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How To Encrypt A Flash, Thumb Drive – A Complete Guide

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How To Encrypt A Flash, Thumb Drive - A Complete Guide

Encrypt All types of Thumb, Flash, USB, and portable drives. an easy step-by-step guide to complete the process.

In this article, we have prepared the step-by-step guide, which will help you encrypt your USB Flash Drive or folders on Mac, Windows, Ubuntu & Linux.

All of these methods are easy to use and free!

Almost every computer user today has at least one USB flash drive. These handy storage devices are often found in pockets or used as keychains. Unfortunately, their small size makes them easy to misplace or lose.

When you lose your USB drive, there’s always a risk of someone finding it and going through your files. So, to truly protect your data, make sure your USB flash drive is secure.

You can easily do this with your Mac computer, which allows you to put a protective password on your data. To do so, you can use your Mac to create an encrypted disk image of your USB drive; the disk image becomes a container for your data, and only authorized users who know the password can open it.

Video: Encrypt A Flash Drive In Mac:

Here is the link to YouTube Video Tutorial, How To encrypt a flash drive in macOS.

There are many ways to encrypt USB Flash Drive in Mac. Also, you can use many tools to encrypt your files or entire disk, but in this tutorial, we will use the Mac Internal Encryption program, which is highly recommended.

Another method: We create another folder inside your USB drive that is encrypted and contains your sensitive data. That is the best way because you don’t need to enter the passcode each time you access the files other than the Encrypted Folder.

  1. Insert your flash drive into a USB port on your Mac. Copy all files on the USB drive and paste them into your Desktop. The USB drive has to be empty during the encryption process. All files can simply be copied back onto it after the completion of the encryption process.
  2. Once the flash drive is empty, open Disk Utility, which is found under Applications in your Finder menu.
  3. You will see a window with a list of devices towards the left portion of it. Choose your flash drive from the list.
  4. Go to the Erase tab and click on Format to open the corresponding menu. From the choices, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled). You will be asked for a name, which you can freely choose.


  1. Click on the Erase button at the bottom of the window to delete all data on the drive. Wait for the process to be completed.
  2. After the procedure, open the File menu, click on New, and tap on Blank Disk Image.
  3. Save Location should be your USB Drive Name.
  4. Choose the size closest to the total capacity of your USB drive; make sure the size is smaller. As for the Encryption menu, choose either 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption. As for the Partitions, choose Single Partition.
  5. Go to Image Format and click on Read/write disk image. Finally, click Create.
  6. A small window will appear where you will be asked to provide a password. Don’t lose your password, as you will not be able to access your data without a password.
  7. Paste all your old files onto the drive; place them on the DMG disk image file. If you don’t save them in that file, they will not be password protected.

Encrypt Flash drive In Windows:

Windows 7 and above versions have an internal feature called BitLocker, which encrypts internal and external drives. Unfortunately, Password protection is not available as a built-in feature in Windows XP, 7, 8, or even in 10. But there are few third-party tools available for password protection.

Another tool called “TrueCrypt,” which is now moved to BitLocker was previously used for the same purposes.

In this section, we’ll show you:

  1. How to Encrypt Folders & Texts Files in Windows
  2. How to encrypt Full USB Drive in Windows by using BitLocker.
  3. Method to encrypt particular folder inside your USB

Encryption With BitLocker:

STEP #1:

Plug the USB drive and move your data from it once it’s done! Format the USB by NTFS Format.

STEP #2:

Right Click on your Flash Drive and Click on ” Turn On BitLocker”.

encryp flash drive windows 7 - step-1

STEP #3:

Checkmark the first option, that enables the password Fields, Enter your desire password and hit next.

encryp flash drive windows 7 - step-2

STEP #4:

In this step, you need to save your “private key” in a somewhere safe location. If you forgot your password, it is recommended to keep your password to your cloud or online drive. After that, Click on Next. It will take a little time to process, depending on your Flash Drive Storage and your PC Performance. Usually, It takes about 1 minute per 1 GB.

STEP #5:

Once it’s done! Unplug the Flash Drive and Plug it again, when you reconnect your USB Flash Drive it will ask you for the password to get in there.

Note: In this method, you will only encrypt a full USB flash drive.

How To Encrypt A Folder In Flash Drive:

In this tutorial, you will see how you can encrypt a particular folder inside your Flash drive. That is the best way to encrypt and protect your Folder data; it’s also best because; you don’t need to insert the password each time you want to access other files on your USB.

Unfortunately, there is no built-in feature available for Windows users for that specific task. But you can use third-party tools like Lacie Free Encrypted Tool to Encrypt your Folder.

  1. You need to download ZIP Files From the Lacie website. Download and extract the files.
  2. Copy All Extracted Folders and paste into your USB Flash Drive.
  3. Remember “this folder should be copied and pasted into the root, it shouldn’t be inside any subfolder, otherwise it won’t work”
  4. Paste all the Extracted Folder inside your USB Flash Drive.
  5. Go to the extracted folder and find the private-public.exe file and run it.
  6. This is where you can give a size to your folder, in my case I’m just using 500Mb for demonstration. After giving the size of your folder simply click on “Next”
  7. Now create a password for that folder: choose the password and click next.
  8. Hit Next and the process will start in few seconds, it also depends on your data and PC performance, usually, it takes 1 minute per 1 GB transfer.
  9. When it’s done, it will take you to the disk mounting process. Here, you just need to put your created password in the fields.

It’s almost completed, if you go to “my computer” you can see there are some other drive pop-ups! which you have created. Put all the sensitive data in it and it will automatically save into an encrypted folder inside Flash Drive.

Now all of your data in an encrypted drive is protected through encryption. and once you disconnect the USB Flash drive, the encrypted drive will go away from the sidebar or in “My Computer.”

When you reconnect your Flash Drive, it will not show you the encrypted folder you have created because it’s hidden. To retrieve that, you need to go to your USB storage and again run the private-public.exe, and this time it will just ask for a password.

Once you provide the password, that will drive show again, and you can check your data inside.

Encrypt Flash drive In Ubuntu

Like other operating systems, there are encrypted tools available, which are called third-party tools that are perfectly compatible with Linux & Ubuntu.

In this tutorial, we will see how you can encrypt Flash Drive by using Disk Utility.

  1. The first step is to plug in your USB Flash Drive and Copy All the data Somewhere else.
  2. Go to the dashboard Home and type Disk Utility
  3. Find your Flash drive and click on it
  4. Click on unmount the Volume so you can format the disk before encryption
  5. Now Hit Format Drive and be patient
  6. Now here you can encrypt a full disk or create a partition of encrypted storage.
  7. Check the “Encrypt underlying device” and create the drive
  8. Now Create New password for your encrypted folder and hit “Create”
  9. Now when you disconnect your USB and Reconnect Your USB you will see the dialog box asking for the password.

Finally, the encryption of your folder or drive is complete. Here is the Video Tutorial if you want.

Risks Of Encrypting Flash Drive?

When we think about encryption, it always seems beneficial, which is mostly true. However, in encrypting a flash drive, there are some issues to which a user is still prone.

The password could be the most significant issue as the whole encryption process depends on keeping a strong password. If your password is easy to guess or doesn’t contain strong characters, there are chances to be revealed.

Most people write down the password to remember it, which produces the chances of losing it. Also, if the encrypted flash drive is entered into a compromised device with keylogging software, you may lose the password while entering it.

However, the most probable risk is losing the password if you forget it and there is no chance to decrypt USB data without a password. But, there are ways to recover passwords such as BitLocker’s recovery key or a clue or store it securely.

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