How to Encrypt USB Drive Using VeraCrypt.
To transfer information and data from one place to another, we usually use USB sticks due to their flexibility and ease of use. One of the biggest problems with USB drives is that they are quite small and can be easily lost or forgotten in public places like coffee shops. While it doesn’t really matter, for the most part it can be devastating if you store sensitive information. To deal with this, you can encrypt the entire drive so that no one can access the contents of the drive without proper authorization.
Related: 5 Best USB Encryption Programs to Lock Your Flash Drive
To encrypt the USB drive, we will be using VeraCrypt.
What is iCrypt
VeraCrypt is a free and open source cross-platform encryption application for files, folders and drives. Using VeraCrypt, you can encrypt system partitions, regular partitions or removable devices, create hidden encrypted containers and operating system, and create virtual encrypted disks. In addition, VeraCrypt supports hardware acceleration and real-time encryption.
How does iCrypt work?
First, you need to insert the flash drive into your computer and format it with Veracrypt. This will erase whatever you have on the drive, make sure there is no data on your USB stick. After you’ve encrypted your drive, you can add files and folders to it. That’s all, now you can remove the USB flash drive, all contents will remain encrypted.
From now on, when you want to read the contents of the flash drive on any computer, you need to first install Veracrypt on that computer, and only after that you will see the screen for entering the unlock password. In this tutorial, I show this on Windows 10, the procedure for encrypting a USB drive with VeraCrypt is similar to other operating systems.
Why use iCrypt
There are several ways to password protect a folder, such as a password protected zip file, built-in Windows encryption, or even buying an encrypted portable external hard drive. On the other hand, VeraCrypt is definitely not the most convenient way to encrypt a USB drive. So the question is, why use VeraCrypt?
And well, there are several reasons why people choose to use VeraCrypt for encryption. For example:
- It’s free, open source and comes with quality encryption that’s nearly impossible to break.
- It’s cross-platform, meaning if you encrypt your USB drive on Windows, you can still open it on macOS and Linux, provided you download the VeraCrypt app for the platform in question.
- Since it is dedicated encryption software, it has advanced features such as creating an encrypted drive inside an encrypted drive. Useful in a situation when someone points a gun at you and asks you to unlock the drive.
Encrypt a USB drive using iracrypt
To get started, go to the official website and download VeraCrypt for your operating system. After downloading, install it. During installation, VeraCrypt will prompt you if you want to install it regularly or in portable mode. If you are not trying to carry VeraCrypt with you on a different USB drive, select Install and click Next.
After successful installation VeraCrypt will inform you about it. Click the “OK” button to complete the installation procedure.
To start using VeraCrypt, we first need to create an encrypted volume. To do this, click the Create Volume button.
Since we are going to encrypt the entire USB drive, select the “Encrypt non-system partition or disk” radio button and click the “Next” button.
Here select the “Standard VeraCrypt Volume” radio button and click the “Next” button.
In this window, click the “Select device” button.
VeraCrypt will show all your connected storage devices and their partitions. To encrypt a USB drive, find it in the list and select the USB drive partition. Typically, you can see the drive letter and drive name next to the USB drive partition.
In the main window, click the Next button to continue.
Here, select the first option “Create encrypted volume and format it”. If you already have data on your USB drive, you need to select the second option “Encrypt partition in place”. However, depending on the size of your USB drive and the data on it, it can take quite a while to encrypt data in place. Therefore, it is advisable to choose the first option, as it is much faster. After all, you can always move files after creating an encrypted container.
VeraCrypt supports several types of encryption and hashing algorithms. You can choose the ones you like from the dropdown menus. If you don’t know which to choose, choose AES for the encryption algorithm and SHA-256 for the hashing algorithm, they are pretty strong. Click the Next button to continue.
Since we encrypt the entire USB stick, you cannot resize the container. Click Next to continue.
Enter a strong password and click Next to continue. This is the password you will need to use to unlock your flash drive the next time you want to use it.
Now VeraCrypt is trying to create a nice random pool to amplify cryptographic keys with mouse movements. So, move your mouse around the screen at random until the progress bar at the bottom of the window turns green. After that click the “Format” button to continue.
You will see a warning window, just click the “Yes” button to continue.
As soon as you click the button, VeraCrypt will format the USB drive and start creating an encrypted container. This may take some time depending on the size of the disc and its speed. So sit back and relax, or better get yourself a coffee.
As soon as VeraCrypt finishes encrypting the USB drive, it will inform you about it.
This is it. You have successfully encrypted your USB drive. If you open File Explorer, you will see your drive, but you cannot open it. You need to use VeraCrypt to access the data on the disk.
Note. Windows may think that the disk is damaged and may prompt you to format the disk. Just ignore the warning. Do not format the disk.
Add files to the encrypted USB drive
As I said, you need to use VeraCrypt to add files to or access your encrypted USB drive. To do this, open VeraCrypt and click the “Select Device” button.
Select the encrypted partition and click OK.
In the main window, select a drive letter from the list and click the “Mount” button.
VeraCrypt will now ask for a password to decrypt the disk. Enter your password and click OK.
Again, depending on the encryption algorithm, the size of the drive and the amount of data on it, it may take some time to decrypt the drive. In some cases, VeraCrypt may hang and not respond. Ignore it. The application is busy decrypting your drive.
After decryption, you will see that your USB drive is mounted using the letter you selected in the previous step. From here, you can add, remove or modify files as you wish.
When you’re done, select the drive from the list and click the Unmount button. This will complete any last minute encryption and safely disconnect the drive.
That’s all there is to it, and it is very easy to encrypt your USB drive. Comment below, share your thoughts and impressions on using VeraCrypt to encrypt your USB drive.
Related: How to Use USB Drive on Android and iOS
How to unlock a Veracrypt encrypted USB drive on other computers
Now that you’ve encrypted your USB drive with VeraCrytp and added the files to it. The next thing you need to do is send the USB drive to a friend, or perhaps use it on another computer.
Most people will think that you just need to plug in your USB flash drive and you will see a popup asking for your password. Right? Well, it isn’t. To open a USB file encrypted with Veracrypt, you also need to install the Veracypt app on that computer.
For example, if you encrypted your USB drive with VeraCypt on Windows and want to read it on macOS, you need two things. Firstly, install VeraCrypt for macOS, and secondly, NTFS file mount software for windows like NTFS-3G or FUSE etc. video.