How To Video
Encrypt your USB driveUSB drives are convenient and portable, but at risk of theft or loss. Password-protect your storage device with Sharon Vaknin's quick tip.
Hey, everyone. I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET.com, and today I'll show you how to quickly secure your external drive with Windows 7. Most of us carry a USB flash drive or external drive for taking files on the go, but the problem is they're really easy to lose making your data vulnerable to strangers and frenemies. But with Windows 7, you can quickly encrypt your drive with just a few clicks. You'll need a computer with Windows Ultimate to set this up; but once your drive is configured, you can use it with any version of Windows 7. Insert your ThumbDrive, right click it and select turn on BitLocker. Check use password to unlock the drive, enter your password then confirm it. Then you'll be asked to save or print the recovery key. It's a string of numbers and letters that you'll use to access the drive in case you forget your password. Email it to yourself or print it out and put it somewhere safe. Hit next and then start encrypting. This part can take a while depending on how much data you have stored in the drive; but once it's complete, your drive is secured. And the next time you plug it into a Windows machine, you'll be prompted to enter a password. Even though the drive was encrypted using Windows 7, it can still be used with XP and Vista but you'll only be able to read and copy files on those machines, not write to it. If you know of any other awesome Windows 7 features, tell me about them on my Facebook page. And visit HowTo.CNET.com for more videos like this. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs.