We all know the importance of data in our hard drive. A hard drive is capable of storing huge information with its compact design. And it is very important to protect your hard drive from being used by some anonymous person. In this article, I will show you how you can protect your external hard drive in windows 10/8.1/7/Vista.
When an external hard drive is stolen then there are two different challenges faced by the user.
First is that the data must not be accessed by the thief.
And second is that the data in hard drive must be safe.
So, to protect yourself from facing such challenges there are some ways like
A Strong Password for your hard drive
Good Backup system
Encryption is the technique by which you can place a wall between your hard drive and the thief. However, this wall is breakable but it is not an easy task for a common thief who just wants to sell the hard drive for some money.
You can choose an encryption program that makes it difficult for the thief to access information. However, some hard drives have built-in encryption technology.
A Strong Password For Your Hard Drive
Password protection is a must-have feature that you should always use.
Password must have at least 12 characters.
You must include special characters ( @, $, & ) and numbers in your password
You can use a password generator for generating a strong password
You can set an as strong password as possible but remember no password is full proof. Encryption and a strong password can help you to save your data from some anonymous person.
The best way to protect your data is not to share the hard drive with another person. Or you can put your data on your personal computer with firewalls and not have a connection to the internet.
Protect an External Hard Drive on Windows
Password Protect External Hard Drive using BitLocker
Windows 10 has the feature of BitLocker that allows a user to encrypt a disk. You can set a password to protect your hard drive whether it is external or internal.
Note: BitLocker is a cool feature but it is only available for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions. And the Ultimate and Enterprise versions of Windows Vista/7/8.1/10. However, there is another way also that will allow you to password protect an external hard drive in Windows 10 Home. BitLocker is the best option if you want to lock your external hard drive with password without software.
Which Windows Edition do I have?
Step 1: Open Run Dialog Box by pressing Win + R Keys and type winver into the Run Dialog Box and click OK.
Step 2: winver command opens up About Windows dialogue box. Here you will find your windows edition.
Let’s get back to the point of securing our external Hard Drive using BitLocker
Step 1: Connect your Hard Drive to your computer via a USB slot.
Step 2: Go to This PC and right-click on the Hard drive volume on which you want to apply the password. And select Turn On BitLocker option from the context menu.
Step 3: Now you can see the BitLocker Drive Encryption box. Here choose the option “Use a password to unlock the drive” and enter your password. Now click Next.
Step 4: After that, you need to choose a location to back up your recovery key. This recovery key can be used in place of your password to unlock your hard drive. You can save the key in your Microsoft account, USB drive and anywhere in your personal computer. Click Next.
Step 5: Now choose Compatible mode as your encryption mode and then click on Next Button.
Step 6. Now click on Start Encryption to encrypt your hard drive.
Password Protect External Hard Drive using VeraCrypt
VeraCrypt is a third party application for windows which is free but still powerful. If you have any other Windows 10 edition rather than pro and Enterprise or any other Windows version then you can use VeraCrypt. It works with all windows version.
Step 1. First, you need to install Vera Crypt on your Windows device. You can download VeraCrypt Here. Launch the application after it is installed and connect your external hard drive to your computer.
Step 2. Click on Create Volume button in Vera Crypt application.
Step 3. Now select Encrypt a non-system partition/drive and click on next button.
Step 4. Choose Standard VeraCrypt volume and click Next.
Step 5. Now click on Select Device button to select your hard-drive that you want to encrypt. Select the partition letter that represents your External hard drive, click ok and then click on Next button.
Step 6. Now you are asked to choose how you want to encrypt your external hard drive. There are 2 options.
Create encrypted volume and format it
If you choose this option then it will delete all the data stored on your hard drive before encrypting that.
Encrypt Partition in place
This option will encrypt your external hard drive by keeping all the data stored on it.
Choose one of these options and click Next.
Step 7. Enter a strong password that includes a combination of numbers, special characters, capital letters and small letters. And click Next.
Step 8. Now move your mouse randomly within the window until the progress bar is completed. Try to move the mouse as randomly as possible this will increase the cryptographic strength.
Step 9. Click on Next button and then click on Encrypt.
How to access my password-protected External Hard Drive.
Since the encryption is done through VeraCrypt you always need it to decrypt your drive.
Step 1. Launch VeraCrypt application and connect your external hard drive for decryption.
Step 2. Now, From the menu select any of the drives, Click on Select Device button. In the pop – up window, select external hard disk partition and click OK.
Step 3. Click on Mount button in the lower-left corner.
Step 4. Now Enter your password for the external hard drive and click OK.
Step 5. After some time the password-protected external hard drive is decrypted. Now you can double click the drive to open it.
These are the ways to password protect your external hard drive in windows. BitLocker is available in the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Windows 10/8.1/7/Vista. For all other Windows edition, you can go with VeraCrypt. However, BitLocker is the best option if you want to set a password for external hard disk without any software.