How to Encrypt Thumb Drives with Password in Windows 11

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This post shows students and new users how to BitLocker encrypt external, removeable USB thumb drives with passwords in Windows 11 to protect and secure sensitive data on them.

When you have sensitive information to share, you might want to use a secure thumb drive. To secure a USB thumb drive in Windows 11 is easy and pretty straightforward with BitLocker To Go, the the steps below will show you how to do it.

Windows uses BitLocker drive encryption to encrypt hard disk drive to protect data on it in case it is lost or stolen. BitLocker helps protect data on your device so only authorized users have access to it. If someone tries to access your BitLocker enabled device without authentication, access will be denied.

The new Windows 11 will come with many new features and enhancements that will work great for some while adding some learning challenges for others. Some things and settings have changed so much that folks will have to learn new ways to work with and manage Windows 11.

Encrypting thumb drives in Windows 11 works similar to that in Windows 10. However, there’s improved System settings pane that make locating drive and storage feature challenging for new users.

Also, if you’re a student or new user and you want to learn how to use Windows, the easiest place to start is Windows 11. Windows 11 is a major release of the Windows NT operating system developed by Microsoft. Windows 11 is the successor to Windows 10 and it’s expected to be released later this year.

To get started with encrypting and securing thumb drives in Windows 11, follow the steps below:

How to password protect USB flash drives in Windows 11

Windows uses BitLocker to encrypt drives. It’s simple and secure. Use the steps below encrypt and password protect USB disk drive.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

windows 11 start settings

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click System, select Storage on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

windows 11 system storage

On the Storage settings pane, select Advanced storage settings to expand.

advanced storage settings

Then select Disks & volumes as highlighted below.

windows 11 disks volumes

On the Disks & volumes settings pane, select the external drive you want to encrypt and password protect on the list. Then expand it using the drop-down arrow. Then select Properties.

windows 11 disks and volumens drive 1

On the disk properties pane, click on the link to turn on BitLocker as highlighted below.

windows 11 turn on bitlocker on external drive

A new pane will open up. There, under Removable data drive – BitLocker To Go, click the link to Turn on BitLocker.

windows 11 turn on bitlocker to go

When prompted, type in and confirm a password you want to use to open the drive. Without this unique password, the drive can not be opened and accessed.

windows 11 bitlocker disk password

You’ll also be prompted to save BitLocker recovery key so that you can restore your data when don’t remember the password.

windows 11 bitlock recover key file

Next, select the option that works in your environment and click Next.

windows 11 bitlocker encrption option

Next, choose the encryption mode that works for you, then click Start encrypting to begin the process.

windows 11 bitlocker encrption start

The encryption process should start. After a while, depending on the speed of your computer and the size of the disk, you should have a fully encrypted removeable drive.

windows 11 bitlocker encrytion progress

Wait until you see a message that the drive encryption is complete.

windows 11 bitlocker drive encryption complete

When you want to use the drive, insert into any Windows computer and you’ll be prompted that the drive is encrypted and to access it, will need a password.

windows 11 secure bitlocker external drive

Open the disk and type in the correct password to unlock.

windows 11 bitlocker password prompt to unlock

That’s should do it!


This post showed you how to encrypt with BitLocker and password enable external disk drives in Windows 11. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

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