How to password protect a USB memory stick

Many times it is necessary password protect USB memory data. This is because they usually store documents, photos, videos and computer applications. These files need to be kept safe in case memory is lost or stolen. It is a small device, which can be easily lost, so protecting it with a password is important.

Password protect USB memory data

To know how protect a USB stick or any other external drive with password in Windows, the best option is BitLocker. This is a Microsoft tool that is pre-installed in almost all versions of this operating system. In the event that you do not have it installed on your computer, you can download it from its page. You must download the corresponding version, either 32-bit or 64-bit.

When you have installed BitLocker, it should be activated. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Go to the This Computer folder, which is where you can see all your storage drives.
  • When you’re in the folder, right-click and select the Enable BitLocker option.

  • The option to Use a password to unlock the unit will be displayed, and when you press, you will have to type the password twice, to confirm.
  • In this way, Windows will generate a recovery key. This key is necessary in case you do not remember it. You have the option to select where you are going to save it, if in your Microsoft account or if you are going to print them.
  • Next, you must choose the type of encryption, between a fast and a slow one. The difference between the two is that slow encryption also encrypts data that has been erased and can be recovered.
  • Keep in mind that file encryption is a way to protect files from being read, in case someone accesses the information.
  • You just need to choose the encryption mode. As it is a USB drive, the option to select is Compatible Mode. This way you can use the unit on any other computer that has Windows installed.
  • The system then verifies the instructions given, before accepting and starting the encryption process.
  • When you click on Confirm, the process starts. And so every time you use the USB drive, it will be necessary to enter the password that you have established.

This method is not the only alternative you have to password protect a USB drive in Windows. There are third-party programs that can be used to protect a USB memory drive, using a password for added security.

Password protect a USB drive in macOS

With the FileVault tool it’s the easiest way to password protect USB drive on macIOS. It must be activated in the Filevault section, found under Security and Privacy in the System Preferences section.

The process of setting a password to a USB device with a Mac is very simple:

  • Connect a formatted drive to the computer and right-click on its icon on the desktop.
  • Then select the Encrypt option, so that you can add the password that you are going to set to protect the USB drive.
  • In this way you will have the memory unit protected with a password.

The FileVault tool works as an automatic encryption system. This encryption will require the login password or a key that is generated automatically by the system. So you can recover and access the information found on the USB drive. If for any reason you lose or forget any of the two keys, you will lose all the information you have on the USB drive.

Another option you have in macOS is to use the Disk Utility tool, but it is a bit more complicated process. The process is the following:

  • First open the Disk Utility tool.
  • Then select the USB drive on the left side.
  • Click on the Delete option to format it. Keep in mind that you must copy the information in another place, so that you do not lose it.
  • In the drop-down menu select Scheme and then GUID Partition Map.
  • Now in the Format drop-down menu, select any of the options that have the word encrypted.
  • Enter the password and then tap Select to continue the formatting process.

On a Mac you will have to enter password every time you want to access the USB drive. When you are connected, you do not need to re-enter the password to access the information.

Password protect USB in Linux

On Linux for put password to a USB drive, the process is very similar to what is done in macOS:

  • The first step is to connect the drive to one of the computer’s USB ports.
  • Next, right-click on the memory drive and select the Format volume option.
  • Before doing the formatting, you must enter the password with which you are going to protect the USB drive.
  • When you go to choose to format the volume you have to continue with the formatting settings. You must delete all the content in order to reformat it with a password.

How to password protect a USB memory stick

  • To do this click on Delete and then choose Overwrite existing data with zeros.
  • Then click on Type and check the Encryption option.
  • When doing this configuration, two pop-up windows will open, one for you to enter the password and the other to confirm it.
  • Now all you have to do is name the volume so that the formatting process can start.
  • It is recommended to create a password that is strong, long, and has alphanumeric and special characters.
  • As the password is entered, you will see an indicator that indicates the strength of the key. If when characters are added the indicator turns green, it is a sign that you have entered a password that is highly secure.
  • The type of formatting chosen is slow, since strong encryption is required. Due to this, it is necessary to wait a few minutes, depending on the storage capacity of the external drive

Third-party tools to password a USB drive

Another alternative for put password on USB drive, is to use programs that perform this task. Some of the most used are:


This is a tool that is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. Therefore, it can be used no matter what system is installed on the computer. You can protect the USB memory or any other external storage device with a password.

It is very easy to use:

  • Open the tool and click on Create Volume.
  • Then select the option to Encrypt partition / secondary drive.
  • A pop-up window will open in which the system requests permission for encryption and where the access password is set.

RoHos Mini Drive

This program is compatible with Windows, and offers the possibility of encrypt a USB drive. You can set a password so that you can protect the data that is stored in it. The process is generally fast, but this will depend on the amount of data that is stored in memory.

When the program is told where the pendrive drive is connected, the software itself creates a virtual drive that is always encrypted. This can only be viewed with the Rohos Mini Browser. This software runs from the USB drive. You also have the option of using a virtual keyboard.

USB Safeguard

This is another very popular tool, and is frequently used to protect USB sticks. It has an interface that is not very modern, but it works perfectly. It is downloaded for free, but keep in mind that the freemium version has limitations. Among these limitations is the maximum memory capacity, which cannot exceed 4 GB.

In case you need apply a password to a memory of greater capacity, you must buy the Premium version. One of the most interesting functions it has, is that it sends a reminder if you forget what the password is.

LaCie Private-Public

This is one of the easiest programs to use. You just have to indicate which is the unit in which the memory unit is connected. Enter the password and it will automatically begin to encrypt the USB. The program must format the drive in order to create the encryption disk with a specific volume. This you must take into account and support the information. To enter the part of the disk that has been encrypted, you only need to enter password when requested.

Advantages of putting a password on a USB memory stick

Although for many people it is not essential put a password on the USB memory stick, This action offers numerous advantages. They are primarily user privacy, allowing information to be kept completely secure. Thus, if the drive is lost or stolen, your data or the files it contains will not be accessible. In the same way, you will have the opportunity to save all the information you want without the fear of another person seeing it.

Another very important advantage it offers is that, through this method, the USB drive information it will be protected from malware attack. However, it is advisable to create a password that is secure, but easy to remember. It is recommended that it be very personal, so that it is difficult to decipher.

Put a password on a USB drive It is a protective measure that it is advisable to apply. USB drives are highly susceptible to being lost, and therefore easy to compromise. If you have important or very personal information stored, it can fall into the wrong hands and create inconvenience. So it is recommended to have the drive protected with a strong password.

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