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Encrypting a USB drive protects your sensitive files and data when they’re transferred between different locations. This tutorial shows how to encrypt a USB drive in Windows 10 and Windows 11 so that no one can read or access the data stored inside without entering the right password. You can later decrypt the USB with a password or recovery key, which is also very easy to do.

Tip: protect your personal information with mail encryption. Find out how it works and the best services that offer it.

Why You Should Encrypt Your Flash Drive

A USB drive is a portable device that offers a convenient way of storing and/or transferring your data, though this can come with several security risks. If you don’t encrypt your flash drive, anyone can get their hands on it and check your private files on their computer without your knowledge or consent.

Encrypting the USB stick is a reliable means of protecting it from data theft or exposure. It also allows you to delete your data more securely before discarding your drive, as it’s near impossible to recover deleted data from an encrypted drive.

Use BitLocker to Go

Windows 10 and 11 come with BitLocker, a feature that makes it easy to encrypt your hard drives When used for USB drives, it is technically called “BitLocker To Go.” BitLocker is only available in the Windows 10 and 11 Pro versions. If you’re using Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11 Home, scroll down for other alternatives.

To encrypt your USB drive using BitLocker To Go in supported Windows versions, follow the steps below:

1. Plug in USB Drive and Open in File Explorer

    Select “Open folder to view files.” It will open the USB drive in File Explorer.

    2. Turn On BitLocker

      Open Control Panel in Windows.

          You’ll be taken directly to Control Panel.

          Tip: need a new flash drive? These are the best portable USB options that you can buy.

          3. Use BitLocker to Encrypt USB Drive

            Wait a few seconds for BitLocker to initialize the drive. Don’t remove your USB during this setup.

              Check the “Use a password to unlock the drive” box.

                  You’ll get a prompt to back up a recovery key. This key allows you to access the USB drive in the event that you lose the encryption password. Save this key or print it out, but remember to store it safely.

                      Choose either New encryption mode or Compatible mode for the BitLocker drive. If you’re going to use the USB drive on the same computer, choose the new encryption mode. However, if you want to use it on other computers running old Windows versions, select “Compatible mode.”

                        Wait a few minutes for the encryption to complete. You can pause it in the middle of the process.

                              Once the device is encrypted and you try to open your USB drive in Windows File Explorer, you’ll see a lock button showing that it is securely encrypted. To access the drive now, you’ll be prompted to enter the password you created initially.

                                There are other options such as a smart card that will automatically unlock the drive on your computer or a recovery key if you forgot the password.

                                Good to know: learn how to enable quick removal of USB drives in Windows.

                                Use USB Drive Encryption Software

                                If you’re on a Windows Home edition, you won’t have access to BitLocker to Go. consider using an encryption manager to encrypt your USB drive in Windows. We have two of the best recommendations below.

                                1. VeraCrypt

                                VeraCrypt is one of the best USB encryption alternatives for Windows. It also supports macOS and Linux. It uses 256-bit AES encryption, which is very strong and can’t be cracked by brute force. You don’t have to install it on your Windows PC, just download it to your USB drive directly.

                                Download whichever is the latest stable release of the “VeraCrypt.exe” installer for Windows. In this case, we are downloading the Portable version.

                                    As soon as you see the home screen, select “Create new volume.” This will open a new pop-up window for VeraCrypt Volume Creation Wizard. Choose the “Encrypt a non-system partition/drive” option.

                                      Select the removable media flash drive for volume location.

                                          After entering the volume size in MB, you will need to enter the password for the USB drive volume.

                                              Select “Change volume password” for the USB drive.

                                                Rename the password.

                                                Tip: USB ports not working? We have a few tips you may want to try that will help you fix the issue.

                                                2. HasLeo BitLocker Anywhere

                                                HasLeo BitLocker Anywhere is a third-party BitLocker solution that resembles the Windows Pro BitLocker. Apart from Windows Pro, it also supports all editions of Windows Home ranging from Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11. This makes it very easy to use.

