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How to encrypt a flash drive – for Mac, Windows and Linux

USB sticks are practical – everyone agrees. Small and comfortable, they transport our data until we need it. But their compactness is a dangerous disadvantage. A stick of only a few centimeters in size, transported in the trouser pocket, is quickly lost. The personal data are then also lost. The thought of what a stranger who finds the USB stick with the private pictures, videos or files might not be pleasant. This is why you should protect USB sticks, which you carry with you always before the access stranger.

Special programs allow encrypting personal data to prevent unauthorized access. However, with a selected password, the owner can access it without great detours. Below is a small guide with the help of which a USB stick can be encrypted.

  1. The USB stick should first be provided and the Truecrypt program downloaded (freely available at http://www.truecrypt.org/ ). On the website, only the operating system should be selected, under which the stick should be encrypted. The software is provided for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  2. The program has to be executed and the button “Traveler Disk Setup” has to be selected under the tab “Tools.”
  3. In “File setting” the next step is to specify the drive on which the files are stored. The USB stick should be indicated here. A look at the Explorer (Windows key + e) reveals the letter of the drive, which must be specified in the free field.
  4. In “AutoRun Configuration,” you can now define what should happen when the USB stick is stuck to the PC. The default setting “do nothing” means that nothing should happen. With a checkmark “Start TrueCrypt,” the program Truecrypt has started automatically, and the container (the encrypted drive) can be decrypted manually. The last option decrypts the container automatically as soon as it is attached to the PC. In the free field, this must be specified.
  5. With a click on “Create” the stick will be prepared for use with TrueCrypt. A message will then be displayed confirming the successful operation.
  6. Under “Tools” the button “Volume Creation Wizard” is now selected and the default encryption is confirmed by clicking on “Next”.
  7. The folder to which the encrypted data is to be stored is selected in the next step and then confirmed by clicking on “Next.”
  8. In the next window, you can leave it at the default values and confirm with a click on “Next.”
  9. Now the size of the container to be created is entered in the free field and again clicked on “Next.”
  10. So that no stranger can open the container, a password has to be entered in the free field. As always with passwords, this should not be too easy.
  11. As an encryption method, “FAT” should be selected in the next window, since NFTS does not offer any significant advantages. The step is confirmed by the “Format” command.
  12. In the last step, you just have to terminate the program and unplug the USB stick. If necessary, the stick can now be plugged in again, after that the password must be entered. Then files can be stored in the container as long as they do not exceed the defined volume limit.

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