program. A window will be displayed. Click ‘Encrypt USB drive’. A pop-up window will be displayed. Click on ‘Change’ and scroll to select your USB drive.
Once your USB drive has been identified by the program, two textboxes will be displayed. Enter a new password to your secret partition in the displayed text boxes, then reenter the password to verify it. Click ‘Create a disk’ to begin the encryption.
You’ll get a display message once the encrypted partition has been successfully created and you can start adding files to the password-protected portion of your USB drive.
Rohos Mini is a great USB security tool that you can utilize to secure and password-protect a segment of your USB drive. It also offers a virtual keyword that you can use to enter your secret password. This way you avoid your password leaking out to malware programs that are capable of stealing keywords.
BitLocker is a full-featured encryption program that is capable of encrypting and password-protecting an entire USB stick. It is also capable of encrypting the entire data on your computer once enabled.
BitLocker is a Microsoft program and it is available to Windows users who have any of the following OS editions: Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows Vista or 7 Ultimate, and Windows Vista or 7 Enterprise.
Once you encrypt your USB drive with BitLocker, your data is secured and can only be accessed with a valid password. To get started with password-protecting your USB stick with BitLocker, read-through and follow the easy steps outlined below.
An easy way to determine if BitLocker is installed on your Windows operating system is to type ‘BitLocker’ in your Window’s search bar. If you get a display window that says ‘Manage BitLocker’, that means you have BitLocker installed in your computer.
Plug your USB stick to your computer and ensure that your system recognizes it.
From the search bar, search for BitLocker, and from the results click ‘Manage BitLocker’. Once you are in the BitLocker encryption window, head over to the tab ‘Removable data drives - BitLocker To Go’ at the bottom of the page and browse through to find your plugged-in USB drive.
Once you see your plugged-in USB drive, enable BitLocker for your USB drive by clicking ‘Turn on BitLocker’.
Once BitLocker is turned on, you’ll receive a prompt to choose how to unlock your USB drive. To password-protect your USB stick using BitLocker, you should select ‘Use password to unlock the drive’ from the prompt displayed. Enter your desired password in the textbox provided and reenter it for verification. Ensure you don’t forget your password.
Once you have verified your password, a prompt will be displayed asking you to choose how much of your drive you want to encrypt. You have two options, you can either encrypt your entire USB drive or encrypt only the used disk space.
Select the option that best suits your USB security needs, and then click ‘Start Encrypting’. Once the encryption process is complete, click ‘OK’ to end the program. Now you will be prompted to enter a valid password whenever you want to access the contents of your USB drive.
The portability of USB flash drives enables us to easily backup, store, and share our data. However, the risk associated with the use of USB drives is that our data may fall into the wrong hands or mistakenly get erased or corrupted. Not to worry, there are a number of solutions outlined in this article to handle the concerns of USB security. With Recoverit Data Recovery software, you can easily recover lost or corrupted data of different file formats from your USB drives. To write-protect your USB drives, you can utilize WINRAR, Rohos mini drive or BitLocker to password protect your USB drives and secure your data.