There is a way to protect our files on our hard disks or usb flash drives even if we lost our drive or even if it was stolen. In order to do this, we must use drive Encryption. Encryption is the process of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access.
Microsoft Windows provides us a free encryption tool called BitLocker Drive Encryption. This encryption tool was first introduced in Windows Vista. BitLocker protects your hard drive from offline attacks. It is a data protection feature that integrates with the operating system and addresses the threats of data theft or exposure from lost or stolen computers.
BitLocker can encrypt operating system drives, fixed data drives and removable data drives. Operating system drive is the drive C where the operating system is installed while fixed data drive is the drive where there’s no operating system installed like drive D or drive E. Drive letters may vary from one computer to another because some computers are having more than one operating system. Removable data drives include usb flash drives, sd cards and external hard disks.
You can choose to encrypt only the used space from your drive or the entire drive. For more details about BitLocker Drive Encryption you can read the Microsoft Documentation.
I will show you a step by step guide on how to use BitLocker Drive Encryption on Windows 10. I will use the BitLocker To Go.
Step 1. Search BitLocker in the Start Menu and click Manage BitLocker.
Step 2. Choose what type of drive you want to encrypt. Select BitLocker To Go option.
Step 3. Choose Use a password to unlock the Drive.
Step 4. Choose save to a file to back up your recovery.
Step 5. Choose how much of your drive to encrypt.
Step 6. Select which encryption mode to use.
After clicking the next button, BitLocker will encrypt your usb flash drive. Then if you try to plug it to another computer, the OS will prompt you a decryption password in order to open the files.