Encrypt USB Drive or Hard Drive with Bitlocker

encrypt usb key
encrypt usb key

Last updated: December 26, 2022

BitLocker is a data protection software developed by Microsoft which provides partition encryption. It is present in the professional and full versions of Windows 7 et Windows 10. However, it is not available in the edition Windows 10 Family.

BitLocker software allows you to encrypt usb drive or an entire hard drive. Their content can then be read only with a password.

Like this you go help protect your device data so that it can only be accessed by authorized individuals. So if you do steal your pc, your data contained by it will be unreadable or inaccessible.

How do you encrypt your USB drive with Bitlocker?

  • First, run Windows with an administrator account.
  • Then, in the search box on the taskbar, type Manage BitLocker then select it from the list of results.
    manage-bitlocker
  • Now select the USB stick or hard drive you want to encrypt and click on Enable BitLocker.
interface-enable-bitlocker
How do I activate BitLocker?
  • A form will appear for choose the data protection mode. In my case, I chose the “Password". Now enter the password and click Next.
bitlocker-usb-key-hard-drive-unlock-mode
Choose the hard drive unlock mode
  • Then choose the backup mode for your recovery key and click the Next button.
  • On the next screen you need to decide whether encrypt only the disk space used so far, or encrypt your entire PC drive. If you are encrypting a brand new PC without any files, the option to only encrypt used disk space is best for you, as new files will be encrypted as they are added.
    bitlocker-encryption-mode

Finally, click Start encryption.

You will see a notification telling you that the encryption is now in progress.
Bitlocker-encryption-notification-in-progress

Just let Windows do its job, and in a few hours, you will have a drive encrypted with BitLocker. The time it takes BitLocker to fully encrypt your files depends on the size of your drive or the amount of data you are encrypting.

Be careful, on Windows XP or even on MAC, A USB key encrypted by BitLocker will no longer be readable.