Are you always carrying a USB flash drive with personal information and you are afraid that it might be accidentally accessed by someone else ? Well, in this article we are going to tell you how you can protect your USB flash drive with a password.
USB Flash drives have become the most efficient support for transporting data as they now provide a storage capacity that can easily reach 16 GB, and the small and compact format is ideal to carry it with you at all times.
Most of the times, the USB flash drives we use on a day to day basis contains photos, movies and other multimedia materials, however many times we also add personal details on them.
Regardless of the data you store on USB flash drives, we are sure that you do not want other people to access them, however sometimes you might leave your USB flash drive into the open and thus you risk attracting the attention of other people, people who are curious to see what you store on your USB flash drive,
This is why we are going to talk about two solutions that you can use to make sure your personal information you store on your USB flash drive is secure.
The first, and the most drastic method, or solution, involves the complete encryption of your USB drive with the help of a free application named TrueCrypt, while the second method is much simpler and just as efficient: archiving your documents and protecting them with a password.
How to Encrypt Your USB Flash Drive With TrueCrypt
TrueCrypt is a open source application that works on Windows Xp, Vista, Windows 7, Linux and Mac OS and it allows you to encrypt a USB flash drive that can only be accessed if you type a password, a password that you choose.
TrueCrypt is a complex application capable of creating many encryption operation, but in this article we are only going to talk about encrypting a USB flash drive.
The first step is to download the application from it’s official website and to install it. The installation process is very simple, don’t worry.
After installation, you only have to start the program. You will find a interface from where you can manage all your encrypted USB Flash drives. Because we want to encrypt a USB flash drive we choose the Create Volume option.
Because we are talking about a USB Flash drive, we are going to choose the Encrypt a non-System partition / Drive option.
For everything to go smoothly, in the next step choose Standard TrueCrypt Volume.
Now we have to choose the USB flash drive we want to encrypt.
In the next step choose Create Encrypted Volume and Format It.
Next you have to choose the encryption algorithms, and here you can basically choose any combination you want because they are all just as powerful.
We’re almost ready!
This is also the most important step: choosing a password with the help of which you can access the data on your USB Flash drive.
In the end, you have to choose the file system, check Quick Format and to press on Format.
If everything goes well you will get a confirmation message.
How to Access Data on An Encrypted USB Flash Drive
The main disadvantage of encrypting a USB flash drive is that you will need the TrueCrypt program installed on the computer you want to access it on.
The step you need to follow are very simple: you start TrueCrypt, choose the letter you want to assign and select “Select Device”, and in the window that appears you select your USB drive.
Now press on Mount and in the next window you will have to type the password you picked earlier.
After your password was confirmed, you will be able to access your USB flash drive with the help of every file manager.
When you want to remove the USB flash drive, return to TrueCrypt, and select Dismount.
TrueCrypt – Disadvantages
As we said above, the main disadvantage of this method is that you will have to install TrueCrypt on every computer you want to use your USB drive on.
Even if TrueCrypt allows you to install a portable version of the application, the software has to install system drivers and this can’t be done if you don’t have administrator privileges.
How to Password Protect Your USB Flash Drive With WinRAR
If encrypting your USB drive is too complicated for you, you can use a simpler solution: password protecting your files by archiving them with WinRAR.
To do this, open WinRAR, go to the folder you want to archive and click on Add.
To choose a password for this archive, go to the Advanced tab and click on the Set password button.
In the window that pops up, type your password twice and you might also want to choose Encrypt File Names. The archiving process starts after you hit the OK button and you will get a secured archive.
Disadvantages of password protecting your files with WinRAR
This solution also requires WinRAR to be installed on the computer you want to use. Still, WinRAR is surely installed on almost every PC or laptop.
If you are storing important files on your USB flash drive, files that nobody else must see, using an encryption method can save you a lot of problems.
Encrypting your USB drive with TrueCrypt and password protecting your files with WinRAR are two methods that can help you, even if they both come with some disadvantages.