How To Encrypt and Password Protect Your USB Sticks?

Your PC, laptop and even PDAs can all be protected from illegal access with a password using dedicated file security programs. Users get prompted for a password every time they attempt to open the protected files. Yeah, this is cool! But, do you know that you too can protect your USB sticks from illegal access using password? Every time a user tries to open and format your USB stick, he will be asked for a correct password. And the coolest part about it is that you don’t need to install third party application just to encrypt and password protect your files and documents stored on your USB sticks.

If you rely on USB stick or portable hard disk as your main storage device, you should take the full advantage of BitLocker. BitLocker is a built-in program of Windows 7 designed to help you restrict access to your pen drives and external disks. Encrypting and protecting your USB sticks with a password using BitLocker is just a matter of minutes. Here’s the step by step guide on how you can secure your files/documents inside your thumb drive by encrypting and setting up a password.

Step 1 - Insert your portable hard disk (e.g. USB flash drive).

Step 2 - Using Windows Explorer, map and right click your USB stick and select "Turn on BitLocker".

Step 3 - A small window should now pop up prompting you for a password. Enter your desired password and hit “Next”. (Note: this password will be required by the time you open your USB stick later).

Step 4 – BitLocker will now create and save a recovery key on your computer just in case you forget your password. Just select the first option to save the recovery key in a text file in a secure place.

Step 5 – BitLocker should now start encrypting your portable disk. The process could take a few minutes depending on the data volume in your removable disk.

Step 6 – Now once done, remove your USB stick and try to insert it again and voila, you should be prompted for a password!

Just because BitLocker is a Windows 7 application doesn’t mean you can still break and open your BitLocker-protected USB stick on your XP and Vista computers. The nice thing about BitLocker is that it is machine independent and should be useful for locking your USB thumb drives!

(By Freddie Lore of