                                                Download and install the trial version of HasLeo BitLocker Anywhere.

                                                      Wait for the USB encryption to complete.

                                                      How to Decrypt Your USB Drive in Windows

                                                      After encrypting your USB drive, if you want to make it usable and sharable once again, you will need to decrypt it.

                                                      If you’re using Windows BitLocker or a third-party BitLocker software, such as HasLeo, go to the BitLocker Drive Encryption folder.

                                                        Wait a couple of minutes for the USB decrypting process to continue. You should see a status percentage message.

                                                          Once finished, you will see a “Decryption of the [USB] drive is complete” message alert. This means BitLocker has been disabled for the USB drive.

                                                            If you’re using VeraCrypt, it has a “Permanently Decrypt” option that you can access from the top of the “Volumes” tab.

                                                            Tip: did you know that you can back up your data by creating a USB image? We show you how.

                                                            Frequently Asked Questions What encryption does BitLocker use?

                                                            BitLocker has used the powerful 256-bit XTS-AES encryption mode since Windows 10 version 1511, which has continued all the way to Windows 11’s latest versions. It is impossible to break this with brute force attacks. With the improved algorithm, it also offers integrity support. Windows versions older than 1511 don’t have this new encryption mode. You can also use a lower 128-bit encryption standard with BitLocker.

                                                            After entering a password, the encryption process should start automatically.

                                                            Can qn encrypted USB be hacked?

                                                            An encrypted USB created using BitLocker, VeraCrypt, or similar powerful tools can never be hacked by brute force attacks. However, encryption doesn’t protect your data and files from human error. Disclosing your password to unauthorized users can cause data breaches, so you should consider using a password manager.

                                                            Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.

                                                            Sayak Boral

                                                            Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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                                                            You're reading How To Encrypt And Decrypt A Usb Drive In Windows

                                                            How To Use A Usb Drive To Logon In Windows

                                                            When it comes to Windows, text passwords have always been used traditionally to logon to Windows user accounts. And the text passwords should be long and complex so that people can’t guess them easily. Remembering a long and complex password is not easy. It becomes a headache especially when you have to logoff and logon to the computer frequently.

                                                            Although Windows 8 offers new forms of authentication like a picture password or a PIN code, the previous versions of Windows still use the text password authentication system. Windows can also use finger print security but you need a separate hardware device for setting up finger print security.

                                                            Rohos Logon Key is a fantastic free utility which turns your USB flash drive into a logon key. This means that you don’t have to enter your password again and again manually. Just insert the USB flash drive and you’re logged on automatically.

                                                            There are a few things that I would like to clear before proceeding further. If there is any data stored in the USB flash drive, it will not be lost and will stay intact. Rohos Logon Key will only create its own files for use and not touch the current data.

                                                            If you are concerned with the security, Rohos Logon Key does not store the actual user passwords in text form in the USB drive. The application data is stored with AES 256-bit encryption on the drive. So most probably, your user account will remain safe even if you lose access to the USB drive.

                                                            Let’s go to the USB drive and see what has been created there. Normally, you will not see anything additional in the USB drive. To see what Rohos Logon Key has added to the USB drive, you will need to go to “Folder Options” and uncheck “Hide protected operating system files” under View tab. You will also need to select “Show hidden files”, folders and drives. After that, you will be able to see a hidden folder called “_rohos”. It will contain a single file called “roh.roh”. If you try to open the file in a text editor, you will see some gibberish text which means that the file is encrypted.

                                                            There is one caution that I should give here. The free version of Rohos Logon Key does not provide an emergency logon that helps to access the computer in case you lost the USB drive. As an additional security measure, you should create an additional administrative user and keep its password in a safe place so that you can access the computer in case of emergency.

                                                            The professional version of Rohos Logon Key also provides a 2 factor authentication (USB Key + password) but it is needed only when you want to work in a very highly secure environment. Otherwise you can safely implement the free version security to make your user account more secure.

                                                            What methods do you use to secure your Windows accounts?

