How to Encrypt An External Hard Drive – Microsoft BitLocker

If you have a portable or external hard drive that contains a lot of personal or valuable information, it is important that you ensure the content is secure. One way is to encrypt the hard drive. An external hard drive is an excellent way to back up data, but it is also risky if lost or stolen.

In this article, we will discuss, how to encrypt an external hard drive so your data remains private no matter what happens. There are many methods available like third-party tools etc, we will discuss here how to encrypt external HDD using Microsoft BitLocker.

Encrypting External Hard Drive

Step1: Connect HDD
Connect your external hard drive through USB and ensure the hard drive is detectable.

Step2: Locate HDD
Open “File Explorer” and locate your external drive which will be encrypted.

External Drive C

Step3: BitLocker
Right-click the target drive and select “Turn on BitLocker“. Refer to the image below.

Windows BitLocker

Step4: Starting BitLocker
As soon as you will turn on BitLocker you will see the starting BitLocker notification as shown below in the image.

starting bitlocker

Step5: Password
Enter a secure password and save it in a safe place. Follow the steps as shown below in the image.

bitlocker password

Step6: Recovery Key
Select the mode of Recovery Key you want to save from the given options. You will need this code to access your drive if you lose your password. You can save it on your hard drive, to a USB drive, on the cloud or print it. Follow the steps shown below in the image.

bitlocker recovery key

Step7: Encrypt Drive
Choose Encrypt Entire Drive. This option also encrypts files that have been marked for deletion. You could also choose to encrypt used disk space only.

bitlocker disk encryption

Step8: Encryption Mode
Unless you require your external drive to be compatible with older Windows machines, select “New Encryption Mode“, else select “Compatible Mode“.

bitlocker encryption mode

Step9: Start Encrypting.
Click “Start Encrypting“.

bitlocker start encrypting

Step10: Encryption Status
Once encryption is started you could see the encryption status as shown below in the image.

bitlocker encryption status

Step11: Completion Confirmation
When the hard drive will be fully encrypted, you could see the confirmation message as shown below.

bitlocker encryption complete

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SourceKnowledge Base, Internet, Microsoft

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