Windows 10 has a built-in encryption feature – BitLocker which allows user to secure information on USB drive, SD card, memory stick, external hard drive, etc. and prevent unauthorized access to it. The operating system will ask user to enter the password once such USB drive will be connected to the computer. This option can be extremely useful when you don't want anyone to access your private files on USB drive, SD card, memory stick, external hard drive, etc.
Which edition of Windows 10 is available for Bitlocker?
BitLocker is available on Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise edition – you won't find it in Home edition. However, you can encrypt flash drive with the help of BitLocker To Go on Home edition.
How to encrypt/password protect USB drive in Windows 10 with Bitlocker?
To enable BitLocker drive encryption on a USB drive, do the following:
Step 1: Insert a USB drive to a Windows computer where installed Windows 10 Professional/Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Professional/Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate/Enterprise, Windows Server 2008/2012, only these Windows editions support Bitlocker drive encryption.
Step 2: Format USB drive into FAT32/NTFS/exFAT file system. If there is data in USB drive, please go to step 3.
Step 3: Right click USB 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 one or more for the following options, and then click Next:
"Use A Password To Unlock This Drive": Select this option if you want 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 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.
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. Do not remove the USB drive until the encryption process is complete. How long the encryption process takes depends on the size of the drive and other factors.
Bitlocker for macOS - M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac
Although Microsoft only developed and released Bitlocker for Windows version, so Mac OSX cannot open Bitlocker encrypted drive, but with the help of M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac, you can easily open Bitlocker encrypted drive and then read/write Bitlocker encrypted drive on Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac with macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)/10.12 (Sierra) and Mac OSX 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7 Operating Systems.
Tutorial to read/write Bitlocker encrypted USB drive on Mac
Step 1: Download, install M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac on your Mac computer.
Step 2: Launch M3 Bitlocker Loader for Mac and insert a Bitlocker encrypted USB drive.
Select Bitlocker encrypted USB drive and then click "Unlock/Open" icon to continue.
Step 3: Enter the password (or 48-digit recovery key) to mount Bitlocker encrypted USB drive.
Step 4: Read/Write Bitlocker encrypted USB drive on Mac computer.
Bitlocker for Linux, Ubuntu
Dislocker - FUSE driver to read/write BitLocker encrypted volume in Linux. Dislocker is a tool to decrypt BitLocker encrypted volume from Linux developed by Romain Coltel. Dislocker uses a fuse based mechanism to decrypt the volume and mount it so that the user can access (read or write) the files within the volume. Note that this is not a brute force mechanism or hack; the user still needs to provide a valid BEK file (startup key) or numerical key or FVEK (Full Volume Encryption Key) or recovery password or user password for the decryption. Dislocker requires the PolarSSL library to work.