Hard Drive Encryption: How to Encrypt a Hard Drive Windows 10
What Is Hard Drive Encryption
Hard drive encryption refers to encrypting the hard disk of a computer to prevent information leakage. Hard disk encryption uses a specific algorithm or password to make a hard disk or partition unreadable. No one can unlock and access the hard drive without the key or password used to encrypt the drive. This prevents unauthorized persons or hackers from accessing personal information.
There are several methods for hard disk encryption: modify the hard disk partition table information, add a password to the hard disk startup, implement user encryption management on the hard disk, implement write protection for a logical disk, and encrypt a hard drive. For the average user, encrypting a hard drive is a more feasible way.
In this tutorial, we will show you the effective way to encrypt a hard drive with BitLocker on Windows 10. In addition, you can password protect a hard drive without BitLocker by using hard disk lock software.
Windows 10 BitLocker
BitLocker is special hard disk encryption software embedded in Microsoft Windows 10. It's free, you don't need to install anything. You can use BitLocker to encrypt your entire drive, as well as protect your system from unauthorized changes such as firmware-level malware.
BitLocker is a software-based encryption tool that can encrypt and protect user data on the local hard disk, external hard drive, as well as USB flash drives you want to encrypt. Once encrypted, the storage device can only be accessed with an alphanumeric code originally created by the user himself.
BitLocker encryption algorithm will create a unique recovery key file that can be saved in a safe location, such as on your Microsoft account, a different location on your computer, or even a paper document that is printed out. The recovery key can be used to prevent the user from forgetting the password or being locked out of the device after multiple wrong attempts.
Before you use BitLocker to encrypt a hard drive, you need to know which systems are compatible with it. BitLocker is supported on:
- Windows 10 (Enterprise and Pro)
- Windows 8 and 8.1 (Professional and Enterprise)
- Windows 7 (Ultimate and Enterprise)
- Windows Vista (Ultimate and Enterprise)
- Windows Server 2008 and later
How to Encrypt a Hard Drive on Windows 10 with BitLocker
Follow the seven steps below to encrypt your hard drive via BitLocker. The way to encrypt external hard drive on Windows 10 with BitLocker is the same as encrypting the internal disk.
Step 1. Go to This PC, right-click the hard drive you wish to encrypt under Devices and drives. Next, select "Turn BitLocker On" from the drop-down menu. You can also go into the control panel or type encryption into the search bar and choose Manage BitLocker to Find BitLocker on Windows 10.
Step 2. Wait to check if your computer can be encrypted. Once BitLocker has finished checking your computer without any errors, you can create a password by selecting "Use a password to unlock the drive". Enter and reenter your password as required. The passwords should contain uppercase and lowercase letters, spaces, and symbols. Then, click "Next" to go to the following step.
Step 3. You need to back up your password in case you forget it. Choose a way to back up your recovery key. You can choose "Save to your Microsft account", "Save it a file", or "Print the recovery key". Then, click "Next" to move on.
Step 4. Choose the way to encrypt data, the whole drive, or just all saved files. Choose "Encrypt entire drive" to ensure that all data is protected, even data that you deleted but that might still contain retrievable information. And then, click "Next".
Step 5. On the "Choose which encryption mode to use" screen, you will be asked whether or not to use Windows new disk encryption mode (XTS-AES). Although this provides better security, previous versions of Windows can't decrypt it. So, select "Compatible mode" and then click "Next".
Step 6. Finally, click "Start encrypting" to allows BitLocker to encrypt your USB drive with a password. Restart your computer as prompted. If you get a password request the next time you boot, you know the entire disk is encrypted and your data is secure.
How to Password Protect a Hard Drive on Windows 10 Without BitLocker
Hard drive encryption is a way to protect your entire disk, making your files encrypted and secure from prying eyes. To limit access to your sensitive and crucial data, you can also lock and password protect the hard disk.
EaseUS LockMyFile is a renowned and popular file lock tool that enables you to lock hard drives with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit keys. Anyone who wants to access the disk will need to enter the password. In this way, you can effectively prevent wrong hands from stealing your private data.
EaseUS LockMyFile offers full-around Windows file protection solutions.
- Hide files/folders on local disk, USB flash drive, or external hard drive. Make your folders completely invisible and unsearchable.
- Protect files, folders, and drives from being edited or deleted with the read-only option.
- Encrypt files and folders to GFL or EXE format files with an advanced AES encryption algorithm.
- Safely delete your files, folders, and wipe your disk with the File Shredder
Now, free download this file lock software to password protect your hard drive without BitLocker.
Step 1. Launch EaseUS LockMyFile. When you run this software at the first time, you need to set your password for the account of EaseUS LockMyFile.
Step 2. On the main screen, click "Lock File" on the lest panel. Then, choose "Lock Drive" on the right pane to encrypt any local drive on Windows with password.
Step 3. Then, all the local drives will appear in the window. Choose the drive(s) you want to lock and click "OK".
Step 4. EaseUS LockMyFile will immediately lock the hard drive with the password you set up when you run this tool at first time.
Step 5. After a partition is locked, the size and usage of the drive will not be displayed under the Device and drivers. Anyone who wants to access this drive needs to enter the correct password.
To encrypt a hard drive or encrypt an external hard drive, you can use Windows 10 BitLocker. BitLocker protects against data theft or malicious leakage caused by the physical loss of a computer or hard disk.
For users who don't want to use BitLocker to encrypt hard drive, you can choose the easy file lock software of EaseUS, which allows you to use one password to protect the file folder and drive. When you forget the password, you can find the lost password with your pre-defined email.