Encrypting USB Using Bitlocker
With Window 7 and later, BitLocker Drive Encryption helps protect sensitive data from being accessed by unauthorized users who come into possession of lost, stolen, or improperly decommissioned computers.
Activating BitLocker ToGo
1. Insert the USB device that needs encrypting and then from the Start button, select Computer. Right-click on the USB device and select the option Turn On Bitlocker.
2. BitLocker should start initialising the USB device. This process is non-destructive; therefore data already on the drive will not be affected.
3. Once initialisation is complete, BitLocker ToGo will ask how you want to unlock the drive. Select 'Use a password to unlock the drive' and enter a strong password. Remember that the level of protection provided by BitLocker encryption is related to the strength of your chosen password. You should choose complex password that include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols and that are at least 8 characters long.
4. After you set up a password, BitLocker ToGo will prompt you to store a recovery key.
5. Store the recovery key file somewhere safe and never with the USB device. You can use the recovery key to unlock your drive in the event that you forget the password.
6. Choose to encrypt the whole drive, or only disk space currently in use - encrypting the entire drive offers greater protection against unauthorized recovery of deleted files, but will take more time.
7. Select the encryption method to use - if you are going to use the disk on computers that are running Windows versions older than 10, then select Compatible Mode. Otherwise, if the disk is only going to be used with Windows 10 devices, select New Encryption Mode.
After saving your recovery key and selecting your encryption settings, BitLocker will prompt you to begin encrypting the drive. Select Start Encrypting to begin.
- The amount of time that it will take to complete the process will depend on how large the drive is. There is a Pause button which will allow you to temporarily halt the process, should you need to perform another task.
8. A message box will display once encryption is completed. Click Close and you're ready to start using the encrypted drive.
Using a Bitlocker ToGo encrypted device in Windows 7 or later.
9. The first time you try to access a BitLocker ToGo encrypted drive in a Windows system, you're prompted to enter the password.
- The Automatically unlock on this computer from now on option will store the password in the Windows password cache, removing the need to enter the password upon susbsequent use on that PC.
- Once you have entered the password, click Unlock to gain access to the drive.