External hard drives serve to be one of the best data storage mediums, which have the capability to store a large amount of data in them. Whether you are using external hard drives to regularly backup your computer data or just use them to share data, they play an unprecedented role in securing the data in a hassle-free manner. However, with all such great things, comes the risk of exposure of these hard drives to the prying eyes of the unwanted people. And therefore, you need to password protect external hard drives on Mac and Windows.
Setting Password for an external hard disk on Windows and Mac is essential; no matter, whether you store your system backup or some other data in your hard drive, it is utmost necessary to ascertain the security of the data stored in it at all points of time. Therefore, the best way to safeguard your external hard drive data from the unwanted users is by securing it with a password. An encrypted or password protected external hard drive cannot be accessed until a password is provided.
So, without wasting any time, let’s learn how to put password on external hard drives on Windows and Mac.
How to Password Protect External Hard Drives on MacBook Pro/Air
There are two methods by which you can password protect the external hard drive on Mac. Both these methods are provided in the OS itself and hence there is no need for any third-party software for securing your external hard drive.
Make sure that you select a strong password for your hard drive and jot it down somewhere so that you can access it whenever you want to unlock the hard drive.
Method 1: Disk Utility Tool
This method allows the users to create partition on the hard drive and facilitates the users to encrypt a part of the hard drive, rather than the entire drive. But it has one shortcoming: it deletes all the data present on the hard drive before encrypting it. Therefore, use this method after copying your drive data in your system.
Follow the below-mentioned steps to use this tool:
Step #1. Search Disk Utility Tool in Spotlight and open it. You can also open it by browsing to Finder → Applications → Utilities and then select the Disk Utility Tool.
Step #2. From the left-hand side, select the hard drive that you want to encrypt and then select the Erase option present on the top of the screen. This will erase the entire data present in the drive.
Step #3. To proceed, give a name to your hard drive. In the Format section, select the format of your drive from the drop-down menu.
Step #4. In the Password box, enter a strong password. Now again enter the password in the Verify box. In case, you want to add any hint you can add it in the Password Hint box.
Step #5. Click the Choose option to proceed.
Once you do all the above steps, your hard drive will get encrypted.
Method 2: Finder
Step #1. In the Finder window, search your external hard drive.
Step #2. Right click on the Drive icon and from the drop-down menu, select the Encrypt “Drive name” option.
Step #3. In the dialog box that appears on the screen, enter a password in the Encryption password box and then re-enter it in the Verify Password section. In case you want to add a hint, you can do so.
Step #4. Once all the boxes are filled, select the Encrypt Disk option.
The time that your hard drive will take in getting encrypted depends on the data stored in it.
You can choose any of the two methods to password protect your external hard drive on Mac.
How to Password Protect External Hard Drives on Windows
In your Windows PC too, you can employ two methods to password protect your external hard drive.
Method 1: BitLocker Drive Encryption for Pro & Enterprise Versions
This is a built-in password protection utility in Windows OS that allows you to encrypt your external hard drive. However, this utility is only available in the Pro and Enterprise versions of the Windows OS and not for the Home version.
In case you have a Pro or an Enterprise version, follow the below-mentioned steps to encrypt your external hard drive.
Step #1. Open Control Panel and select System and Security option.
Step #2. Browse to the BitLocker Drive Encryption and select it.
Step #3. BitLocker is by default OFF for all the drives.
Step #4. Select BitLocker and click on the Turn on BitLocker option.
Step #5. Check the option Use a password to unlock the drive.
Step #6. Choose a strong password and enter it in the Enter your password box. Then re-enter it to confirm the password.
Step #7. Click on the Next option.
Step #8. In case you want to keep backup of your password, you can select any of the option.
Step #9. Select the Start Encrypting option to initiate the drive encryption process.
The time for completing the encryption depends on the amount of data stored in the drive.
Method 2: Third-Party Software for Home Version
There are many third-party software pieces available for encrypting your external hard drive. They take very less time in encrypting your hard drive and all you need to do is keep following the instructions until your hard drive is encrypted. You can select the software that you think suits your requirements.
What Do You Think?
Do let us know which encryption method you used for encrypting your hard drive, in the comments section below. Always make sure to encrypt your hard drives and safeguard your data from getting into the hands of unwanted users.