Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X

Recently we have shown you how to password protect zip files in Mac OS X. Now we are going to take it a step further by password protecting external drives or flash drives. A lot of you might wonder why would you password protect a flash drive or an external drive. If you have sensitive information, like your social security number, bank accounts, or even passwords for websites, you do not want other people getting their hands on it. Especially if you misplaced your USB drive. Even if it isn’t your personal information, but of your clients or friends, protecting their data with encryptions and passwords is the right thing to do. Here is how to password protect an external drive in Mac OS X.

Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X

On your Mac go to the Go menu and click it. From the drop down select Utilities.

Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X-1

Under the Utilities folder launch the Disk Utility. Disk Utility will let use protect an USB External Drive by reformatting the drive. So make sure you take your information off the device before you continue.

Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X-2

The Disk Utility will open. From here you will need to select the external drive from the left pane. Then head over to the right pane and click the Erase tab. On the Erase tab change the format to “Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)”. Underneath the Format field enter a name in the Name field. When you are ready press the Erase button at the bottom.

Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X-3

A prompt will appear asking you to enter in a password. Enter your password in twice, and make sure to enter a hint as well. When you are ready press the Erase button.

Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X-4

Disk Utility will take a few moments to erase and encrypt your external drive.  When Disk Utility is finished you will be able to use your USB drive without entering in a password. But when you eject your  USB drive and reinsert it, you will get the following prompt below.

Password Protect an External Drive in Mac OS X-5

Enter in your password and press the Unlock button to gain access to your USB drive. You can check the check box near “Remember this password in my keychain” if this is a Mac you trust. Just make sure you have a password enabled on your Mac so if someone gets a hold of your USB drive and your Mac they can’t access your data.

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Ryan Dozier

Just your typical neighborhood geek that loves computers and finding awesome free stuff.
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