Sometimes you have to travel with sensitive data saved on USB flash drive. It is small, which means it can be easily lost or stolen. This means that anything on your USB flash drive needs to have some kind of encryption on it to deter at least the casual thief or snoop.
Encryption is a smart idea for protecting data on a USB flash drive, one way to achieve this by making use of a tool like VeraCrypt. It is a free and open source disk encryption utility. In Windows, it can encrypt a USB flash drive or even the entire storage drive with pre-boot authentication.
This step by step guide explains how to encrypt an USB flash drive with VeraCrypt. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. For this tutorial we will be using the Windows version of VeraCrypt and installing it on a Windows 10 machine. It’s user interface may look slightly different in Linux and Mac but the important steps should be the same.
Outline of this post:
- What is VeraCrypt?
- Encrypting an USB flash drive with VeraCrypt
- Using an USB flash drive encrypted with VeraCrypt
What is VeraCrypt?
VeraCrypt is derived from TrueCrypt, a well known open source encryption software product that has now been discontinued. But VeraCrypt plugs all known security holes in TrueCrypt and improves upon TrueCrypt’s weak encryption methods.
VeraCrypt creates encrypted volumes for securely storing files. It also allows you to encrypt entire system drives or partitions including USB flash drive.
How to create an encrypted USB flash drive with VeraCrypt
Step 1: Download and install VeraCrypt for your operating system. Be sure to accept the default settings during installation.
Step 2: Open Search and type “VeraCrypt” and select the result.
Step 3: Click on “Create Volume” to start the VeraCrypt volume creation wizard.
Step 4: The VeraCrypt volume creation wizard allows you to create an encrypted file container on the USB flash drive which sits along with other unencrypted files, or you can choose to encrypt the entire USB flash drive.
For the moment, we will choose to encrypt the entire USB flash drive. Select “Encrypt a non-system partition/drive” option and click “Next” to proceed.
Step 5: The next option is whether you want a standard volume or a hidden one. Again, for the sake of simplicity we are going to use “Standard VeraCrypt volume”.