                                                            Rohos Logon Key

                                                            Usman Khurshid

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                                                            How To Encrypt And Secure Your Files On Google Drive

                                                            Google Drive is among the top consumer cloud platform on the web right now, which means, we as users must demand a higher level of security and privacy from the search giant. We cannot trust Google to do this 100 percent, and it has much to do with the company’s need for user data.

                                                            Secure your files on Google Drive

                                                            Yes, we do know that Google protects your files during the upload process, but it also decrypts them for the purpose of analyzing the files, then encrypts everything after. Additionally, we should point out that the user is never in control of the encryption keys, and that is never a good thing from our view.

                                                            Boxcryptor

                                                            Cryptomator

                                                            RClone with Crypt

                                                            Microsoft Word

                                                            VeraCrypt

                                                            We will now discuss this in more detail.

                                                            1] Boxcryptor

                                                            We like what Boxcryptor has to offer due to its ease of use. When you install Boxcryptor, the tool will install a virtual drive on your computer, and from there, it will add cloud providers such as Google Drive to the drive. You see, the service is basically an extra layer of security on top of what is already offered.

                                                            It will encrypt every cloud file on the drive and others you upload in the future. The good news is, the tool offers AES-256 with RSA-4096 encryption security, and that’s nice.

                                                            Visit the official website. They have a free plan too.

                                                            2] Cryptomator

                                                            This is probably our favorite because it’s free, and also open source. The source code has been analyzed multiple times and the results have shown there are no backdoors. Furthermore, you do not have to register to use it.

                                                            We like the fact that Cryptomator uses something that is called transparent encryption. When this is in use, the user has no idea the files are being encrypted as they continue to act normally. Not only that, but there is the addition of the Cryptomator vault that is saved on Google Drive.

                                                            While the vault lives on Google Drive, the user is given a virtual hard drive to play around with their files. The tool also encrypts every file added to the vault individually. Now, while the program is free to use on Desktop, folks who want to make use of it on mobile must pay a small fee.

                                                            Visit the official website.

                                                            3] RClone with Crypt

                                                            Do you prefer to use a command-line based program instead of ones with a strong graphical user interface? Well champ, you’re in the right place with Rclone. It will synchronize files and directories from Google Drive.

                                                            The best aspect of this tool, however, is the crypt function. It will encrypt files on your computer before they are uploaded to Google Drive. To have a deeper understanding of how to do this, please watch the video below.

                                                            Visit the official website.

                                                            4] Microsoft Word

                                                            5] VeraCrypt

                                                            Another free option on the list is no other than VeraCrypt. The program is not only free, but also open-source, and it works with almost any cloud service provider, which includes Google Drive.

                                                            With this tool, the user can create an encrypted container, then upload the container to a cloud service of choice. We should also note that VeraCrypt is not user-friendly, but once you fully understand how things work, then things should move smoothly after that.

                                                            Note that to continue having access to the container in Google Drive, you must have VeraCrypt installed on your computer at all times.

                                                            Download from the official website.

                                                            Read next: Google Drive files uploading is slow, stuck, or not working.

                                                            How To Fix Usb Error Code 43 On Windows 10

                                                            How to Fix USB Error Code 43 on Windows 10 Updating your graphics driver should fix this issue quickly

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                                                            If you are getting the code 43 USB error on Windows 10, it might be because of faulty drivers.

                                                            You can fix this issue effectively by updating your USB drivers.

                                                            Another excellent solution is to disable the fast startup feature.

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                                                            INSTALL BY CLICKING THE DOWNLOAD FILE

                                                            Try Outbyte Driver Updater to resolve driver issues entirely:

                                                            This software will simplify the process by both searching and updating your drivers to prevent various malfunctions and enhance your PC stability. Check all your drivers now in 3 easy steps:

                                                            Download Outbyte Driver Updater.

                                                            Launch it on your PC to find all the problematic drivers.

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                                                            Most external devices, such as external hard drives, webcams, mice, and more depend on USB connectivity. However, some users are complaining of a code 43 USB error on Windows 10.

