How to encrypt USB drives in Windows 10

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Hey, what’s up? Despite the advance of cloud storage, USB storage devices are still widely used. In fact, it’s a quick and easy way to carry information. As they are widely used, it is normal for users to be concerned about the protection of the data on them. Similarly, these devices are connected to various computers, public and private. It is in these cases that data can be lost or corrupted. This often causes serious problems. On the other hand, it is not enough to assign a password to the device, it is also ideal to encrypt the information. Consequently, Windows 10 provides a tool to protect internal and external drives. This tool is BitLocker. And in this post, we will see how to use it to encrypt USB drives in Windows 10.

Some features of BitLocker.

BitLocker has an option that allows blocking the system startup process. Consequently, the system will load only when the user enters a pin or a device with the password. Here are some of its most important features:

  • BitLocker supports 128- and 256-bit XTS-AES keys
  • Encrypt and recover devices with Azure Active Directory
  • A new Group Policy designed to configure Windows pre-boot recovery has been added
  • It is possible to enable the Credential Guard function without UEFI blocking
  • Improved Credentials Manager Support
  • XTS-AES encryption algorithm This is special against those of direct attacks to the encryption. These attacks are based on manipulating encrypted text to edit system changes

Process for encrypting the external storage drive.

In the first place, right-click on the USB drive and select Turn on BitLocker.

Turn on BitLocker.
Turn on BitLocker.

Forthwith, it will start the configuration wizard. It will ask for the type of unlocking: Password and smart card. In this case, we will use a password. With this intention, add the password along with its validation.

Choose a password as a method of unlocking.
Choose a password as a method of unlocking.

Next, you can choose where to backup the recovery key. The options are: Save to Microsoft account, save to file and print the recovery key. For this purpose, save the key to a file.

Save the recovery key to a file.
Save the recovery key to a file.

It then stores the key in a secure directory.

Saves the recovery key in a trusted directory
Saves the recovery key in a trusted directory

Subsequently, two encryption options are offered. New encryption with improved security but not compatible with older versions of Windows. And compatible encryption. Depending on the use that will be given to the USB device then make the selection.

Select the type of encryption.
Select the type of encryption.

After the previous preparations have been made, the wizard will start the encryption of the device.

Initiating unit encryption.

After completing the encryption process, click on Close to exit the wizard.

Encryption completed
Encryption completed

Then open the file browser and on the removable drive, you will see a lock icon indicating that the drive is encrypted.

File browser showing the encrypted drive
File browser showing the encrypted drive

Reverse the encryption process

After encrypting the unit, it is necessary to enter the password to gain access. If at any point you no longer need BitLocker, you can disable it. With this in mind, right-click on the drive and select Manage BitLocker

Enter in Manage BitLocker
Enter in Manage BitLocker

In the next window, click on Turn Off BitLocker

Turn Off BitLocker
Turn Off BitLocker

A warning message will be displayed. Please confirm the Turn off BitLocker to begin the process.

Start the decryption process
Start the decryption process

Immediately the assistant will start the process. When finished, press Close to exit.

Now when you enter the file browser, the removable drive is displayed without a lock icon. Consequently, it can be accessed without any problem

Non-encrypted USB drive
Non-encrypted USB drive

Finally, we’ve seen how to encrypt USB drives in Windows 10. With this simple method, you can add a password and encrypt the USB drive using BitLocker. This increases the security of our USB devices and protects the most sensitive information. Well, this is it! Before I say goodbye, I invite you to review our post about scheduling the automatic shutdown in Windows 10

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