A USB flash drive, also known as a pen drive or a thumb drive, is a portable storage device. These features make them the perfect vehicles to import data between computers. Due to portability, however, they are also easily lost. If you have sensitive data – such as bank account statements, credit card numbers, or your own brilliant plans, you should password protect your USB flash drive, if not the whole drive, than at least those particular files.
You've got three options to encrypt USB flash drives: manually save files with a password, encrypt the flash drive with hardware encryption or buy a special, encrypted flash drive. Have a look at them one by one. Then password protect Kingston USB drive, SanDisk and other USB drives as well.
Option 1: Manually Save Files with a Password on Windows OS
Many programs, including Word and Excel, allow you to save files with a password. You can encrypt individual files and folders on a USB flash drive in the same way.
Step 1. Choose "Tools" from the menu bar at the top of the program, such as Microsoft Word, and pick "Options".
Step 2. Select "Security" from the many tabs display in the new popup window. Create a password in the "Password to Open" or "Password to modify" section and click "OK" at the bottom of the box.
Step 3. Confirm your password when prompted. Drag the password protected files to your flash drive. To open a protected file, enter the password when prompted.
Option 2: Password Protect File on USB Flash Drive with Hardware Encryption
You have to pick out an encryption program. Here we discuss TrueCrypt for example, which runs perfectly on Windows OS computer. Download and install it on your Windows PC. Before you proceed, make sure the following items are handy:
A computer with the Windows operating system
A working USB port
Administrative rights on the PC
A copy of TrueCrypt installer
Step 1. After installing TrueCrypt, connect the USB flash drive and click "Browse" button. Select the USB flash drive from the list and click the "OK" button.
Step 2. Type "TruCrypt" after the USB flash drive letter, and click the "Extract" button.
Step 3. TrueCrypt will extract all the necessary files to a destination path. After extracting, click "OK".
Step 4. TrueCrypt will open the destination folder in Windows Explorer. Run the "TrueCrypt.exe" double clicking on it. Then click the "Create Volume" button.
Step 5. Select the "Create an encrypted file container" radio button and click "Next".
Step 6. Select the "Standard TrueCrypt volume" radio button and click "OK".
Step 7. In Volume Location, type the drive letter followed by the TrueCrypt container file name. Remember to specify the file extension, i.e. ".tc", "G:\myud\\data.tc" for example. Click the "Next" button to continue.
Step 8. In "Encryption Options", click "Next". Then type in the volume size and select the appropriate radio button. Then click "Next".
Step 9. Type in a password for the encrypted volume. Click the "Next" button to continue.
Step 10. In Volume Format, click "Format". Then click on "Format"" button. Just relax and wait while TrueCrypt creates the encrypted volume.
Then click "OK" when the progress finishes. Thus you have done how to password protect a USB flash drive successfully.
Option 3: Buy a USB Flash Drive with Built-in Password Protection
You can buy specific flash drives that have built-in password protection. They tend to be a little pricey but in some ways, they are almost perfect for this kind of an application.
Frankly, it's not recommended comparing with the two options mentioned above. They are more flexible and less costly.
Need to password protect your USB flash drives in Windows? Go and choose one from the three options.