                                                            This error prevents you from connecting to your external devices. Thankfully, it is an error you can fix quickly with the solutions in this guide.

                                                            What is device status code 43 Windows 10?

                                                            Below are some of the factors that can cause the code 43 error for USB devices on Windows 10:

                                                            Outdated driver: In some cases, this issue is due to faulty or outdated USB drivers. The solution to this is to uninstall or update your drivers.

                                                            Issues with power settings: Sometimes, this issue can be due to the fast startup feature. Many users have been able to fix it by disabling the feature.

                                                            Hardware issues: On rare occasions, this error code might be due to problems with your hardware components. You can fix this by running the hardware and devices troubleshooter.

                                                            How do I solve Error Code 43 for USB devices on Windows 10?

                                                            Before delving into the solutions in this section of this guide, there are some preliminary troubleshooting steps that might fix this issue. They are listed below:

                                                            Insert the USB Device into an Alternative USB Slot

                                                            Restart Your Laptop or Desktop

                                                            If the steps above do not solve the problem, proceed to the solutions below:

                                                            1. Run the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter

                                                            If you are facing the code 43 USB error on Windows 10, it might be due to hardware issues. Running the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter should help you diagnose and fix this issue.

                                                            2. Update the USB device drivers

                                                            It might be the case that the USB Device has an outdated driver. If that’s so, that’s probably why you’re getting this code 43 USB error on Windows 10.

                                                            You can update the driver by downloading it from the USB device manufacturer’s website or update it with the Device Manager by following the steps above.

                                                            3. Uninstall the USB Drivers

                                                            Expert tip:

                                                            4. Restore Windows to the Previous Date

                                                            If the USB device worked fine a few weeks back, the System Restore tool in Windows 10 could feasibly fix error code 43. It could fix any hardware that Windows isn’t recognizing.

                                                            5. Switch off the Fast Startup

                                                            At times, the code 43 USB error on Windows 10 can be due to the fast startup feature. While this feature improves your PC startup time considerably, it can sometimes lead to issues.

                                                            Hence, you need to disable the feature.

                                                            6. Adjust the USB Selective Suspend Settings

                                                            If the fixes above fail to solve the code 43 USB error on Windows 10, it might be because of your power settings. This is because your power setting might be set to suspend your USB to save power.

                                                            Hence, you need to change this feature to restore normalcy.

                                                            With this, we can conclude this guide on how to fix the code 43 USB error on Windows 10. You only need to follow the steps above and everything should be back to normal.

                                                            If you are facing the error code 43 on your graphics card, check our detailed guide to fix it.

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                                                            How To Backup Gmail To Hard Drive On Windows 11/10

                                                            In the world of information technology, we use digital data constantly. The online products used for creating digital contents are so vital that it has become an integral part of our life. The data is created using online digital tools that are constantly updated, stored, and shared online. There is a need to make a copy of these valuable data before deleting it completely. Backing up of the data is given the utmost importance in order to be prepared for future emergencies where data may be completely lost. It is required to archive these files and folders to restore the data in case of data loss.

                                                            Of all the applications and services you use online, Gmail is one of the important ones where you store all the important contacts and have important messages. Some of the email messages may contain sensitive information, and it may be required to backup or download these data either for business deals, legal reasons or for any personal reasons. Email backup is also quintessential if you are switching your account to the new mail service or if you want to transfer the data to another account. In some cases, you may want to backup the entire mail locally.

                                                            Luckily,  Gmail provides an option to backup the data using third-party apps or you can also backup the files entirely to your Local hard drive or External Hard Drive using Google’s Data tool. In this article, we discuss how to download the Gmail contacts and messages using Gmail Data Backup Tool provided by Google. All it requires is to archive the email data which you wish to safeguard at the local storage and export these archives to the drive via Data Tools.

                                                            Backup Gmail to Hard Drive

                                                            If you are looking for a way to download or backup your Gmail emails, contacts & messages to your local Hard Drive on your computer, then you can do so using the Gmail Data Backup Tool. Let us take a look at the method involved:

                                                            Open Gmail account.

