How to encrypt external drive in Windows?
This encryption option is originally known as BitLocker. This tool is owned by Microsoft and normally comes pre-installed in almost all of its operating systems, but if it happens that your version of Windows doesn't have it, you simply need to go to its main page and download it.
With this tool you can easily encrypt your USB or hard drive without any hassle. To do this you need to go to the “This computer” folder where you can see a list of everything stored on your computer. To locate this folder, you just have to write its name in the Windows magnifying glass and it will quickly appear.
Once you have located this folder, you need to right click on the drive you want to protect and then click on Enable BitLocker and then the process will begin.
After that, a window will open where you can see two options. You have to activate the first one called Use a password to unlock the drive and then it will ask you to enter a password which you will verify a second time.
Click Next and Windows will send you a warning saying it will create a recovery key in case you forget your password. Next, you'll be prompted to save this key to your Microsoft account, save it to a file, or print it, whichever you feel most comfortable with.
Now click Next again and this time you will have to choose between two options again, but these will be encryption. One of the options allows you to encrypt only the space you use and therefore is faster. The other option is slower as it fully encrypts the disk.
The advantage of the slower option is that it allows you to encrypt even data that you have deleted but is still allowed to recover. That is why it is important to make a copy of the files on a hard drive. You can choose the option you like best and click Next.
Now a window will open and again two options for encryption mode will appear. The first option is for when you have internal drives in your computer, while the second, "Compatible mode" is the one you need to select if what you are going to encrypt is your USB or hard drive, but you want to use it on another PC as well, so is a highly recommended option.
Click on next again and you will see on the screen the last window which will show you the list of everything you have chosen during the process so that you can do a brief review and avoid mistakes.
After verifying that everything is in order, you need to click on Start encryption. Now the process will begin and depending on the options you have chosen it will take you a little longer or a little less, although it normally doesn't take much.
It is normal that when you want to use the encrypted drive on another Windows system computer, you will get a read error, however a notification will pop up informing you that it is protected from BitLocker. You have to click on it and you will see a box where you will have to enter your password, in this way you will be able to access your unit without problems.
How to encrypt external drive in GNU / Linux and macOS?
If you have one Mac, the process is extremely simple, because the only thing you need to do is format your disk, connect it to your computer and right-click on the icon you will see on the desktop. In the menu that will appear, choose the Encrypt option and you will be able to enter the password you want.
In case you use the Linux system, you just have to right click on the drive and choose the option Format volume. On this occasion, the key will be of the formatting type because you will see the Encryption option. Then you can format the drive and encrypt it with a password at the same time.