How do I encrypt my USB drive (Windows)?

**Note** - Staff workstations will automatically prompt you to encrypt your device when plugged in. You are advised to encypt your USB device when using staff workstations. If you do not, your files will be restricted to Read-Only format.

  • Insert the USB drive
  • Click Start then Computer or File Explorer
  • Right click the USB drive then click Turn On BitLocker
  • Choose one or more of the following options, then click Next:
    • Use A Password To Unlock This Drive
      Select this option if you want the user to be prompted for a password to unlock the drive. Passwords allow a drive to be unlocked in any location and to be shared with other people.
    • Use My Smart Card To Unlock The Drive
      Select this option if you want the user to use a smart card and enter the smart card PIN to unlock the drive. Because this feature requires a smart card reader, it is normally used to unlock a drive in the workplace and not for drives that might be used outside the workplace.
  • On the next page click Save To A File
  • Choose a save location then click Save
  • You can now print the recovery key if you want to. When you have finished, click Next
  • Click Start Encrypting. Do not remove the USB flash drive until the encryption process is complete. How long the encryption process takes depends on the size of the drive and other factors.

The encryption process does the following:

  • Adds an Autorun.inf file, the BitLocker To Go reader, and a Read Me.txt file to the USB flash drive.
  • Creates a virtual volume with the full contents of the drive in the remaining drive space.
  • Encrypts the virtual volume to protect it.USB flash drive encryption takes approximately 6 to 10 minutes per gigabyte to complete. The encryption process can be paused and resumed provided that you don’t remove the drive.


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