How to Password Protect Your USB Drive

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Flash or USB drives are affordable, compact, and convenient devices which provide users with portability when backing up or transferring important information from one computer system to the next. In order to safeguard important and private information in case the flash drive is stolen or lost, users should protect their flash drives with a password. Although there are a number of removable drives with built-in password protection, there are others that do not automatically provide protection. There are several encryption and password applications that can be availed of for free and there are others that may be purchased.

Materials Needed:
- Flash drive
- computer
- encryption programs such as Cryptainer LE
- password
Step 1
The process of password protecting the USB drives involves the download and installation of a freeware application known as Cryptainer LE onto the user’s laptop or computer. Although there are a number of USB drives that allow users to set up passwords when using the flash drive for the first time, free encryption programs are available on the Internet. A password is then typed in by the user. This may be comprised of characters ranging from 8 up to 100.
Step 2
When entering the password, the user should make sure that the location and size of the file is defined so that the user may modify it each time he or she chooses to do so. The password is typed in when prompted by the application.
Step 3
Upon the completion of the installation of the Crytainer LE, install the Cryptainer Mobile. At the menu bar located at the topmost part of the screen, select 'Tools'. Choose Install Cryptainer Mobile and then follow the series of prompts that appear. The Cryptainer LE’s Mobile version comes bundled with the said application.
Step 4
The next step involves closing the Cryptainer LE encryption application on the computer. The user should then choose a location and a password for the application’s Mobile version. All the information in the USB drive should then be encrypted because encrypted data could be accessed only by a user who has the correct information to unlock it. Encryption provides protection to information in case someone else manages to get hold of the USB drive and figures out the password. In order to protect pertinent folders and files, place them inside the vault where the encrypted files are located.
Step 5
What should then follow is the installation of anti-virus software. A USB drive infected with malware could result in data loss, an inability to access files, or data hacked by remote intruders. The installation of anti-virus software helps maintain a virus-free flash drive.
Step 6
Lastly, users should make sure to delete bits of data that are no longer needed from the USB drive. Regular methods of deletion may not be able to remove all the remnants of the user’s information that is why it is advisable to download applications capable of performing several wipes for added security.