How to encrypt & password protect USB flash drive without extra software?

Posted by Tim to BitLocker Solution on Septemper 16th, 2015

BitLocker is a lesser-known technology included in Windows that allows to password protect and encrypt USB flash drive, external hard drive, internal hard drive without extra software required.

Which Windows editions are available for BitLocker?

BitLocker is available in the following Windows Operating Systems:

Windows 10 - Professional or Enterprise edition

Windows 8 - Professional or Enterprise edition, including Windows 8.1

Windows 7 - Enterprise or Ultimate edition

Windows Vista - Enterprise or Ultimate edition

Windows Server 2008 R2 - All editions

Windows Server 20012 - All editions

In other Windows editions, such as Windows XP, although you cannot encrypt drive with BitLocker drive encryption, but you can get a read-only BitLocker To Go interface to access the contents on the BitLocker encrypted removable drives, such as USB flash drives or external hard drives.

How to encrypt and password protect USB flash drive with BitLocker?

To enable BitLocker drive encryption on a USB flash drive, do the following:

Step 1: Insert a USB flash drive to a Windows computer which supports BitLocker drive encryption.

Step 2: Format USB flash drive into FAT32/NTFS/exFAT file system. If there is data in USB flash drive, please go to step 3.

Step 3: Right click USB flash drive in My Computer or This PC and select "Turn on BitLocker".

Step 4: On the "Choose How You Want To Unlock This Drive" window, choose "Use A Password To Unlock This Drive".

Step 5: On the "How Do You Want To Store Your Recovery Key" window, click Save The Recovery Key To A File.

Step 6: In the "Save BitLocker Recovery Key As" window, choose a storage location and then click Save.

Step 7: On the "Are You Ready To Encrypt This Drive" window, click Start Encrypting.

How to access BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive on Mac?

M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac

Microsoft only developed and released BitLocker for Windows version, so macOS cannot open BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive, but with the help of M3 BitLocker Loader for Mac, you can easily read/write BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive on macOS 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14 (Mojave)/10.13 (High Sierra)/10.12 (Sierra)‎ and Mac OSX 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8 Operating Systems.

How to access BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive in Linux, Ubuntu?

Dislocker - FUSE driver to read/write BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive in Linux. Dislocker is a tool to decrypt BitLocker encrypted volume from Linux developed by Romain Coltel, but you still need to provide the password or 48-digit BitLocker recovery key to unlock BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive.

How to recover lost data from failed, corrupted, inaccessible BitLocker encrypted USB flash drive?

BitLocker data recovery software

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a professional BitLocker data recovery software which can recover lost data from inaccessible, corrupted, failed, deleted or lost BitLocker encrypted partition.