Password Protect USB Drive or folders on drive

Security has had a huge hole opened up with large portable storage becoming so inexpensive. A user's entire work folder can be copied and taken with them on a drive costing less than their lunch. They don't always realize the actual cost of the storage is in the data and what can happen if it's lost or stolen. Passwords on storage help thwart malicious or accidental access to confidential access, though ease of access and usability are important to keep the users on the right path.

Bitlocker to Go is an easy way to encrypt and password protect entire USB drive

(Windows Enterprise required during setup but not for using once protected)

To enable BitLocker encryption on a USB flash drive, do the following:

  1. Insert the USB flash drive, click Start, and then click Computer.
  2. Right-click the USB flash drive, and then click Turn On BitLocker. BitLocker initializes the drive.
  3. On the Choose How You Want To Unlock This Drive page, choose one or more for the following options, and then click Next:
    1. Use A Password To Unlock This Drive Select this option if you want the user to be prompted for a password to unlock the drive. Passwords allow a drive to be unlocked in any location and to be shared with other people.
    2. Use My Smart Card To Unlock The Drive Select this option if you want the user to use a smart card and enter the smart card PIN to unlock the drive. Because this feature requires a smart card reader, it is normally used to unlock a drive in the workplace and not for drives that might be used outside the workplace.
  4. On the How Do You Want To Store Your Recovery Key page, click Save The Recovery Key To A File.
  5. In the Save BitLocker Recovery Key As dialog box, choose a save location, and then click Save.
  6. You can now print the recovery key if you want to. When you have finished, click Next.
  7. On the Are You Ready To Encrypt This Drive page, click Start Encrypting. Do not remove the USB flash drive until the encryption process is complete. How long the encryption process takes depends on the size of the drive and other factors.

The encryption process does the following:

As a result, when AutoPlay is enabled and you insert the encrypted drive into a USB slot on a computer running Windows 7, Windows 7 runs the BitLocker To Go reader, which in turn displays a dialog box. When you are prompted, enter the password, smart card PIN, or both to unlock the drive. Optionally, select Automatically Unlock On This Computer From Now On to save the password in an encrypted file on the computer’s system volume. Finally, click Unlock to unlock the volume so that you can use it.

  1. Adds an Autorun.inf file, the BitLocker To Go reader, and a Read Me.txt file to the USB flash drive.
  2. Creates a virtual volume with the full contents of the drive in the remaining drive space.
  3. Encrypts the virtual volume to protect it.USB flash drive encryption takes approximately 6 to 10 minutes per gigabyte to complete. The encryption process can be paused and resumed provided that you don’t remove the drive.

Truecrypt is a free encryption system that works well when encrypting folders or sections of a USB drive as well as system drives

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