How to secure a USB stick with a password in Windows 11?

A USB flash drive is a handy tool to store files you want to take with you. However, taking a USB stick with you carries risks.

The data on the USB stick can be opened by anyone who wants to. Securing the USB stick with a password is then an option.

Fortunately, Windows 11 has made it very easy. This article will show you how to password protect a USB stick with Windows 11. You can secure a USB drive in Windows 11 using BitLocker.

Microsoft BitLocker is a built-in security feature of Windows that encrypts everything on the disk where Windows is installed. You can encrypt PCs or external drives. Full encryption ensures that only those with the correct encryption key can decrypt and access your files and information.

Bitlocker is a feature available in Windows 11 professional. If you have Windows 11 home installed, you can read this guide to encrypt data on a USB drive.

How to secure a USB stick with a password in Windows 11?

To password-protect, a USB drive in Windows 10 or Windows 11, click the Start button. In the search window type: Control Panel. Click on Control Panel.

Click on System and Security. If you see a different view of the Control Panel, change the “View by” view to “Small icons” in the upper right corner.

Click BitLocker drive encryption to open the BitLocker settings in Windows.

BitLocker drive encryption in control panel

For the “removable drive” (USB), click “Turn on BitLocker”.

Turn on Bitlocker

How do you want to encrypt the drive? This can be done with a password or with a smart card. The most common option is a password. Make your choice and click next.

Use a password to unlock the bitlocker drive

Depending on which method of encryption you have chosen. Save a BitLocker recovery key to your Microsoft account, to a file on your computer or you can print the recovery key.

A recovery key is used if you lose the password or smart card. You can then always access the data on the USB drive. Click on next.

How do you want to back up the bitlocker recovery key

I recommend encrypting only the disk space used. If you have multiple partitions on the USB, you need to set up BitLocker for each partition. Click next.

How much to encrypt on the usb using bitlocker

I recommend using “Compatible Mode” for encryption. You can then use the USB drive on older computers as well. Click next.

Bitlocker compatible mode

Click “Start encrypting” to password protect the data on the USB drive. Then, BitLocker will start encrypting the external USB drive.

Start encrypting the usb drive

This will not take long. Do not interrupt the encryption of the USB drive. Files could possibly be corrupted if you do. Instead, wait for the process to finish encrypting.

Encryping usb drive

If the encryption process on the USB drive has finished, then you are done. A user-selected password has been successfully placed on the USB drive.

When you remove the USB drive from the computer and put it back in, a message appears: “This drive is BitLocker protected”.

This drive is bitlocker-protected

You will see in Windows Explorer a new drive letter with a lock on it. This indicates that the USB drive is protected with a BitLocker password.

Password protected USB drive in File Explorer on a Windows 11 PC

If you try to open the USB drive, you will be asked for a password. Enter the password for the USB drive, and you can use the drive to read and write files. The data newly placed on the USB drive is automatically encrypted.

I hope to have helped you secure a USB drive with a password. Thank you for reading!

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