Do You Think Your USB Flash is Protected? Learn How to Protect Your USB disks Using BitLocker.

It is usually a nightmare and a bit of hell experience for many folks who have lost valuable data stored on their memory sticks like a USB Flash or external Hard Disk Drive. At the same time, the information you place or store in your Flash can be accessed by anyone who gets hold of these sensitive materials.

There are several available Software and Hardware that one can use to encrypt your flash content and then lock it down with a password. However, majority of this software options require that you have administrative access to your PC. Fortunately too, Microsoft has included an encryption tool called BitLocker that can enable you do all of that.

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.

Untitled3. On the Choose How You Want To Unlock This Drive page, choose one or more for the following options, and then click Next:

  • 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.
  • 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:
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.

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