Password Protect External Hard Drives on Windows and Mac

I don’t need to explain the importance of protecting your external hard drives. If you regularly back up your primary machine (which you should if you don’t already), you are using an external hard drive to do so. No matter how secure your computer is, no one can prevent someone from taking your external hard drive and accessing your data. Even if you don’t back up to your hard drive, there are tons of files on them that you might want to keep away from prying eyes. Since anyone using any device can access hard drives, it’s always better to protect yours by encrypting them. An encrypted hard drive always requires a password before anyone can access its contents. So if you haven’t protected your external hard drives until now, this How to password protect external hard drives on Mac and Windows:

Password Protected External Hard Drive on Mac

There are two different methods you can use to encrypt your external hard drives on Mac. Both methods come with macOS. You don’t need any external software to do this. However, before you begin, create and write down a strong password that you will use to decrypt your hard drive after it has been encrypted.

note: I tried these methods on my MacBook Pro running macOS High Sierra, but the method should also work on macOS Sierra and older.

Method 1: Using Finder

one. Finder window and find your place External Drive above.

2. Then, rright click (control + click) on the drive icon select andEncrypt (drive name)” from the drop-down menu.

Enabling encryption

3. A dialog box will open asking you to do the following. create a strong password and a hint. Enter the password you created earlier and type a hint. If you think you can remember the password without a hint, just type anything to drive people away (creating a hint is mandatory).

Entering a password

4. Your hard drive will now be encrypted in the background. Depending on the size of the files inside, it can take a lot of time. If you are using a large hard drive, it is better to leave it overnight.

Method 2: Using the Disk Utility Tool

You can also encrypt your external hard drive using the Disk Utility Tool. One thing to keep in mind is that this method will delete all your data before encryption hard drive. Therefore, it is only suitable for a new hard drive. The main use of Disk Utility Tool is when you want to encrypt only a part of the drive, not the entire drive. Disk Utility Tool allows you to create partitions on your hard drive and then encrypt the partition you want to encrypt.

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1. Open Disk Utility Tool by searching for it in Spotlight or navigating to. Finder->Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility. Choose your external drive from the menu on the left and then “delete” button. Note that if there is any data on the drive, it will be deleted using this process.

Disk Utility 13. Give the driver a name, and then Click on “Format”. choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)” option from the drop-down menu as shown in the image below.

format with encryption

4. As before, set a strong password and enter any hint if you want. Now, Click the “Select” button to format and encrypt your drive.

Entering a password

5. After the process is finished, you will see your drive is now encrypted. It will be below the description. See picture for reference.

Showing encrypted

Using any of the above methods will encrypt your external hard drive on Mac. Now when you plug your hard drive into any machine you will see a prompt to enter the password before accessing its content.

Password Requesting

Password Protected External Hard Drive in Windows

Just like Mac, Windows comes with a built-in disk encryptor called “.Bitlocker drive encryption”. However, a point to be noted here is that this function only available for Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows. If you want to encrypt your external hard drive using the main version of Windows, you will need to use third-party software. First, we’ll start with locking your external drive using the Pro version of Windows.

Method 1: Using the built-in tool in Windows Pro/Enterprise Edition

1. Open the “BitLocker Drive Encryption” menu. Control Panel->System and Security->BitLocker Drive Encryption.

Bitlocker drive encryption

2. By default, BitLocker is turned off for all drives. To encrypt the drive, select it and Click “Turn On BitLocker”.

Turning On Bitlocker

3. Checkmark “Use a password to unlock the drive” Select and enter a strong password. Click Next.

password setting

4. Now a backup of your recovery key. You will need it in case you forget your password. Choose the option you want. I chose the save to file option myself.

Saving the unlock key

5. The next step is to start the encryption process as follows: Clicking on the “Start encryption” button.

Start Encryption

Now all you have to do is wait until your drive is fully encrypted. Encryption time will depend on the size of your external drive and the files inside.

Method 2: Using a Third-Party Software

There are many third-party encryption software on the market and you can use any of them. We’ve already covered a list of the best encryption software available for Windows, and you can read all about them here. For the purpose of this tutorial we will use “VeraCrypt”Besides being one of the best on the market, it’s completely free.

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  1. Download and install After Installing the software by clicking this link, open the program and then insert your hard drive. Now Click “Create Volume” and select the middle option (Encrypt a non-system partition/drive) from the popup that pops up and then click next.

first page 1

2. “Standard VeraCrypt volume” and click Next.

sound type

3. On the next page, click on it. select device and do the same in the dropdown. Remember select the option below, not the disk name which section is displayed.

select file

4. On the next page, the first option will wipe the data before encrypting the drive, while the second will save it. choose option you want. After that, follow the onscreen instructions and continue until your device is encrypted.

delete or save

Note that after your disk is encrypted, you can: access your files using VeraCrypt only software. The software must be installed on the device you want to access your external drives on. The decryption process is also slightly different.

  1. To decrypt your drive, open the software and select any of the drives from the menu, and then Click “Select Device” choice. Select your drive as in step 3 of the encryption process.vera

2. Click the mount button and enter your password in the popup menu. After entering the password. Minimize the software and open My Computer. Find the drive name of your choice (in this case “Y”) and double-click it to open. This will show you all the contents of the external drive.


SEE ALSO: How to Encrypt Your Android Device to Keep Your Personal Data Safe

Encrypt External Drives to Save Personal Data

Encrypting your external drive with password protection is essential to protect your data. Unlike your computer, your hard drive is very easy to access and your data is at higher risk. Use the above methods to protect your data from unauthorized access. Let us know in the comment section below if you encounter any issues while using any of the above methods.