                                                            Select the Delivery method.

                                                            Let us take a look at this in detail.

                                                            Open your Gmail account.

                                                            Navigate to Personal info & privacy.

                                                            Now scroll down to locate Mail and toggle the button to select.

                                                            Select the file type as .zip or .tgz. Usually, .zip files are preferred because it can be easily opened in most of the computers.

                                                            Select the Delivery method from the list of options. You are provided with options to download link via email, Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive.

                                                            It will take an approximate time of a day or more to generate your data archive depending on the number of emails and send a download link to the chosen delivery method.

                                                            Save email and attachments browser extension

                                                            If you want to save Gmail emails and attachments then you may have to make use of this Chrome extension called Save emails and attachments.

                                                            There is another tool that may interest you. Gmail Backup is a third-party freeware that copies all emails from your Gmail account to a local drive or removable disk. You can download it from here.

                                                            That’s all!

                                                            How To Add Captions And Subtitles To Google Drive Videos

                                                            Just like YouTube, the folks at Google make it possible for users to add a caption to videos on Google Drive. You see, Google Drive is not just a cloud platform for documents, photos, and regular files, but it is great for storing video, and even better due to the caption feature.

                                                            There may come a time when folks need to share one or more videos that must contain captions for various reasons. Google ensures that this can be done with Drive instead of forcing people to use YouTube instead. So, the question is, how can we add captions to a Google Drive video with relative ease? Well, that is exactly what we are going to discuss today.

                                                            How to add Captions and Subtitles to Google Drive videos

                                                            Adding captions to videos from Google Drive is a simple task, and all you have to do is follow these steps:

                                                            Create text files with captions

                                                            Upload caption files to your Google Drive

                                                            Create text files with captions

                                                            To add Captions and Subtitles to Google Drive videos, the first thing we need to do here is to create a caption file. Bear in mind that Google Drive only supports SubRip (*.SRT) and SubViewer (*.SUB) files since the time of writing. We can simply use Google Docs to get this done, so let us explain.

                                                            Open your favorite web browser.

                                                            From there, navigate to Google Docs in one tab and then open a new document.

                                                            Once done, open Google Drive in another tab.

                                                            After that, ensure you’ve determined the timestamp of the particular text needed for the captions.

                                                            You can accomplish this by hovering your mouse over the red line from your Google Drive video.

                                                            Now, from the newly opened Google Docs document, you must add the narration time from the video.

                                                            For example, if the timestamp in the caption is between 5 seconds and 10 seconds, then the first line in the document should look like the following: 0:00:05,0:00:10.

                                                            Hit the Shift + Enter keys to create a new line.

                                                            From that new line, type the text you want to fall under the added timeframe.

                                                            If you want to add a second caption line, then we suggest creating a space between the first one.

                                                            Go to the Download option, then select Plain Text.

                                                            Save your file.

                                                            Upload caption files to your Google Drive

                                                            In terms of uploading the newly created caption file to Google Drive, is not difficult at all. It is much easier than creating and saving a caption file, so let us discuss it.

                                                            Go to the Google Drive tab in your web browser.

                                                            Navigate directly to the preferred video itself.

                                                            Look for the three-dotted button via the top-right corner of the window.

                                                            A drop-down menu will appear.

                                                            Select the Manage Caption Tracks without delay.

                                                            From there, go to Add New Caption Tracks.

                                                            READ: How to timestamp videos on Google Drive

                                                            How do I embed a caption in a video?

                                                            To embed a caption in a video on Google Drive, you need to follow the aforementioned steps. As Google Drive allows users to embed caption, there is no need to use third-party apps. You need to make use of the Add new caption tracks option included in the Google Drive.

                                                            How do you add a caption to a picture on Google Drive?

                                                            It is not possible to add a caption to a picture on Google Drive since images do not carry captions. On the other hand, if you want to do the same with a video, you can follow these steps. No matter how long the video is, you can add the caption using the Add new caption tracks option.

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